Book Review: “Letters to an American Christian”

The 2016 presidential election broke our nation. At least, it often feels that way. People on both sides of the political aisle seem to act in ways and say things that are fairly deplorable. A spotlight has landed on the United States, and it has not revealed a pretty picture.

To borrow an oft-used phrase, how now should Christians live in our interminably hysterical era?

Bruce Ashford provides an excellent response to this (and many other) questions related to faith and public life in his book Letters to an American Christian.

He uses an informal format—pretending to write letters to a curious college student—to open up a discussion about deep and tenuous topics. How does the Bible affect our understanding of today’s hot-button issues? What will a Christian witness look like once the faith has been pushed to the margins?

Of course, even Christians who read the book may not agree with his analysis, but Ashford’s winsome approach will energize your thinking about the subjects he raises.

One issue I had with the book is that he does not spend enough time on foreign policy aside from a great discussion on the basics of what is necessary to justify going to war. While I don’t guess that Ashford is a foreign policy expert, a chapter (or letter) on the Christian response to the nation of Israel would have been helpful.

This book is timely and a great read for everyone, but it’s especially useful for those Christians who are new to the subject of how their faith interacts and intersects with public life.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Ashford’s personal page.