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LeslieSIllinoisAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Demands a slow, thoughtful readingJanuary 21, 2020LeslieSIllinoisAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5If you grew up in the evangelical subculture during the 1990s or even the 2000s like author Amy Peterson did or if you worked with youth during this time period like I did, there are certain virtues and values that were an important part of life. This was the era of purity culture where modesty and good character was emphasized, learning to logically defend your faith was encouraged, and The Book of Virtues was bedtime reading. As this generation is in the midst of parenting their own children and fully embracing adulthood, contemporary culture is causing many to question these virtues and values particularly at a time when some church leaders seem to have done an about face in regard to these same values particularly in the political sphere. In Where Goodness Still Grows: Reclaiming Virtue in an Age of Hypocrisy, Amy Peterson shares personally regarding her own journey and experiences and digs into research regarding each virtue being examined through nine thought provoking chapters.
Beyond the engaging exploration of her own faith journey and experiences, Peterson does a marvelous job of digging into each of the virtues presented and what they mean. She explores the history and meaning of different words, pulls in biblical research for the basis of each virtue, and shows how the meaning or practice of a particular virtue has changed over time. For example, her exploration of the meaning of the word "kind" which we often throw way as a generic "nice person" showed the root of the word and turns your understanding around. For other terms, Peterson demonstrates that the version of "purity" or "modesty" frequently taught in evangelical sub-culture is a subverted view of the true biblical meaning. Some readers will be surprised when seeing "lament" as the first chapter as it is not a virtue frequently discussed. However, Peterson uses this chapter to set the stage for why she wrote this book and encourages us that lament needs to be a virtue we embrace more fully.
Where Goodness Still Grows is a book that demands a slow, thoughtful reading. It is not a book to sit down and read quickly but should be savored and discussed with others. In fact my only suggestion for improving this book would be the addition of questions to facilitate discussion in a book group setting. If you feel a disconnect between the virtues and values you were taught while growing up, particularly if you grew up or worked with youth in the 1990s, and the current seeming disdain for those same virtues, you need to read this book. If you don't feel there is a disconnect but wonder why people feel that way, read this book with an open heart and mind.
I was provided an ARC from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.
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