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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Under God by Toby Mac and Michaet Tait

Michael Tait and Toby Mac continue their look at history and faith

In Under God Toby Mac and Michaet Tait continue to the exploration of faith and history that they began as members of the musical group DC Talk with books like Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks. The main themes of the book are faith, civil rights and political freedom. Many of these same themes were explored in DC Talk's best-selling Jesus Freak album with such songs as "Colored People" and "What Have We Become."

For me, Under God was both a great book and a frustrating book. As a history teacher, I applaud any attempt to encourage people to learn our history. Mac and Tait do not sugarcoat the failings of our country and our Founders. But, they also are sure to point out when those same people got it right.

Toby Mac
Under God is a beautiful book with a wraparound cover, jagged edge pages and faded illustrations that are oftentimes set behind the text this book makes a stunning presentation.  However, the text is done in a popular (sadly) shotgun style of presenting history - things are not presented in chronological order or even by theme. Instead, we bounce around - at one moment discussing Jamestown, than Jim Crow, than on to Daniel Webster followed by Nathan Hale. There are 60 seperate entries here. I am pleased to note that, scattered though they are, there are some people that rarely are studied, such as Benjamin Rush and Angelina Grimke.

Michael Tait
But, this history of America is by no means complete, nor entirely fleshed out. Some things are overlooked, such as Jefferson's non-traditional beliefs. There is no discussion of the Industrial Revolution, barely any mention of any of America's wars in the 20th Century. I cannot recall anything more recent than Martin Luther King, Jr. which means they ignored more than 35 years of American history. Perhaps they will address these oversights in another volume?

Both Toby Mac and Michael Tait include an afterword. I especially was struck by a passage from Tait: "While I agree with [Toby Mac] that America is in need of great repentance and I do not brush over that lightly, I must add that our country is also in great need of forgiveness. As a black man, when I discover the stories of all the injustices that occurred in the past as well as the injustices that take place today...it is understandable to be angry. It is okay to be angry. But it is what you do with the anger that matters. When anger turns to hate, it becomes a vicious poison that creates its own form of imprisonment." (p. 365)

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Under God

Reviewed on September 14, 2010.

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