Faithful Witness in a Fractured World: Models for an Authentic Christian Life

By Nicole L. Johnson and Michael T. Snarr. Cascade Books, 2019. 132 pages. $18/paperback or eBook.

Nicole L. Johnson is a professor at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, and Michael T. Snarr is a professor at Wilmington College in Ohio. They have collaborated on this book on “how not to be a crappy Christian.” This concept, endorsed by their students, is part of a larger movement to understand how Christianity, especially in the global West, has been shaped from very early on to concentrate power and to control populations with threats of punishment and promises of reward. Analysis abounds among theologians and educators (and ordinary faithful people) about how the church has not taught its faithful to follow—really follow—the teachings of Jesus.

Johnson and Snarr present living examples of how to follow those teachings rather than be a “crappy Christian,” one who uses a Christian identity to claim a righteous understanding of God’s will, even when they are arguing with other Christians.

The living examples in this book are seven individuals, none famous, but all personally known to the authors (including an environmental lobbyist from Friends Committee on National Legislation). Johnson and Snarr lift them up as “people whose commitments are inspiring and faithful.” Importantly, they point out that many of us feel unequal to making the sacrifices that people like Martin Luther King Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Dorothy Day made. It’s important to have as models people who make changes in their corner of the world, on a scale we can relate to, imitate, or join with.

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