Readers and Reviews

Well I didn't think of that. Why not have readers comment on a review? Here's one:

I have just finished reading the review of your book in the Economist.  The reviewer (if he understood the book correctly) seems to use various keywords (quest, perplexing, personal, intriguing, unfinished) to describe your "brand" of faith and political philosophy.  The last sentence the author writes on your book, ""The Conservative Soul" is peculiar and inconclusive, but it is also intellectually challenging and thoroughly captivating," was striking to me.  Not so much that your book is "intellectually challenging and thoroughly captivating," but that it is described like a personal journey toward understanding the true meaning of faith.  If so, it is an honest reflection of Christianity as I understand it:  never fully formed and absolute (for that is the realm of the fundamentalist), but incomplete, full of doubt (for this is the true catalyst for a more meaningful search for understanding).

"Peculiar and inconclusive" - that is my life in a nutshell.

Mine too. And I'm grateful for it. For balance, here's a negative review I just received. The reviewer is actually cited in the book defending fundamentalism. Money quote:

Sullivan has given up the hope that his religion is true. When he finds a contradiction between tradition and experience, he jettisons tradition and appeals to himself.

For the record, this is what I write about religious tradition in the book:

How can a Christian exist without the Gospels? How can a Christian today believe without the church's centuries-long care in protecting an inheritance? How can a Catholic simply ignore the statements of those who have authority and leadership in the institution that baptized and educated him? He can do none of these things; and wouldn't want to. But he will subject all of them to scrutiny and will not stop at any of these points. Such a faith incorporates these things but aims to live them, to translate them into life, and to experience God in the living here and now.

I have great hope that what Jesus taught was and is true.