Several years ago, I read the book The Faith of George W. Bush by Stephen Mansfield. I remember feeling quite impressed by the book and feeling as though it gave me insight into a president I didn’t fully understand. Instead of looking at him through the hard edges of politics and public expectation, I felt like I was getting a glimpse of his soul.
Therefore, when the opportunity to review The Faith of Barack Obama by the same author came about, I jumped at the chance immediately. Regardless of where your personal politics lie, the story of Barack Obama is an interesting one, and it stands to reason that even if he doesn’t win the presidency this year, he will remain an influential face in the American political arena for some time to come. Therefore, it is important to understand his faith…a faith that drives him and a faith he is reclaiming for the left.
Stephen Mansfield tells us about Barack Obama’s faith by telling us about his life. The first part of the book is concerned with establishing Obama’s background and explaining some of the things we may have only heard about in bits and pieces on the news. I found these chapters to be beautifully written and impossible not to feel compassion for the young Barack who faced so many different shifts in family in his young life. This background made the section that dealt with his church particularly moving. By now, we all know about the famous Jeremiah Wright and his angry and shocking rhetoric. Many people condemned Obama for standing by his church and then later defecting, so to say. I think the section about this situation was so well handled.
Mansfield also gives brief portraits of faith for Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and George W. Bush. It’s interesting to see the different ways each of these individual’s faiths have guided and affected their politics and public perception.
Mansfield writes with compassion and fairness. He has publicly said he will not support Barack Obama with a vote, but this book in no way demonizes Obama. Instead, it accurately portrays the faith that drives this man and that drives so many of the post-modern Christians today. If you want to understand Barack Obama a little better, and also the many younger Christians that will be supporting him this upcoming election than I highly recommend this book. If you are interested in learning about the soul of a man than I recommend this book. My recommendation is this if you are conservative in your politics and faith….approach this book seeking to understand and not defensively and will you enjoy it and benefit from reading it. I was deeply moved by it.
Buy The Faith of Barack Obama on Amazon.
(Note: This is the first in a slew of books I (Amy) will be reading and reviewing in preparation for this upcoming election. I won’t be telling you who I’m voting for…merely sharing with you what I learn from the books I read…I think it’s important to understand both candidates as much as possible before election day!)