Hope for a Divided Country

On Wednesday of this week, President Trump delivered the State of the Union Address. I am reasonably sure that my response to it, and that of my husband, is far different from many of my friends. We thought the speech was very positive, but we particularly enjoyed some of the uplifting moments during the speech when the President told the incredible stories of others. We were glad we watched it in its entirety. I believe that if you missed it, and would like to watch it, you can find it here: The White House, State of the Union

As you may or may not know, one of the pages on my blog, When The River Won’t Flow, lists some books that I believe are worthy of notice and that I’ve mentioned in my blog. Today’s post is about one such book. It tells the true story of two very different people, from entirely different backgrounds and entirely different life experiences who, oddly enough, not only became friends but best friends. I read this book back in September of 2019, and I find myself referring to it time and again.

The book is: Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country and is written by Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy. It was published in 2018 by Tyndale Momentum of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois.

I could not put this book down, and before I had even finished reading it, I bought a second copy to give as a gift. I had long admired Tim Scott, since ages ago when I first got on his email list while living in South Carolina. Trey Gowdy, I only learned about much later, through his cross-examining of witnesses, and his humble but always spot on and direct, sharp intellect and impeccable character. This book talked about how they became best friends despite all the many things that were different about their families, their lives, their academic and work trajectories, and their histories. Yet they became the kind of friends who were there for each other no matter what.

They tell their own & joint stories – but they also show how their friendship and their Christian faith inspired them to help others to do what they have done. They end their book Unified with the first chapter of a newer book, which I have not yet seen, called: The Friendship Challenge which is described as a six-week course on bringing racial reconciliation to your own community.

The Friendship Challenge: A Six-Week Guide to True Reconciliation–One Friendship at a Time,  and is written by Senator Tim Scott & Congressman Trey Gowdy. 2018, Tyndale Momentum of Tyndale House Publishers.

Once in a while, in recent years, I have had friends throw down some litmus test gauntlet, to test whether this or that person is the kind of person of whom they can approve. On a couple of occasions, the litmus test was so insulting and belittling, that I found myself needing to step back and cool down before I could answer. For example, I once had a friend ask me if I had ever really known someone of another race. Really? All my life, I have – from when I was just a toddler, and my parents had house guests, to the present day.  All my life, I have gone to school with and worked with people of different nationalities and races. I think litmus tests are incredibly silly. Instead of trying to see how superior we are to someone else – how about trying to see what we have in common?

Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy have written a remarkable book. I found Unified exceedingly hard to put down. Some of it is told by one, some by the other, some parts speak of things experienced quite differently by each of the men, yet, the connections are amazingly beautiful and worth reading.

When we build bridges, rather than setting traps, there is little we can’t accomplish together. Please, take some time – and check out these books.

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2 Responses to Hope for a Divided Country

  1. Lester Callif says:

    I understand the base for the book, unifying people. I appreciate the authors wanting to help in this change. It is a heck of a challenge for everybody that may read this book, but well worth the effort. I usually LOVE to chat with people to hear about them and their experiences. Where are we different, why, how does that affect us, how do we deal with the differences, what do the differences really mean. Listen, listen, and listen more. Ask questions to better understand whaat they have said and why. But, listen to the answers before you think about or ask the next question. I do have an issue (or 2) with this book, but they are my issues to work thru. As usual, thank you for bringing something front and center… 🙂

  2. Jan Seibel says:

    Very interesting Ann and thought provoking. I like and admire both of these men and think they represent us well in their work. I was unaware of this book and the guide also sounds like a wonderful instrument for conversation.
    I too, as you, grew up around and with people of many colors and ethnicities. I always remember our high school and how many people of different backgrounds attended there. It was indeed a positive thing. I loved the differences, never thought anything negative about any of them, in fact it seemed “normal”! Today we are so focused on “special groups” that in essence, divide us and actually make us different instead of uniting us into one American body. I’ve been told this happens in the military as well, therefore singling out the differences instead of uniting. It is a shame.
    Thanks for bringing their work to light!

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