This first-person account provides an intimate look at the beliefs and practices of the man who helped to forge peace in the Middle East, yet who hammers nails to build homes for Habitat for Humanity since leaving the Oval Office. The focus is on the viability of Christianity in various arenas of life. Carter writes of the strength he drew from his faith at times of failure, in his family life, as the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world, and in forgiveness for those who misunderstood or misjudged him. YAs will gain insight into this man's character as he chose to stand behind his convictions when peers disagreed. Carter's principles for peace makers may help to alleviate strife for young people who are living in turmoil, while others may find fulfillment in following his belief in the benefit of simply doing good for others. Carter also offers comfort as he reflects on the sustaining strength and peace he has drawn from his beliefs. After reading this account, most readers will feel as though they have spent time with the Maranatha Baptist Church's world-famous Sunday School teacher and have received a warm welcome. Janice DeLong, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
An unforgettable spiritual autobiography filled with wisdom and pleas for justice.
Former president Carter's faith has been forged in some hard times, and these are unstintingly detailed here. He eloquently describes the loss of both his parents and all three of his siblings to cancer, as well as his own bitter political defeats, bankruptcy, and ostracism in the 1960s for refusing to join the racist White Citizens' Council. Carter outlines his own faults, his remoteness as a husband in the early years of his marriage, and his authoritarian treatment of his three sons. What emerges from these trials is a patient maturity, unburdened by trite answers to the basic problem of theodicy. Life is hard, and Jimmy Carter knows it. But he has also sustained a growing faith in the One who has guided him since he accepted Christ as a child. Carter's faith is a fin-de-siècle cross between ecumenical pluralism and old-time southern gospel religion. His beliefs are theologically sophisticated (he has read widely among 20th-century theologians such as Barth, Tillich, and Neibuhr) but still simple enough that the whole book reads like one of his famous Sunday school classes, a homiletical treat that relies on personal experiences and storytelling to relay a complex message. In the end, Carter's faith weighs in heavily on the side of social justice (though, in true Baptist form, he also relates some experiences from his missionary evangelism trips). He places the international mediation work of his Carter Center in a spiritual context, describing behind-the-scenes peace talks with Haiti's General Cedras and the late Kim Il Sung of North Korea, and issues a clarion call for peace through negotiation. He also writes spiritedly of his work for Habitat for Humanity, building affordable housing for the world's poor.
Carter's life is best summarized by the title of one of his chapters: faith in action.