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Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama—as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, t Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama—as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, threats to security and liberty at home, and skyrocketing oil and gas prices. With all of these threats to our security, prosperity and freedom on the horizon, it has never been more important to choose the right leader for America. "If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life," writes Mansfield. Mansfield holds back nothing to share that vision and explain its roots, including:  Obama's upbringing in a non-Christian home the influence on his life from his agnostic mother and Muslim father his remarkable turn to Christianity after working in the inner cities of Chicago his years at the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ his association to the radical teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright the source of Obama's relentless optimism and hope for America Every American voter concerned to know more about Obama's beliefs, both religious and political, and how the two intertwine should read this book, as should every thinking person who continues to shape and evolve his or her religious beliefs. Barack Obama, according to Mansfield, is "raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow."


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Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama—as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, t Get inside the mind and soul of Barack Obama New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama—as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief. America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, threats to security and liberty at home, and skyrocketing oil and gas prices. With all of these threats to our security, prosperity and freedom on the horizon, it has never been more important to choose the right leader for America. "If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life," writes Mansfield. Mansfield holds back nothing to share that vision and explain its roots, including:  Obama's upbringing in a non-Christian home the influence on his life from his agnostic mother and Muslim father his remarkable turn to Christianity after working in the inner cities of Chicago his years at the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ his association to the radical teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright the source of Obama's relentless optimism and hope for America Every American voter concerned to know more about Obama's beliefs, both religious and political, and how the two intertwine should read this book, as should every thinking person who continues to shape and evolve his or her religious beliefs. Barack Obama, according to Mansfield, is "raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow."

30 review for The Faith of Barack Obama

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    The book probably deserves four stars; it is very well written and the author clearly understands Black liberation theology and how it has served and informed a generation of African American Christians. The author writes very carefully about a hyper sensitive subject, while also weaving into the historical narrative Barack Obama's personal religious experience. Obama sincerely claims to be a Christian, although theologicaly and politicaly he is a liberal, which would be enough for many conserva The book probably deserves four stars; it is very well written and the author clearly understands Black liberation theology and how it has served and informed a generation of African American Christians. The author writes very carefully about a hyper sensitive subject, while also weaving into the historical narrative Barack Obama's personal religious experience. Obama sincerely claims to be a Christian, although theologicaly and politicaly he is a liberal, which would be enough for many conservative christians to exclude him from the fold, perhaps denounce him as a heretic, or worse. This is a sad testament to our modern political/religious situation, but for the thoughtful, well traveled believer (orthodox or not) Obama's proclamations regarding his faith ring sincere, and distinctly christian. If one wants to gain an understanding of liberal christianity and how it spiritualy informs and forms its adherants, including our president, than this book is a good place to start. 3 stars (pushing four) recommended indeed

  2. 5 out of 5

    Coicoy

    The author of this book basically read other people's books and articles, and then wrote a summary. He offered only a tiny bit of analysis; his research is limited to materials already available to the public in other formats. A better title for this book would have been "An Overview of The Faith of the Presidential candidate Barack Obama as Presented Publicly in the Political and Social Spheres." As an introduction to this topic, it's not a terrible book. The author of this book basically read other people's books and articles, and then wrote a summary. He offered only a tiny bit of analysis; his research is limited to materials already available to the public in other formats. A better title for this book would have been "An Overview of The Faith of the Presidential candidate Barack Obama as Presented Publicly in the Political and Social Spheres." As an introduction to this topic, it's not a terrible book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Rose

    [Jeremiah Wright: Jesus is a "half-naked man of color", who loses His life at the conspiring hands of a corrupt white Italian nation and the coconspirators within His own race. During Obama's years at Punhaou, he tried on personas as another man might try on clothes. Was he the angry radical brother or the educated, upwardly mobile black? ] I sympathized gloatingly with this multiracial beacon for racial progress in our generation - Barack Obama. Just as he struggled to be prideful of indistingui [Jeremiah Wright: Jesus is a "half-naked man of color", who loses His life at the conspiring hands of a corrupt white Italian nation and the coconspirators within His own race. During Obama's years at Punhaou, he tried on personas as another man might try on clothes. Was he the angry radical brother or the educated, upwardly mobile black? ] I sympathized gloatingly with this multiracial beacon for racial progress in our generation - Barack Obama. Just as he struggled to be prideful of indistinguishable heritage for much of his youth, so do I. It was not until his mid 20s that he was at home in his skin. The particular turning point was when young Columbia graduate moved to Chicago to do volunteer political work. While church shopping there, he found the all black, most renowned baptist church in the country Rev. Jeremiah Wright's United Church of Christ. It was uniquely a church of upwardly mobile, politically active blacks, led by Yale PhDs in theology and 4 degree man of himself Rev Wright with his yearly cultural enrichment trips to Kenya and other West African countries. Obama finally became truly prideful of his heritage. It was this transformation that influenced him to go to Harvard Law at 28, run for Senator and later president, all while regularly attending the United Church of Christ in South Chicago.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I didn't come into this book expecting greatness and yet I still left disappointed. This book is a badly written Wikipedia article, quoting from other sources primarily. The chapter where Mansfield visits Trinity Church needed serious editing as he tried to have the reader see through his own experience and did so badly. In a book about the faith if Barack Obama, there's a chapter devoted to the faith of others: 100 pages in and he's being contrasted to the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton I didn't come into this book expecting greatness and yet I still left disappointed. This book is a badly written Wikipedia article, quoting from other sources primarily. The chapter where Mansfield visits Trinity Church needed serious editing as he tried to have the reader see through his own experience and did so badly. In a book about the faith if Barack Obama, there's a chapter devoted to the faith of others: 100 pages in and he's being contrasted to the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. Which leads to my final point: this book bends over backwards to make sure the reader knows there Mansfield stands on faith and how they should believe. He praises the faith of McCain and Bush, while using shoddy sources and demeaning the faith of Clinton. He shows Obama's faith story and praises his coming to faith, while saying his admission of faith is cheap and invalid. It feels like propaganda to get Christians to vote for McCain. Definitely isn't a good source for those looking for deeper insight into Obama's faith--unless you're looking to find a certain answer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Stahl

    At first I wasn't sure about this. I always thought Obama a personable leader; I never had any reason to dislike him when in office. But then, I never used to concern myself with politics. These days, given my conservative stance, I not only am more wary of Democrats in general, but especially after their graceless handling of Trump's rise to power, I would generally consider myself not a fan of the cultural Prince Charming that is this former President. Much like Clinton's excellent Hard Choices At first I wasn't sure about this. I always thought Obama a personable leader; I never had any reason to dislike him when in office. But then, I never used to concern myself with politics. These days, given my conservative stance, I not only am more wary of Democrats in general, but especially after their graceless handling of Trump's rise to power, I would generally consider myself not a fan of the cultural Prince Charming that is this former President. Much like Clinton's excellent Hard Choices, I thought it might be rewarding to give the man a chance and read something that painted him in a positive light - (I mean, cause such things are just so hard to find). Anyway, this obviously wasn't written by Obama and, surprisingly, the writer (a Christian) calls the then-candidate out for his various inconsistencies as a self-alleged man of God. Previous decisions through and with policy regarding abortion were looked at especially, and it was disturbing. He pretty much voted in favor of born infants being left to die if they survived their abortions. Concerning liberalism, it is reasonable to assume the faith of its delegates is always going to be questionable when held up against their personal/political ideals. Given how reactionary people are, especially on the left, you can't entirely blame the Clintons and Obamas of our world for being church goers yet also pro-gay-marriage and abortion and such other things traditional values are increasingly vilified over. Besides these points of deviation, however, the book does offer much good insight into Obama's rich and pluralistic religious upbringing. With a Muslim stepfather, an Atheist mother who respected religion from an anthropological perspective, and an affinity with the black Christian community (led by controversial, seemingly white-hating Jeremiah Wright), it is predictable that many critics spun the misconception that Obama was to be America's first Muslim president. With The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield takes a surprisingly balanced look at the pros and cons of his Christian outlook, pointing out his flaws and inconsistencies, addressing attacks both right and wrong about his claim to faith. Ultimately, however, this book heralds Obama (albeit naively) as the new face of American Christianity, bringing faith back into the political spectrum and the secular Left with a more colorful and accessible Liberal packaging. Funnily enough, it was a fitting follow-up to another book I read recently called God's Politics (Jim Wallis), which dealt with the need for injecting the gospel back into the American Left before the Religious Right entirely high-jacked it. Ultimately, as good as the intentions of Wallis and Mansfield were (2004 and 2008 respectively), both books - particularly this one - do seem painfully ironic in 2018.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    My two favorite parts were Manfield's treatment of Jeremiah Wright Jr. and the chapter "Four Faces of Faith" highlighting and comparing the faiths of John McCain, Hilary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama as exemplars of four different Christian faith traditions of the past century. Some parts of the book felt thin, in that they appeared to rely heavily on non-primary sources and at times were much more interpretive than grounded in known facts. My two favorite parts were Manfield's treatment of Jeremiah Wright Jr. and the chapter "Four Faces of Faith" highlighting and comparing the faiths of John McCain, Hilary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama as exemplars of four different Christian faith traditions of the past century. Some parts of the book felt thin, in that they appeared to rely heavily on non-primary sources and at times were much more interpretive than grounded in known facts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jara

