When I first picked up this book I cringed a little. Not because I didn’t like the catchy cover photo or the title, it was more the subtitle that got me. The subtitle is: “Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew?” The reason for my cringing on a subtitle like this is that I live in Canada. We don’t have Republicans and Democrats. In fact we don’t cloak our political leanings with fancy names; we’re a little more blunt (how unCanadian). For most of Canada’s existence there has been two main political entities: the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party.
Once my initial aversion was overcome, however, I began to read Charles Drew’s book. To my delight and surprise, he doesn’t only focus on the issues that matter to American voters (although he does speak to them). His words cross the border into Canada and affect our political situation as well.
Anywhere you have people who disagree on issues related to politics, community, governance and law, you usually have a Republican/Democrat divide. Drew’s appeal in the book is not that we abandon our conservative or liberal leanings, but that we begin to listen to each other and learn about each other. It’s a great idea.
I did get a little frustrated at Drew’s lack of engagement on particular issues. For instance, a couple of times in the book he says that certain problems – which he brings up – are “outside the scope of this book.” I was hoping to see how his plea for dialogue and understanding might actually look when applied to a thorny political issue.
However, the book serves as a great primer for a conversation on how the left and right treat each other. My prayer is that it will open gospel-centered conversations between those who lean in different political directions. There are none so deaf, after all, as those who refuse to hear.