Thursday, July 21, 2016

Good Faith by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons

With a subtitle like "being a Christian when society thinks you're irrelevant and extreme", how can I not read it?

I suspect that I did, however, approach the book differently from most of the audience. For one thing, I'm not American, so I never grew up with the "Christian nation" idea. For another, Singapore is proudly multiracial and multireligious, so living with people who don't share my views is something something that I do consider natural. But, the tensions between the religious and non-religious have been rising lately, so I figured that this book might have something useful. Oh, and this means that I didn't really look at the stats in the book either, so no comment there.

Rather than tell you what to do, Good Faith provides a blueprint ("Love - Believe - Live") and explores how we can use it to engage with the people around us while standing firm for Christ. There is some theology in it, but not as much as I was expecting.

Oh, and by the way, this book also introduced me to Darling magazine, which I really do like. Apart from the no-photoshop thing, the content (covering things from the price of people pleasing to what's in someone's bag and healthy replacement for junk foods) also appeals to me. So there's always that.

But, I did find a lot in this book illuminating, especially the different approaches that they raised. In particular, I really like the discussion on tolerance:
"True tolerance is an ability to acknowledge and permit other people's views. To put up with opinions with which you don't agree. To live with ideas and people you find appalling. True tolerance - some call it "principled pluralism" - is a fundamental feature of a truly free society.  
 But a new definition of tolerance, let's call it "fake tolerance", has emerged over the last decade. It goes something like this: "We will tolerate you as long as your opinion falls within the range of what we deem acceptable." Diverge from society's groupthink on any number of issue, and you are a bigot- or an extremist. In the name of tolerance, fake tolerance is a terrible and ironic counterfeit."
I find that this really resonates with me, and I hope Singapore never loses this spirt of tolerance.

The other thing I liked was their point on how you don't have to have an other half to live a fulfilled life. They were very clear that as Christians, we are to build a family of brothers and sisters in Christ, and that our one purpose is not to get married and have kids. A lot of my friends are getting engaged or in long term relationships, so it's always good to have encouragement that there is nothing wrong with being single, because there are many other meaningful relationships that you can have. I am not defined by my relationship status, and no one should be either.

All in all, I'm pretty happy that I bought and read this book.

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