Living Faith

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Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 275

In LIVING FAITH former president Jimmy Carter shares the beliefs and experiences that have shaped his thought and sustained him during times of struggle and disappointment. Originally intended to be a collection of Bible lessons—Carter has taught sunday school throughout his adult life—the book became a much more personal account of Carter’s spiritual growth through seventy years of personal and public life, from his early childhood in a close-knit religious family and community through his adult years and various career changes (naval officer, farmer, businessman, political leader, college professor, and volunteer activist) when the teachings he absorbed from his parents became his own dynamic “living faith.”

Carter brings numerous biblical texts to bear on his life experiences. As he connects his religious beliefs with events in his life—the death of his father; his decision to resign a promising naval career; his work to develop his business and community and to bring about racial integration; his presidency; his defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980; his work with Habitat for Humanity, an international organization devoted to building homes for the needy; and his work with the Carter Center in Atlanta and diplomatic missions to North Korea and Haiti—Carter believes that the issues he deals with are bigger than his own spiritual journey. Everyone needs an unshakable foundation on which to build his life.

Carter’s tributes to ordinary people he has drawn strength from, his open description of conflicts in his personal relationships, particularly with his wife Rosalynn and with his son, and his discussion of his own failings and imperfections make this an unusual and altogether refreshing encounter with a public figure.

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