Stephen Mansfield has written, “The Faith of Barack Obama” with a broad brush. Not only in regards to Obama’s faith, but also the changing political landscape. The picture Mansfield paints: no matter what the outcome of the election Obama will continue to shape politics for some time to come.
Mansfield carries the reader through the formational forces in Obama’s life, connecting the influences and themes that have shaped Obama’s “own deep personal faith”. Personalities and stories that are readily recognized in Obama’s rhetoric are revisited in a softer light, as to understand their influence rather than draw criticism.
Mansfield adeptly handles Obama’s impact. He picks up his broad bush and applies it to many; Rev. Jeremiah Wright, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Howard Dean and others each time adding to the mosaic.
The strength of “The Faith of Barack Obama” is in Mansfield’s perceptive eye. Mansfield lays Obama’s faith side by side along the cultural and political trends of the day. Each chapter encourages the reader to look outside the talking points and spin and appreciate the faith of a man.
Art serves to open discussion, provide commentary and often acts as a catalyst. Art does not offer the whole picture. In this way, Mansfield paints a portrait of Obama.
Mansfield taps into our need for genuineness and authenticity in the way he frames the book by offering us the types of stories of faith that we crave to hear from our leaders. Mansfield illustrates time and again the importance of faith in private and public life.
Taking a step back looking at the canvas Mansfield paints, it is less a portrait of Obama and more a real life scene.
If you have interest in reading more, I encourage you to pick up a copy f the book or e-mail me for the first two chapters. Publisher, Thomas Nelson, is generously allowing me to share the first two chapters electronically.