    I'm reading it with the privilege of hindsight, so I know that Obama's proclaimed Christian faith is false and his policies never did grow to become more aligned with the Biblical worldview. That written, if I had read this book when it was first published, it would've left me with the audacity to hope that Obama actually is Christian. I pray for those who counseled him to continue to sow seeds where ever God leads. Because they will produce true fruit in due time! (Galatians 6 says so!) I'm reading it with the privilege of hindsight, so I know that Obama's proclaimed Christian faith is false and his policies never did grow to become more aligned with the Biblical worldview. That written, if I had read this book when it was first published, it would've left me with the audacity to hope that Obama actually is Christian. I pray for those who counseled him to continue to sow seeds where ever God leads. Because they will produce true fruit in due time! (Galatians 6 says so!)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrés Duque

    Me enloquecia la idea de que al pueblo norteamericano le interesara más su fe que el hombre. Pero claramente este libro no es sólo sobre su fe sino también de toda su vida y encierra los momentos más importantes de la vida de Barack y todo lo que vive antes de llegar a ser presidente y su pasado, su presente han hecho que aclare porque definitivamente soy seguidor de este hombre. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Turner

    Written before Obama was elected president. In addition to a lot of biographical detail about Obama, this includes thoughtful analysis of religion in recent American politics. Lots about the 2 Bushes and Hillary Clinton.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kirei

    It would have been more convincing had Mansfield based this book on a personal interview with Obama himself.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

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  12. 4 out of 5

    Glenda Bixler

    "This book is...written in the belief that if a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important things about him, and...it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life..." –Stephen Mansfield I think reading The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield after the 2008 election is over has allowed me to better absorb the wealth of understanding this book provides. Mansfield, who has also written of Churchill, Boo "This book is...written in the belief that if a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important things about him, and...it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life..." –Stephen Mansfield I think reading The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield after the 2008 election is over has allowed me to better absorb the wealth of understanding this book provides. Mansfield, who has also written of Churchill, Booker T. Washington, George W. Bush, et. al. has a gift for honing in on, and creating a well-documented text that speaks directly to and clearly presents the defining points of the person about whom he has written. It is not the first time Mansfield has written about the faith of men. It perhaps, though, is the first time that his book is published immediately before the election of that man as president elect. Obviously, the biography may well become a must-read for all Americans, as we look toward the time of change that Obama has promised. I believe the book covers essentially all of the issues that drove this year’s election and helps lay a foundation that will guide our understanding of the future. One of the major highlights of the book was a comprehensive, comparative analysis of the “Four Faces of Faith” for those individuals who were the primary participants in the 2008 election: George W. Bush as the individual who was leaving the office and then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain as the leading candidates. Each of these individuals has openly discussed their faith during the election. Reading the comparison however, clearly focuses on how the candidates’ profession of faith may have been perceived by citizens. Mansfield begins his book, naturally, with a look at Obama’s early life. Considering the diversity of influences from his major role models—his parents, grandparents, and his stepfather¾it is somewhat amazing that he was able to intellectually work through the breadth of his experience and arrive at a point where he chose to follow Christ. Then, as various political campaigns were undertaken, Obama was constantly attacked from a faith standpoint; however, being under fire, actually worked to forge his beliefs into both rhetoric as well as actions that in turn fired his growing numbers of followers. “We worship an awesome God in the Blue States,” declared Obama at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention speech. Quite willing to claim that democrats were Christians too, Obama has in essence “founded” a Religious Left that has met the needs of the millions who soundly rejected that only the Religious Right were true Christians. “We, too, have faith...Those of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion, who defend the rights of gays and who care for the poor... It was a conscious attempt to reclaim the voice of the American political Left.” Mansfield clarifies issues regarding Obama’s early teachings in Islam, and his relationship with Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as well as a discussion of the black church experience, which historically has provided a method for hearing the news, dealing with issues and planning for the good of the community. His inclusion of a perhaps little-known issue, of the “Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” lends credibility to his discussion and forces us to better understand the fear and anger of a large part of our population! In closing, Mansfield highlights a number of healers—those who are able to bring about change for the good. Will Obama be such a healer? Mansfield seems to imply that he just might be. He has been forced to share and has willingly stood on what he believes, while at the same time, admitting, for instance, when he is unsure of his position on abortion, that “I don’t believe such doubts make me a bad Christian. I believe they make me human, limited in my understandings of God’s purpose and therefore prone to sin.” (From The Audacity of Hope) May this reviewer add her personal “Amen” to that! Needless to say, I highly recommend The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield! "No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don’t want faith used to belittle or to divide...Because in the end, that’s not how they think about faith in their own lives." --Barack Obama Respectfully submitted, G. A. Bixler

