Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Raised Right

Raised Right By Alisa Harris
How I Untangled My Faith from Politics
Click the cover to buy

Honestly, when I picked this book out a couple months ago, I didn't expect what I ended up with.  I made the same assumption as most of the readers/buyers/bloggers, that "Raised Right" meant "Raised Correctly."  But no ma'am, that is not what this author means.  "Raised Right" means what it says: namely, right-wing conservative.

Another assumption most of us made was that "Harris" referred to Josh Harris (author of Boy Meets Girl, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and many other books famous in my circles) and his brothers, Alex and Brett (authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here, as well as founders of the Rebelution movement).  I figured she was a just-now-emerging sister that had hidden in her brothers' shadows; when I found out she was married, I assumed she was Josh's wife.  (Is he married?  I know zilch about him, really.)

All that said, this book was nothing what I expected.  I hated it from the beginning.  The way this woman was talking, and the wording she used to describe her childhood and the was she was raised - similar to, but more politically crazed, than my own background - sounded close to contempt or, at least, the belief that her background had been wrong.  She spoke poorly of rallies and demonstrations, which have lately been close to my heart.  However, at the end of the first chapter she praised shows of love - in her definition described by a man who spent as much of his time feeding a certain group of homeless as he did at work.  This convinced me to at least finish the book and see what else she had to say.

I was shocked, surprised, enraged, and pleased by turns.  On one page I was nodding my head and firmly agreeing; after turning it, though, I would recoil and wonder how she could say such things.  But, since I had already agreed to review it, I knew I should finish it.  Besides, I had to see how she resolved all these contradictions and conflicts.  When I did finish, I still didn't agree with a few of her points and beliefs - but I still recommended it to everyone I spoke to.  (Which, since I was in the middle of a youth winter retreat, was a *lot* of people.)

Why?  Well, for one, this book makes you think.  Alisa takes all the dearly held stances and beliefs of both wings and holds them against the light for examination.  She gave verses and reasons for the things she'd always believed, followed by the circumstances, people, and verses that caused her to question these certainties.  At the end, her basic principles were unchanged for the most part - but how she believed we should live out these principles was radically different.  Even if you disagree with her starting point and the beliefs she ends up with, this book requires you to question and explain the exact points of individual beliefs and why you stand by those points.  This strengthens your faith whether or not you agree with the author.

Also, I must say, the book does change as you go through it.  The things that shocked or angered me in one chapter were explained by the end of the book.  Many times I ended up agreeing with them, and many times I didn't.  But no matter what I thought, I now understood why others could believe things that I had once considered impossible.  In fact, for the first time ever, I now understand - not agree with, but understand - Christians who call themselves pro-choice, or who think abortion should remain legal.  This book made me understand love in spite of disagreements more than I thought possible.

In conclusion, I'm rating this book four stars for being a wonderful book that all Christians should read once they've been well-grounded in their faith and apologetics.  I disagree with the author in certain areas, but I'm sure many people will in varying areas.  Just remember: if you start this book, you *must* finish it to truly grasp what Alisa is trying to tell us all.  It's a lesson worth listening to.

I received this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.  I was in no way otherwise compensated.  All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

2 comments:

  1. Joshua Harris is married, but to a woman named Shannon. I don't think they have a sister named Alisa. Would have to look that one up. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Alexxus! Haha, if they do have a sister named Alisa, it must just be a creepy coincidence, because she is in no way related to them :)

    ReplyDelete

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