Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity

Article excerpt

Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity. By Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2016. 240 pp. $21.99 (cloth).

In the midst of a fraught, contentious, and vitriolic election season, Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz have offered both a life preserver and an atlas for navigating the ever-expanding enmeshment of Christianity and politics in their latest book, Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity. A companion volume to Volfs 2011 work, A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good, this text continues the work begun in the first volume, focusing on how followers of Christ should engage their faith publicly. The result is an exceptionally readable handbook for Christians who desire to engage both their faith and their politics more deeply, rooted in the books central premise: that "Christian faith has an inalienable public dimension" (p. 3).

The authors do their best to present their arguments fairly, while also rightly observing that "to speak as a human being is to speak from a particular place at a particular time" (p. xiii). In this case, the authors self-identify as Protestant Christians who have lived in both Western and non-Westem countries. Moreover, the authors make clear from the outset that the goal of the book "is not to end a conversation but to enrich it, not to achieve passive submission but to invite critical discussion" (p. xiii).

The book is organized into three parts: Part 1 discusses the "big picture commitments" that orient faithful Christian public life; part 2 examines the "convictions" that should shape Christian engagement with specific matters of public significance; and part 3 considers some of the "virtues, or qualities of character" (p. xii) that Christians should cultivate and live out. Each of the twenty-five brief chapters includes an annotated bibliography for further reading and deeper engagement, and most of the chapters also include a series of questions that the authors identify as having "room for debate." Taken together, the organization of the book lends itself well to a group study or classroom text.

The content of the book is impressive and exhaustive. …

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