4 Stars Out Of 5
Catholic-friendly help to defend the faith
March 28, 2013
This. All of it.
Okay, most of it. And the remainder isn't bad; you just don't need it. Anyway you'll find yourself wanting to hand people this book and say those first four words of this review. Especially those people - you know who they are - who confront you over matters of the Faith. And this book is as friendly to Catholics as if a Catholic had written it. Really. Don't be deterred if you don't fancy yourself an activist or a wonk. This is book is still plenty palatable and finishable.
Rodriguez touches (albeit lightly) on the infamous contraception mandate, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, things I readily admit I don't fully understand. My brainy acquaintance "Nick" (remember him?), who, don't get me wrong, I love to talk to because he challenges me in a non-confrontational manner, knows a lot about such things. And I need as much help as I can get with that never-ending quest. I've shown Nick this book. He flipped through it and wants to look at it when I'm done. I don't know how deeply he'll get into it, as he said Catholicism for Dummies has been slow-going for him. But like with my acquaintance who borrowed gods at war, Nick can keep that and The Lamb's Agenda as long as he wants!
I regret that while Rodriguez is unapologetically pro-life in terms of abortion, there is no mention of the death penalty, that I saw. I have to wonder Rodriguez's stance on the issue but I can't imagine he'd support it. This stands out to me, from Rodriguez, although he's not really talking about abortion here: "[N]onbelievers tend to become so focused on their own lifestyles that they cannot be bothered to have children. The demographics of faith are worth a book of their own, but suffice it to say that committed Christians in the United States have at least twice as many children per couple as nonbelievers."
Another "Yes!" moment comes in the chapter "An HD or Analog Movement." Says Rodriguez:
"For too many people today of all age groups, even those who are affiliated with a church, Sunday morning is little more than a social occasion, an opportunity to dress up, visit with friends, listen to an idle hour of feel-good preaching and singing, and go to brunch afterward, utterly unmoved about changing one's life...Without a doubt, a fresh holiness movement needs to take place, with a commitment to addressing a sin-tolerant culture but without the vestiges of legalism." Hello!
Another happy effect of Rodriguez's book, for me, is that I've developed an interest in two more stories: those of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Louis Zamperini. The first time I saw Bonhoeffer's name it was in Persecuted. See that the author of that book's foreword wrote a book about him. I was very surprised to see that when I searched in the public library, no fewer than 13 books appeared, including the one Metaxas wrote. I said "Nah" to that one, but I've checked out another. Anyone care to enlighten me a little more about Bonhoeffer before I tuck into the library book? Apparently he was quite the hero; why haven't I heard of this guy before? Something tells me I should learn about him.
As for Zamperini, I'd heard of him thanks to Laura Hillenbrand's runaway bestseller Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. (And that is in fact the book I've checked out of the library.) But I didn't know Zamperini had anything to do with Billy Graham, who Rodriguez seems to consider something of a hero in his own right. I'll cut to the chase: Rodriguez says, "Zamperini is one of more than three million people who found their way to Jesus through Billy Graham." I've heard enough good things about Hillenbrand's book that I look forward to reading it.
So if you're Catholic who could use a resource to help you defend the Christian perspective on current issues, The Lamb's Agenda does the trick. As for what you don't need? You don't need "A Kingdom Culture Movement," the out-of-nowhere chapter on immigration, and you definitely don't need "John the Baptist Leadership," a chapter about, surprise, leadership. (Aren't you glad you have me around?)
Happy Holy Week, everyone.
I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com (http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program.