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    After an overt audience preference for John McCain at Saddleback’s faith forum last week, I found myself skeptical that another Christian mainstay (Thomas Nelson) could treat a democrat fairly. However, like moderator Rick Warren, author Stephen Mansfield does a respectable job proving for insight into the spiritual life of the current democratic presidential nominee in The Faith of Barrack Obama. The Faith of Barrack Obama appears to be written for a more conservative, evangelical audience. At After an overt audience preference for John McCain at Saddleback’s faith forum last week, I found myself skeptical that another Christian mainstay (Thomas Nelson) could treat a democrat fairly. However, like moderator Rick Warren, author Stephen Mansfield does a respectable job proving for insight into the spiritual life of the current democratic presidential nominee in The Faith of Barrack Obama. The Faith of Barrack Obama appears to be written for a more conservative, evangelical audience. At points, it feels as though Mansfield uses the views of the religious right as the measuring stick for the ‘correct’ faith. When speaking of faith, the perspective with which he compares Obama stems solely from the more conservative Christian viewpoint (as opposed to Muslim, Hindu, etc.) Given the audience, there is no fault in this, but it would be helpful to note this point to better understand the book’s perspective. In spite of the audience, Mansfield works hard to highlight Obama’s message of unity to the traditionally divided factions of politics and faith. Chapter two opens with an example of then-presidential candidate Sam Brownback and Obama at Saddleback’s World AIDS Day summit. At the summit, Brownback commented that he felt more ‘comfortable’ than he’d felt when they’d shared the stage at the NAACP conference. Given evangelicals’ tendency to lean Republican, Brownback turned to Obama and commented, “Welcome to my house!” In his infamous eloquence, Obama responded, “There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.” Mansfield goes on to explore how Obama has worked to bring traditionally divided houses together, to break down long-standing barriers, and to forge common ground on hostile issues. Perhaps the most hostile of these issues is abortion, to which Mansfield dedicates an entire chapter on Obama’s voting record on abortion. While this chapter is the most negative tone, it is certainly an issue to be considered for those who espouse the value of human life. However, the examination of this one issue felt overemphasized as I would have liked to see a more in depth examination of his stance on other issues of life such as the death penalty, world poverty, and health care. (Mansfield does touch on some of these topics, just not as in depth as he does with abortion.) Mansfield also includes a fascinating chapter entitled, “The Four Faces of Faith” which examines how George Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barrack Obama represent four distinct sectors of America. In it, he examines how each public figure has publically lived their faith and how they reflect a various sectors of the American public. I won’t elaborate more here or it would spoil his point. “It is the healers who are best remembered,” he concludes, “those who teach us to live beyond the limitations of our lesser selves.” Comparing Obama to such historic figures as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Gerald Ford, Desmond Tutu, Manfield closes with deep respect for the message that Obama proclaims – that as a nation, we are broken and we need healing. He asserts that Obama’s presence is “more significant for who he is than for what he does politically” because he brings to light long neglected issues in our past: racism, the poor, the “restoration of religion to the political Left”, the recognition of the black church in America. While certain sections feel slightly biased, the majority of Mansfield’s book is objective and fair. Ultimately, it is a challenge to those on both sides of the church fence to be willing to dialog across difficult lines.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bryon

    Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush, and The Faith of the American Soldier, does a great job of summarizing and getting to the point. He knows what it is you're curious about and gets to the answers in an engaging way. Indeed, the story of Barack Obama and his faith rings true. Many Americans will identify with Obama in their own tensions of living life before God and a watching world. No doubt about it: Obama is a great story. He grew up with no father, no country, and no de Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush, and The Faith of the American Soldier, does a great job of summarizing and getting to the point. He knows what it is you're curious about and gets to the answers in an engaging way. Indeed, the story of Barack Obama and his faith rings true. Many Americans will identify with Obama in their own tensions of living life before God and a watching world. No doubt about it: Obama is a great story. He grew up with no father, no country, and no destiny. If he becomes president, few tales of political ascent will read like his. Mansfield makes a strong case and organizes his material well. The Faith of Barack Obama is a biography that chronicles his coming to faith while coming of age in Chicago’s South Side while becoming part of the community of worshippers at Trinity United Church of Christ. Mansfield gives a balanced look at Obama’s faith. To keep the scales even, he writes a chapter on the faith heritage of Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and George W. Bush in the chapter he heads “Four Faces of Faith.” In “The Altars of State” Mansfield compares the hellfire and brimstone bludgeoning Abraham Lincoln took from his preacher contemporaries to the beating Alan Keyes tried to give Obama during his 2004 senate race. This book, my dear inquisitive, conservative, red-state Christian friend answers your questions about what Obama believes about Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection. It gives a look into his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ under the tutelage and mentorship of Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright. It discusses Obama's views on public dialogue about God, faith and religion. As these topics were opened up, the book became a real page-turner for me. I can't say I like or agree with Obama's politics and theology at every point, but I definitely acknowledge that God is at work in this man through his faith. His faith comes across, not as perfect or complete, but genuine. Honestly, there is probably more that I do agree with than disagree. “This book is written in the belief that if a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life,” writes Mansfield. Mansfield's description of this man and how his faith influences what he does and who he is makes me less settled in my choice for president than I was before the mail man dropped the book off on my door step. “Obama’s faith infuses his public policy, so that his faith is not just limited to personal realms of his life; it also informs his leadership.” 164 pages are contained between it's front and back covers including notes and index. It’s a quick read; give yourself about three or four hours to work through it. If you want to get to know a little about Obama’s Christianity, this will be time well spent. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2008, Nashville, TN http://mondokblog.blogspot.com/2008/0...

