Where Goodness Still Grows challenges evangelical culture and rediscovers a faith deeply rooted in a return to Jesus Christ’s life and ministry.
The evangelical church in America has reached a crossroads. Social media and recent political events have exposed the fault lines that exist within our country and our spiritual communities. Millennials are leaving the church, citing hypocrisy, partisanship, and unkindness as reasons they can’t stay.
In this book, Amy Peterson laments the corruption and blind spots of the evangelical church and the departure of so many from the faith. But she refuses to give up hope.
Where Goodness Still Grows dissects the moral code of American evangelicalism and puts it back together in a new way. Amy writes as someone intimately familiar with, fond of, and also deeply critical of the world of conservative evangelicalism. She writes as a woman and a mother, as someone invested in the future of humanity, and as someone who just needs to know how to teach her kids what it means to be good. She reimagines virtue as a tool, not a weapon; as wild, not tame; as embodied, not written. Reimagining specific virtues, such as kindness, purity, modesty, hospitality, and hope, Amy finds that if we listen harder and farther, we will find the places where goodness still grows.
With incredible insight into evangelicalism's blind spots, Peterson (Dangerous Territory) challenges Christians to embody classic virtues honestly and holistically. Unafraid to call out names (particularly Donald Trump and his leading evangelical supporters), political parties, and toxic social structures, the author, a lifelong conservative, invites her fellow believers to reclaim genuine virtue that serves others rather than themselves. Examining kindness and hospitality, she chides the church for settling for niceness rather than a sacrifice that, for example, exhibits kindness to refugees or pursues racial reconciliation. The virtue of authenticity, she claims, has been conflated with a "spontaneity" that usually lacks any substance within Christian norms. Offering no concrete measures, Peterson instead calls on the church to reject its current state of complacency and revert to its biblical roots. As an explicit rebuke of contemporary American evangelical Christianity, Peterson's stark criticisms run the risk of offending her audience. This pointed plea for evangelicals to rediscover the goodness they were meant to embody is sure to start conversations within Christian households and churches.