Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thomas Nelson Book Review Program

I've been reading Michael Hyatt's blog lately and read about a new program he's starting where readers can receive free books if they agree to then review the book online.

I chose Stephen Mansfield's The Faith of Barack Obama.

I began reading this book around 3-4 weeks before the election occured and just finished it--with a renewed sense of importance!--this week. To begin, I must state that I'm typically not a reader of biographies. My interest rested in the person of Barack Obama running in what might one of the most crucial campaigns of my generation's lifetime. This piece also interested me because it was about Obama's faith and that was a burning curiosity of mine as I attempted to sort out who to vote for. I'll start this review with some general notes about Mansfield's writing style, choice of biographical stories and events to include, etc. then move into a bit of my opinion about the author's topic, Obama's faith. Stephen Mansfield's writing style was clear and to the point. The book is fairly short, less than 200 pages, and that showed me that Mansfield's choice of topics was laser-like in focus. For example, while He began with Obama's childhood he quickly tied that simple biographical information into Barack's lack of faith as he grew, as well as his sense of detachment from cultural groups. I found his ability to stay on topic refreshing. It kept my attention. Mansfield is not shy about discussing the difficulties Obama has experienced, from the verbal diatribes barraged from him by the Religious Right to the anger the Political Left expressed as Barack worked through certain speeches to express a Centrist approach in politics, and yet the author highlights those moments without inserting his own two cents. I found this to be old-school reporter-like, and again was refreshing. I found Mansfield's best-written chapters to be chapters four, which is about Obama's recent approach to be post-modern in faith and centrist in politicking, and chapter five which delved away from primarily Obama and discussed the faiths of George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Both of these chapters were greatly intriguing due to their relevance versues the background of Obama found in the first two-three chapters. As for Obama's faith, which the book proclaims--accurately--to be about, I definitely found my answer to whether Obama is a Christian or not: yes he is. Unfortunately, that answer also elicited many questions as I read, questions like, "How will he reveal his faith as our President? How will his faith play into his day-to-day decision making? How will he encourage or discourage the separation of church and state? How will his post-modern approach affect many persons of faith and of non-faith?" I would recommend this book to others, in fact I already have, if for no other reason than its ability to present important information about our next leader.