  15. 4 out of 5

    James E. Robinson, III

    Disclaimer: I received this book as part of a promotional offer extended on Michael Hyatt's blog, From Where I Sit. He is President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. From Thomas Nelson Publishers comes an interesting sounding book, The Faith of Barack Obama. Written by Stephen Mansfield, the book provides the reader a great view of the home into which Obama was born and raised and how that affected his journey of faith and practice. The good news (pun not intended) and bad news is that the firs Disclaimer: I received this book as part of a promotional offer extended on Michael Hyatt's blog, From Where I Sit. He is President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. From Thomas Nelson Publishers comes an interesting sounding book, The Faith of Barack Obama. Written by Stephen Mansfield, the book provides the reader a great view of the home into which Obama was born and raised and how that affected his journey of faith and practice. The good news (pun not intended) and bad news is that the first three chapters tell the story of the Faith of Barack Obama. The first three chapters plus ten pages of photos (that seem out of place in a book of this type) comprise 80 pages, or over half the book. So what about the last half? The last 70 pages are split in to two pieces that i would label as "faith in politics" and "healers". The faith in politics section was interesting, but did not flow as well as the first three chapters. In addition to providing an overview of how Obama has brought his faith into his campaigns, Mansfield also touches on the faith of George W. Bush, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The last section (and chapter) of the book is where the author jumps the shark. The basic summary: Perhaps we have come to a moment when a common devotion to God may fuel a national resolve to break cycles of poverty, challenge strongholds of racism, reinforce ethical conduct among the powerful and the powerless, deliberate on the morality of war before it is declared, and end the moral scourges of our time. If this is so, then part of the impact of Barack Obama in our generation may be for just such a purpose: to help wed faith to a political vision that leads to meaningful change in our time. As if healing the nation hasn't been among the phrases used for every new tenant of the White House for the last thirty years. As if all previous U.S. presidents have been card carrying atheists. Yeah, that last chapter didn't resonate with me at all. In spite of the last chapter, i liked the book. The biographical nature of the first three chapters made it interesting. Mansfield does a great job of handling the Trinity United Church of Christ and its former pulpit occupant Jeremiah Wright. Thomas Nelson Publishers did give us bribed bloggers permission to share a PDF of the first two chapters (actually 48 pages, or one-third) of the book. Enjoy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield is one of a host of books that hit the market in this election season, capitalizing on this year’s fascinating candidates. Mansfield has been a prolific writer in the last decade, writing about history, politics and faith, and particularly their overlap. Having written The Faith of George W. Bush Mansfield has direct experience with this type of writing and analysis, and that is well demonstrated. The Faith of Barack Obama is well-written and provid The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield is one of a host of books that hit the market in this election season, capitalizing on this year’s fascinating candidates. Mansfield has been a prolific writer in the last decade, writing about history, politics and faith, and particularly their overlap. Having written The Faith of George W. Bush Mansfield has direct experience with this type of writing and analysis, and that is well demonstrated. The Faith of Barack Obama is well-written and provides a solid overview of Obama’s life and faith. The biographical element of the book focuses on Obama’s early life, until he visited Jeremiah Wright’s church as a young community organizer. If you are looking for sweet anecdotes about his wife and children, you won’t find many. This element does credibly explain why Obama is not, and was never really, a Muslim. It also provides insight into how his character was shaped by the influencial figures of his mother and grandparents while detailing his exotic childhood. The firestorm over his controversial nature has died down now, but the character and background Rev. Jeremiah Wright is explained in this book in ways that readers unfamiliar with the black liberation theology movement will find accessible and informative. This also helps to inform some of Obama’s theology but Mansfield is careful to draw distinctions between what Wright and Obama believe. Drawing heavily on what Obama has written and said about his faith, Mansfield helps readers to navigate and understand his beliefs on central tenets of doctrine. Overall, I found the book fair, balanced and easy to read. As a self-proclaimed religious studies nerd, I was disappointed Mansfield didn’t plunge deeper, most of the material was not new to those who have followed Obama’s meteoric rise, even from a distance. It was obvious that he was unable to speak with Obama personally, which I believe would have enhanced the book as well. The book was also short, and there was a good deal of space that talked about the faith of others who loom large in the 2008 election (George W. Bush, Hilary Clinton & John McCain.) However, for those less familiar with Obama and the traditions of faith that he has drawn from, I think it would be a worthwhile read. **I accepted an invitation by Thomas Nelson to review The Faith of Barack Obama in exchange for a free copy. **

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    The Faith of Barack Obama is not about “converting” anyone from one political party to another. It’s more a biography of Barack Obama and an interesting read. Dispelling some of the myths surrounding Barack Obama, it replaces those myths with actuality. It provides background as to who Obama is, his values and beliefs, how he might be as a leader, and what has actually come into making him who he is today. I have read elsewhere that the author, Stephen Mansfield, is not an Obama supporter, and hi The Faith of Barack Obama is not about “converting” anyone from one political party to another. It’s more a biography of Barack Obama and an interesting read. Dispelling some of the myths surrounding Barack Obama, it replaces those myths with actuality. It provides background as to who Obama is, his values and beliefs, how he might be as a leader, and what has actually come into making him who he is today. I have read elsewhere that the author, Stephen Mansfield, is not an Obama supporter, and his preference for a more conservative viewpoint comes through in some instances. However, he has done a good job overall in remaining objective, and I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about this potential President. The book describes the various non-Christian and Christian influences on Barack, including the known controversial influences of his atheist mother, Muslim stepfather, and the black liberation theologian Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr of the Trinity United Church of Christ. But it goes further to explain how these influences have contributed to Barack’s ideology. At one point, the author describes Barack as “unapologetically Christian” as well as “unapologetically liberal,” and much of the text describes these two characteristics coming together in an historic American movement of faith-based politics to the Religious Left. In the chapter entitled “Four Faces of Faith,” Stephen Mansfield contends that the 2008 political arena is dominated with religious forces, including in addition to Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush. The chapter offers a brief background of the faith of each of these political personalities and helps the reader to understand their driving forces. While I felt this chapter long and questioned the reason for devoting that much of the book to discussion other than Barack, I quickly saw the value in that it gives the reader a basis on which to compare the various individuals. To me, The Faith of Barack Obama describes Barack as a Presidential candidate that offers hope and sincerity. Hope for a unified nation, an end to racism and poverty, and ethical and accountable leadership.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James Hecker

    I bought this book sometime back because I had read three other books by this author and had met him and enjoyed his books and the meeting. It was written before the 2008 Presidential election, in fact even before Obama had secured his party's nomination. I finally picked it up almost soley because I knew it would be a quick read. I found the first part of the book the most interesting. It told simply of his family and his upbringing. I found myself in awe of how even in our times, one of such hu I bought this book sometime back because I had read three other books by this author and had met him and enjoyed his books and the meeting. It was written before the 2008 Presidential election, in fact even before Obama had secured his party's nomination. I finally picked it up almost soley because I knew it would be a quick read. I found the first part of the book the most interesting. It told simply of his family and his upbringing. I found myself in awe of how even in our times, one of such humble beginnings could reach the highest office in our country and arguably in the world. The fact that his upbrining may not have been so humbling as protrayed did little to dampen my sense of awe. As it progressed to his faith "conversion" and his affiliation with Trinity United Church of Christ and it's controversial leader Jeremy Wright, there were parts that I found insincere. I think in the author's effort to appeal to both supporters and opponents of Obama, the text felt wishy washy. Parts felt like fluff where other parts I accepted as truth. I do recognize though that my feelings may come from my own political and personal bias. Regardless, the impression I got from this part of the book was that Obama's faith is quite "cafeteria" style. Choosing elements of faith to practice and believe as they matched with his own values, rather than coming to believe and accept as truth a complete set of tenets as they are proposed. Although I liked the previous books by this author that I have read, this one left me feeling as though he published it in a timely manner to capitalize on the moment, and not as much to bring something of lasting value. I don't recommend this book, but I do recommend three others of his. Feel free to ask me about them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I will be posting a review of this book at blog.followingchrist.org. The Faith of Barack Obama Stephen Mansfield. Thomas Nelson, $19.99 (156p) ISBN 978-1-5955-5250-1 Pundits tell us that this years’ Democratic Convention is about introducing Barack Obama to the American electorate. If this is true, then Stephen Mansfield’s The Faith of Barack Obama is required reading. In 156 quick-reading pages Mansfield manages to not only to sketch Obama’s life, but also to place him in context with his politic I will be posting a review of this book at blog.followingchrist.org. The Faith of Barack Obama Stephen Mansfield. Thomas Nelson, $19.99 (156p) ISBN 978-1-5955-5250-1 Pundits tell us that this years’ Democratic Convention is about introducing Barack Obama to the American electorate. If this is true, then Stephen Mansfield’s The Faith of Barack Obama is required reading. In 156 quick-reading pages Mansfield manages to not only to sketch Obama’s life, but also to place him in context with his political contemporaries. We meet a young man who came of age on Chicago’s South side. Nurtured in the faith of the black church, with its unique commingling of Gospel as personal and societal conversion, there emerges a political liberal whose convictions spring not from strictly secular assumptions, but from theological convictions formed in church and community. Mansfield re-introduces us to Jeremiah Wright. He helps those unfamiliar with black theology to place Wright in a stream of the church influenced profoundly by systemic oppression. His writing is charitable and balanced, offering much more than the caricatured preacher of YouTube clips. In depicting Obama to an audience largely unfamiliar with him and distrustful of his politics, Mansfield models charity. More than that, he offers an understanding of this moment as an opportunity for Americans (evangelical and otherwise) to grow in mutual respect and understanding toward a new future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Like another reviewer wrote, this book is very light reading. However, it's good airplane reading which is exactly where I read it yesterday. You can easily finish the book during a cross-country flight. During the election I of course heard the speculation on Obama's faith - was he Muslim? Was he the "Manchurian Candidate"? Was Jeremiah Wright really crazy and did Obama really renounce him? No, no, no & no, apparently. There were some interesting biographical facts about Obama's lineage, his tim Like another reviewer wrote, this book is very light reading. However, it's good airplane reading which is exactly where I read it yesterday. You can easily finish the book during a cross-country flight. During the election I of course heard the speculation on Obama's faith - was he Muslim? Was he the "Manchurian Candidate"? Was Jeremiah Wright really crazy and did Obama really renounce him? No, no, no & no, apparently. There were some interesting biographical facts about Obama's lineage, his time in Indonesia and his faith. I was also saddened to read about the experiments that the US Government did perform on a group of African American men (which Clinton publicly apologized for) and which fomented some of the material in Wright's sermons. A good read if you want to inform yourself on the spiritual side of Obama. As far as that goes, I agree with the author that spiritually, Obama is much more aligned with mainstream America than any candidate we've had a for a long time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary-Ann

