Yearly Reviews

Give Us LibertyGive Us Liberty by Dick Armey

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book….i really did. Not b/c i agree with the Tea Party in all that it stands for but b/c I wanted to get a better understanding of the Tea Party and why it holds to some of the political ideas (ideals) that it does.

This book really was a failure on a number of levels. First, let’s be honest. The Tea Party is not really inclusive, as it claims it is, of democrats, republicans, libertarians, etc. The Tea Party is an ultra conservative fringe of the Republican party. And in fact, it wants to get rid of RINO’s (Republican In Name Only), those “republicans” who are too moderate or who actually, gasp, support some ideas, to whatever extent, of their democrat counterparts. According to Dick Armey, the Tea Party wants to take control of the Republican Party. If that were to happen one is left wondering…”what will they then call themselves?” They freely admit that they are leaderless but want to utilize the fine-tune structure that the Republican Party has to offer.

In terms of the subtitle, A Tea Party Manifesto, it provided little to any type of “manifesto”. Rather, it gave examples of people who have won various elections, or who have opposed Democrat/liberal plans. But it would have gone so much further if it would have infused those examples with a basic promotion of why a particular candidate or defeating a particular agenda was so important to the ideas of the Tea Party.

At points I did find myself agreeing…..there is a lot of government waste, too much spending with money that we don’t have……but please, please don’t tell me that you want to cut programs to the most vulnerable of our society when you are unwilling to touch the largest, far and away, budget item out there…..defense/military.

What I found very troubling about the book was it’s underlining philosophy. Dick Armey argued in several spots that what drives the Tea Party is an absolute commitment to the individual above the collective. The individual is what is important…what matters.

This is why the movement is so troublesome to me. I can agree with and hold to some of what they do but as a christ-follower who understands community to be essential to who i am and what i am about and i see the NT writers passionate about putting others needs above my own it is at this point where I must part company with the Tea Party. In fact, if the individual and their own desires and their own “pursuit of happiness” is the only thing that matters and what is important and is at the heart of why they do what they do as an unorganized organization….dare i say that they are being unbiblical and something that every Christ-follower must wrestle with on how closely to be aligned with such a movement. When this group highlights and promotes Ayn Rand (especially, Atlas Shrugged) as a ‘light’ that guides them….one must be concerned….or one must be concerned as a Christ-follower.

So, i wanted to like this book. I really did. But i was left scratching my head. For a manifesto book, i was left wondering, “what do they really want to do….and why”. Okay, so you want to get rid of liberals, rino’s and take over the republican party….but then what? Where do you want to take our country? Lower taxes, more individual freedoms, repeal health care, leave us alone, (and of course, let us keep our guns!)….but what does that look like? Repeal health care and give us what? Everyone knows we need something different than what we currently have….what does that look like to the Tea Party? Lower taxes….and then how do we pay for some of the programs we currently have (which by the way, I was able to borrow this book at my local, public library (wink, wink))? What does the future look like to the Tea Party? They see us heading down a socialist, marxist, communist, liberal (did i get all of them?) path….but what are they leading us to? How will we get there? And what will it cost us along the way? And, again, when the individual is the center of everything that you revolve your thinking and politics around…i have trouble with this. A question was asked many centuries ago: am I my brother’s keeper? And the answer was repeated over and over again in so many different ways: yes, you are.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American DreamRadical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book had some great and powerful things to say and ideas to convey. Most of it was familiar to me but the reason I only gave it three stars was because it was not quite what I expected it to be (which is unfair of me to then turn around and rate it on how it should have been according to me). I will put up a couple of quotes later on. The book did a good job of reminding western christians (especially Americans) that the American dream lulls us into comfort and security but following Jesus is dangerous and costly. I though he would spend more time talking about various aspects of the american dream and how it is as a whole, and as some individual parts, at odds with following God in the way of Jesus. He spent one chapter, specifically, on this idea. That was disappointing from the perspective that the books subtitle is: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. Again, a good book that will challenge many (myself included) to see that our life is not about comfort or even stability. It is following God in the way of Jesus and what he calls us to and using what God has blessed us with for his glory.

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