Leigh Kramer's Reviews > Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics

Raised Right by Alisa Harris
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Jan 24, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

I opened the pages of Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics (a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah), wondering whether I'd find author and journalist Alisa Harris to be a kindred spirit.

Harris's childhood years were exactly what you'd envision for a girl raised by conservative parents. She was home-schooled, attended a very traditional church, and spent many days picketing abortion clinics. Her parents' cause became hers. She was firmly entrenched with Republican beliefs and passionate about them. She became an activist in her own right and an idealist as well. If Republicans took control, she believed, our country would be saved.

College forced her to interact with people who believed differently than she did, while also opening her eyes to the state of politics.

Asking these questions led to disillusionment and exploration. Suddenly, the issues were not as black and white as they seemed. Now there were topics left unspoken with her family. Harris respectfully shows her parents' strengths while revealing their differences of opinion today. It is because of the way that her parents raised her that she is able to approach the subject matter so well.

Harris uses stories from her childhood to illustrate the contrasting beliefs and, in this, attempts to move the discussion forward. It's possible to go beyond Roe vs. Wade and talk about a pro-life ethic across the spectrum. It's possible to vote for a candidate that may differ on some issues but agree on larger ones. Harris shows that it's not business as usual when it comes to Christians and politics anymore.

She asks the same questions I asked back in college. But the point is not whether we came to the same conclusions but how to move the current conversation deeper. It's not us vs. them. That may be what I've learned most the past several years. When we keep politics partisan, nothing gets accomplished.

I've realized, as did Harris, that neither side is right, nor have they gotten it "right." We all have reasons for believing the way we do. And most of us can point to the way our faith informs our voting- as well it should. That we come down on opposite sides at times should not divide us completely. It's possible to have civil conversations that explore these issues. If we're all seeking after Christ, can't we maintain Christlike character while discussing politics? I may be an idealist in this matter but I choose to believe we're capable.

It's an uneasy tension sorting out faith from politics but it's important that we try. I echo Harris's words to that end: "Instead of claiming ground and seeking power to dominate and exert my will, I want to live with the kind of love and optimism that is only possible when I hold a vision of the world's ultimate redemption from injustice and suffering."

Jesus redeemed the world by grace. May we all carry that model forward.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Kate Scott Great review! I really enjoyed this book and I think it's so important that Christians don't divide over political issues. I'm fiscally conservative, but my friend isn't because of her personal experiences with people who depend on government programs for financial aid. It doesn't make me uncompassionate or her irresponsible; we just look at things differently.


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