This book will give hope to many, showing us how to stand up for what we believe and what’s right. The author knows that this is something to which many aspire, and few achieve.
Author Mariann Edgar Budde is the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC, which includes Washington National Cathedral. She’s been in this role since 2011 and has had close contact, as a result, with the last three U.S. presidents, several Congresses, and Supreme Court justices. She opens her book recounting a moment from the Trump presidency that many of us would like to forget: when he used tear gas on protestors in Lafayette Square in order to stand in front of a church under Budde’s authority, holding a Bible for a photo-op.
She went on TV that day to denounce those actions.
After watching the failings and successes of many in power and many who work to influence those who are in the room when it happens, Budde writes to encourage all readers of faith and faithful concerns toward greater zeal, being present in meaningful ways to the world in front of them, and demonstrating faith that is often intellectual and not often enough embodied and active.
She quotes many encouragers and exemplars such as Dr. King, Kelly Brown Douglas, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Fr. Greg Boyle, Brene Brown, as well as the Bible, quite often.
She shares a lot of wisdom told from her own experiences, and it never comes across preachy. For example, she understands the fragile emotional state that often comes in the wake of doing something courageous and addresses this movingly in chapter 6, “The Inevitable Letdown”: “After the rush of energy dissipates, the most predictable feeling is emptiness, as life, in all its ambiguity, snaps back into place. Old routines and unresolved issues reassert themselves. Doubt rushes in.” Then, later, she reassures, “Letdowns are inevitable, but they do not have the final word unless we let them.”