It will be interesting to see how the secular media respond to the new book The Faith of George W. Bush when it comes out next month. More than any other presidency in recent memory, Bush's has been "faith-based," yet the media often have trouble knowing how to cover the faith aspect.
For those of us who are believers, there is something that rings true about the conversion experience described in the excerpt from the Bush book we've featured in this issue. It's more than just knowing "one of us" is in the White House. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, you have a sense there is something real about our president's faith and how it motivates him to lead the country.
When Bush was running for president he gave J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, an opportunity to interview him. The headline for Grady's article in November 2000 became prophetic. We called it "The Faith of George W. Bush."
Little did we know how close the presidential election would be or how soon our country would be embroiled in a war against terrorism. Little did we expect this man--who wasn't considered a success until he was nearly 40 and was labeled by many an intellectual lightweight--to become a leader of almost Churchillian proportions.
The key to his success? In a word, faith. It was his faith that transformed him from the mediocre son of a famous father and grandfather into what many are already considering a great president.
That's the topic of this book. I believe the author, Stephen Mansfield, did a masterful job in not only explaining where Bush came from but also identifying his spiritual roots and telling his spiritual odyssey in a way that is believable to the nonbeliever.
We didn't want to publish a book that, like so many others, merely preaches to the choir. We wanted to get out the message to the wider market--not to preach, but to show what can happen to a man when his life is touched by Christ and he believes God has called him to the presidency because, in his words, "My country is going to need me."
Our desire to reach nonbelievers is the reason we teamed up with Penguin Group (USA), the second-largest book publisher in the world, to publish this book. Our publishing house--Charisma House--is promoting it in the Christian products market. Penguin is pushing it in the secular arena.
The books are identical. And the message, while not written in Christianese, is very clear. At one point, the narrative even includes the plan of salvation as it was presented to Bush in 1984.
So how will the secular media respond? Usually they ignore books on conversion or spiritual experience. But it's hard to ignore the spiritual journey of the president of the United States--especially when he has been so open about his faith. I suppose that's why some in the media have started writing about it--even if what they say is critical. Recent articles in Newsweek, Vanity Fair and Gentlemen's Quarterly have taken a skeptical look at the Christian experience of the president.
Nevertheless, their focusing on it has perhaps made it acceptable to write about faith. Early indications are there is a great deal of interest in this book, and we expect to get a lot of publicity and have a lot of books in the marketplace.
But we could use your help. First, you can pray. Pray that what God has done in George W. Bush's life will be a witness to the entire world.
We didn't write the book to proselytize or convert anyone. But it's my belief that when confronted with genuine Christianity--the kind C.S. Lewis called "mere Christianity"--people do notice and are touched.
The Faith of George W. Bush makes it clear that Bush is not perfect and that his walk as a Christian leaves much to be desired. But I personally believe he's the real deal in terms of his walk with Christ. Hopefully you'll want to buy a copy and come to your own conclusion.
This book wasn't written just to make money for the author or publisher. It was written to spread a message about a life that has been changed and a man who is affecting history as a result. Please join with us in getting the message out to those who desperately need to hear it.
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.
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