LIVING FAITH by Jimmy Carter
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An unforgettable spiritual autobiography filled with wisdom and pleas for justice. Former president Carter's faith has been forged in some hard times, and these are unstintingly detailed here. He eloquently describes the loss of both his parents and all three of his siblings to cancer, as well as his own bitter political defeats, bankruptcy, and ostracism in the 1960s for refusing to join the racist White Citizens' Council. Carter outlines his own faults, his remoteness as a husband in the early years of his marriage, and his authoritarian treatment of his three sons. What emerges from these trials is a patient maturity, unburdened by trite answers to the basic problem of theodicy. Life is hard, and Jimmy Carter knows it. But he has also sustained a growing faith in the One who has guided him since he accepted Christ as a child. Carter's faith is a fin-de-siacle cross between ecumenical pluralism and old-time southern gospel religion. His beliefs are theologically sophisticated (he has read widely among 20th-century theologians such as Barth, Tillich, and Neibuhr) but still simple enough that the whole book reads like one of his famous Sunday school classes, a homiletical treat that relies on personal experiences and storytelling to relay a complex message. In the end, Carter's faith weighs in heavily on the side of social justice (though, in true Baptist form, he also relates some experiences from his missionary evangelism trips). He places the international mediation work of his Carter Center in a spiritual context, describing behind-the-scenes peace talks with Haiti's General Cedras and the late Kim Il Sung of North Korea, and issues a clarion call for peace through negotiation. He also writes spiritedly of his work for Habitat for Humanity, building affordable housing for the world's poor. Carter's life is best summarized by the title of one of his chapters: faith in action.
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8129-2736-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996


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