This is book I was actually anticipating during Lent. I learned about it when I read one of Lisa Sampson’s novels, which I find generally a cut above the average “Christian women’s fiction.” Looking for more books by her, I was intrigued to discover that she and her husband had co-authored a book about pursuing a Christian lifestyle of social justice while living a traditional American, middle-class suburban life.
This is a constant pre-occupation of mine, because I feel the call to a life of justice strongly, yet I am deeply rooted in my middle-class lifestyle. My problem is not so much living in the “burbs,” but rather living in the inner city (as “inner city” as St. John’s gets; we live on the edge of one of the city’s oldest public housing developments) with a surburban lifestyle and mentality. I’m in the middle of people in genuine need and yet I often feel isolated in my middle-class comfort.
I found this book well-written, interesting and inspiring, as well as practical. Lisa’s skills as a novelist are evident in the introduction to each chapter as she writes a short narrative passage following the experiences of Matthew and Christine, a typical suburban Christian couple who become convicted of the call to live a life of justice. Their experiences — and the expository chapters that follow — underline the obvious fact that trying to “do justly, and love mercy” is not easy. It will be disruptive to your comfortable lifestyle. This is a constant challenge to me, and this book inspired me to deepen my commitment to a Christian vision of social justice.