“Reclaiming Hope” by Michael Wear was a challenging book for me in some incredible ways. I grew up in a small conservative town in a conservation middle class family with one sibling and a dog. We went to church on Sundays, and I guess I kind of assumed growing up that if Jesus were to register for an election he would check mark Republican. But as I have grown I, like many in my generation, have become disillusioned with our two party system. Also, as I have grown closer to Jesus it has been mind blowing the initiatives political figures will pull in the name of Jesus, whether it is war, nationalism, changing stances on sexual ethics, and reproductive rights… I have begun to think both sides are guilty of playing the Jesus card when convenient and then slipping it back into their sleeve until the next needed moment.
This election, and the current policies being implemented by the President, are continually making the country more polarizing than I have ever experienced. This is why I found this book to be both timely and personally convicting. This is not a book on faith from a middle-aged republican who served under Bush, but a youthful progressive democrat who served in the Obama White House.
This book is written as an autobiographical piece, drawing front and center the faith of President Obama, in both encouraging and critical ways. For me what this book helped with was realizing that Obama is not a character in a comic, he is a real father, husband, and leader, who daily made difficult decisions. This book did nothing to attempt to convince of the correctness of those decisions but shed light into the humanity of the Oval Office.
Ultimately, this book is a call for Christians to allow Scripture to create a theological framework for our political views. We cannot say Jesus is our Lord and Master in Church and then leave Him outside in the lobby while we are in the polling booth. Instead, we must be followers of Jesus before Americans, and move forward with compassion, empathy, and the true strength rooted in love.
At the end of this book, I did not begin to believe the author and I aligned on political basis, but we align on a Jesus centered basis for every facet of life. If you are an American, if you realize your need to allow Jesus into your political views, if you are ready to reclaim hope found in Jesus then I would whole heartedly recommend you checking out this book!