John C. Richards, Jr.
7 Takeaways From Compassion & Conviction
Updated: May 30, 2022
As part of my regular reading diet, every year, I read a book a week. This reading habit helps me feed my desire to continue to learn. It also helps me become a better leader, pastor, husband, father, and friend.
This week I revisited Compassion & Conviction: The And Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement by Justin Giboney, Michael Wear, and Chris Butler. The book was created as a "resource to help believers engage the civic space as faithful Christians and informed citizens."
Here are 7 other takeaways that I found really helpful from this book:
1. Christians should engage politics because doing so provides us with a robust opportunity to love our neighbor by acting justly, promoting human flourishing, and seeking the prosperity of our community.
Two things that people say you shouldn't discuss in public: religion and politics. But this book challenges that notion and says that engaging in politics through a biblical lens is taking advantage of the opportunity to fulfill the great commandment and the biblical mandate to do justice.
2. When in conflict we should demonstrate that our public witness is more important than winning a political battle. This means that if our side has to do something unloving or corrupt to win, then it’s better for us to lose in that situation.
Whew. It's better for us to lose in that situation. Keeping your witness is more important than winning an argument. Such a money quote. Challenging and helpful for anyone who wants to engage others in the public square.
3. Important causes and people in need lose precious political capital when their advocates are loud but don’t clearly understand the process.
I always say that there is nothing more dangerous than uninformed activism. Being loud isn't always helpful when you are wrong and don't understand the process and systems you are trying to change.
4. Christians should understand the subject matter and articulate biblical principles in terms that resonate with the audience.
In other words, we don't need to quote the Bible to help others understand important biblical principles. Context is always key. That's what Paul did in Acts 17. And that's what we should do in engaging audiences that are not familiar with Scripture.
5. A religion with a history of being persecuted should know better than to become the persecutor.
I love this quote. For a religion that was established on the margins and experienced great persecution, we sure love to pursue the majority position in the western context. And sometimes that makes us the oppressor. We need to be careful about that and learn to flourish in the margins.
6. When conservatism means preserving unjust systems and institutions, it must be opposed. When progressivism means moving from God’s truth, it too must be opposed.
One of the best things about this book is its refusal to pick sides. This quote is indicative of the spirit behind the work. Both conservatism and progressivism must be opposed when they take unbiblical positions or act unjustly.
7. Nonbelievers can be wrong about matters of faith and right about a particular issue because of common grace.
In my social justice advocacy work, I've learned this to be true.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Through The And Campaign, I feel like I have found my tribe. The centrist position they take on many social and political issues is right in my wheelhouse and I think could become a position that is influential in the years to come in our polarized culture. Pick this book up if you are tired of feeling like you're forced to pick sides in our political climate. You don't. And this guide lays out how you can approach your civic engagement moving forward.
Watch the video below to see the seven takeaways from this book: