WILMINGTON — A Wilmington College political science professor co-authored a newly published book on Christianity designed to help bridge many social and political divides by portraying examples of profound love for and service to others.
WC’s Michael T. Snarr and Nicole L. Johnson, professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of Mount Union, wrote “Faithful Witness in a Fractured World: Models for an Authentic Christian Life.” Their book highlights the stories of seven individuals from various Christian backgrounds who are “quietly and humbly” living out their understanding of their Christian vocation, according to Snarr.
The book’s unofficial title immediately gets to the point: “How Not to Be a Crappy Christian.”
Included are several exemplars with ties to the local community.
Ron Cordy runs the addiction recovery program at Sugartree Ministries and Tammy Berry started Hope House in Wilmington. Rick Polhamus visited every Global Issues class at the College for the past 17 years.
The commitments of the seven have led to such vocations as working with homeless women, employing refugees, lobbying for environmental protection, healing trauma in urban communities, peace-making in Israel-Palestine, advocating for immigrants and walking alongside persons in addition recovery. Book royalties will by given to the non-profit organizations they serve.
Snarr noted that How Not to Be a Crappy Christian is intended for a lay audience — there’s no academic jargon. They’ve crafted in-depth discussion of four areas that each of the seven have in common in terms of their understanding of the Christian way of life. Indeed, the authors hope it will bridge some divides between Christians on the political and social right and left as it posits a few key areas that Christians on any side of the aisle might embrace, such as embodied faith and radical love.
Author/activist Shane Claiborne, the founder of Red Letter Christians, is a frequent presenter at WC. He noted that many persons might love Jesus Christ but reject Christianity because of “contradictions and hypocrisy” they see in the church.
“This book forges a way towards a Christianity that acts like Jesus again, a movement that loves like Christ loves,” Claiborne said, adding that the current crisis in America is not only political, but also spiritual and moral.
“At the heart of that crisis is a church that has lost the art of spiritual formation,” he said. “We’ve focused more on making believers than forming disciples. This book is a call to love like Jesus loved, and not let the haters hold us back.”
Douglas Jacobsen, author of “Gracious Christianity: Living the Love We Profess”, said the book “is the best and most refreshing discussion of what it means to be a Christian that I have read in years.”
Noah Campbell, associate rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Germantown, Tenn., said the book displays what “Scripture looks like in real time, in the flesh. The stories and testimonies are close to the ground and the biblical commentary close to the heart of Christ.”