AS THE VOLUME of campaign rhetoric and debates around the proper relationship between religion and politics rises, I’m reminded that I’m not very inspired to action or service or public engagement by speeches or even impassioned arguments.
What I want are stories: real stories about real people, profiles in courage (that sometimes falters), testimonies of doubt and failure and perseverance. Don’t tell me about how faith has a role in the public square—show me faith in action, whether religious faith or simply a hunger to right a wrong or defend the defenseless that transcends mere strategic or policy considerations. Here are a few books that do just that.
In the introduction to Divine Rebels: American Christian Activists for Social Justice (Lawrence Hill Books), author Deena Guzder writes that her book “articulates a forward-thinking, faith-based alternative to both the conservative talking heads that warp religion as well as the political left’s alienating cynicism.” This “beyond Left and Right, fundamentalist and staunchly secular” approach might sound overly familiar to many Sojourners readers, as might some of her profiled subjects, which include Daniel Berrigan and Shane Claiborne.