    An overly-short, overly-facile overview of Barack Obama's religious upbringing and his relationship to Trinity United Church of Christ, this book would have worked better as a series of magazine articles. If you're looking for something along the line of an in-depth interview with President-elect Obama the way Bill Moyers might conduct one, this book will be a disappointment. Its conclusions are based on already-made-public material. A big portion of this book is given over to the supposed diffe An overly-short, overly-facile overview of Barack Obama's religious upbringing and his relationship to Trinity United Church of Christ, this book would have worked better as a series of magazine articles. If you're looking for something along the line of an in-depth interview with President-elect Obama the way Bill Moyers might conduct one, this book will be a disappointment. Its conclusions are based on already-made-public material. A big portion of this book is given over to the supposed differences among the spiritual outlooks of Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Barack Obama. The book is useful as an introduction to the role religion has played in Obama's life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Not really what I expected. Some good stuff here, but also a lot of stuff that seemed out of place. Large sections on Jeremiah Wright, which were in part relevant to Obama's faith, but not all of it. Seemed like too much Wright info. Also, an inexplicable chapter on the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. (That's one chapter, and there were only 6 chapters in the book.) The info was interesting, but not sure how it related to Obama. This was a good book for what it was, it Not really what I expected. Some good stuff here, but also a lot of stuff that seemed out of place. Large sections on Jeremiah Wright, which were in part relevant to Obama's faith, but not all of it. Seemed like too much Wright info. Also, an inexplicable chapter on the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush. (That's one chapter, and there were only 6 chapters in the book.) The info was interesting, but not sure how it related to Obama. This was a good book for what it was, it just wasn't what I thought it would be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Shinnick

    This book was an interesting piece of cultural analysis. The purpose of the book is not to provide theological or political insight, but cultural. It does that effectively. While the cultural trends of liberal theology are somewhat disturbing, it gives interesting insight into the thoughts of young liberals in this country.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Better off reading Obama's books. I read this because I got it for free but it seemed like a quick attempt to make a lot of money by summarizing Obama's books and speeches. Throw in a short chapter or two about Clinton and McCain and you've got a book. Better off reading Obama's books. I read this because I got it for free but it seemed like a quick attempt to make a lot of money by summarizing Obama's books and speeches. Throw in a short chapter or two about Clinton and McCain and you've got a book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    estar*

    Illuminating book on how Obama came to faith and how his faith informs his life. It doesn't make him out to be perfect (who is). Makes me think more about how faith informs my life, which is always a good endeavor. Illuminating book on how Obama came to faith and how his faith informs his life. It doesn't make him out to be perfect (who is). Makes me think more about how faith informs my life, which is always a good endeavor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Enlightening...with a little about GW Bush, McCain and Hilary Clinton too. Don't always agree...but now have a better sense of where is coming from and why. I did this as an audio book...and it worked. Enlightening...with a little about GW Bush, McCain and Hilary Clinton too. Don't always agree...but now have a better sense of where is coming from and why. I did this as an audio book...and it worked.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Good book but it never mentioned the guns and religion comment during the primaries.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    When faith and politics are intermingled, no benign outcome could be out of it. It is ironical that many of Christian rights vehemently claim that Obama is an Islam with a middle name "Hussein"! When faith and politics are intermingled, no benign outcome could be out of it. It is ironical that many of Christian rights vehemently claim that Obama is an Islam with a middle name "Hussein"!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Whether you are in the Barack Obama boat or not, if you want to know what life experiences have solidified your President's faith, this book tells all. Whether you are in the Barack Obama boat or not, if you want to know what life experiences have solidified your President's faith, this book tells all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aldon Hynes

    See my review at http://www.orient-lodge.com/node/3144 See my review at http://www.orient-lodge.com/node/3144

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