A call to faith-filled values back in the political square, Indivisible may come off as a conservative checklist of Right-Wing ideologies, and while there are certainly such far-right views, we hear two gentle voices that are passionate about Christian-American ideals.
While they might not quickly change anyone's mind, this sobering work on a wide range of issues -- marriage, abortion, war, business, immigration, parenting, poverty, capitalism, the environment -- is a biblically informed admonition that will organize your thoughts about God and the government. Some chapters are better than others, but Robison and Richards are careful to be nuanced, fair, and clear. Every chapter details not only the problem, but outlines solutions as we look forward to the future of the nation.
I've always been extremely uncomfortable with two topics: Money and Politics. It feels like the church always degrades itself when it comes to these two areas because the church has constantly failed when it's tempted by either. Talking politics in the church never goes well for very long, and many will either ignore it in the pulpit and the pews or will rally for a particular issue at the expense of genuine discourse. To say it plainly, the church is too turned on or too turned off by the political realm. But at some point, we do need to talk about it. The political machine will keep running amidst our denial or relish, and we must get involved somehow.
Indivisible is almost an introductory course on conservative values. The authors instantly tackle the idea of "conservative values." God is neither a Democrat or Republican, nor does He advocate public policies in the Bible. But of course, certain conservative values overlap with biblical ones, and not all public policies can be deemed right. At least some must contradict Christian principles. So both "liberals" and "conservatives" must submit to Scriptural authority, not a self-identifying manifesto.
The book is careful not to automatically subscribe to traditional conservative thought "just because," and this is where it becomes a much more relatable, fleshed out work than the shrill cries of picketers. There are also solutions offered in every chapter which makes this work much more than just a list of Far-Right complaints.
Any work on politics with strong convictions will be immediately divisive. I admit I'm not heavily versed in many of the issues, so a work like this was daunting: I approached with little enthusiasm and more of an open-minded curiosity. But James Robison and Jay Richards write with a crisp, clear-headed voice, always espousing their views with sound reasoning and biblical truth. They are sensitive to the people involved yet never soften their tone.
Many times Robison and Richards present their views with an eye for all angles. Any time I almost expected a simplistic argument, they would turn a corner into practical, meaningful discussion. Case in point: Their chapter on immigration was unexpected. They are greatly sympathetic towards immigrants. There is a difference between illegal immigration and the immigrants themselves, and we often don't make this distinction. Their stance against illegal immigration is obvious, but they are pro-immigrants and seem to want our borders to be accessible. Neither a mass deportation or a mass amnesty are reasonable solutions.
Other views are expected and backed up with research and the Bible -- pro-military, pro-life, for traditional marriage, limited government, stronger private property laws, specialized job training, creating wealth instead of redistribution, and reformed aid policies. Even when I didn't comply with their entire viewpoint, I more or less admired their proposed solutions as workable wisdom.
If your knowledge is slim on the free market, government policies, and how to really help the poor, then you'll find a lot to learn here. You may not agree with everything written, but the information is well researched and easy to read. Again, anyone set in stone about politics will not readily come to the same conclusions -- perhaps even be angry about some of the views -- but you cannot deny that Robison and Richards have a loving heart for people.
Every chapter ends with "What Should We Do?" and I wish some of the offered solutions had been longer than a page. They do offer some pragmatic everyday wisdom for even those who are not so involved (like me). Some of the solutions are also a bit too philosophical or psychological, spoken with over-idealistic zeal.
I'm sure someone much smarter than me can also tell the other side of the story, as Robison and Richards usually stick close to one side. They champion capitalism and the free market as the best option available for the economy, but I wonder how they would attempt to fix the corruption that has caused our American market to collapse.
There are also more than a few times where information is not cited or only cited from a single source that is passed on as absolute fact. I don't necessarily agree with the majority every time -- there's reason usually not to -- but when a bevy of research points one way, it seems strange to point to one irregular source as the key to go against the grain.
Whether you're interested in politics or not, Indivisible does a thorough job of connecting faith with values without telling you what to believe. Never condescending nor crass, James Robison and Jay Richards ultimately love God and love people. As with any political view, you may find yourself disagreeing on smaller semantics, but here we're offered a nuanced breakdown of our nation's largest problems with solutions looking forward. This is a solid guide on how the Bible informs our political inner-culture.
Disclaimer: I was given a promotional copy of this book by the DeMoss Group for review purposes. I was not obligated to write a positive review.
This review was originally written on my blog, The Way Everlasting.