Raised Right by Alisa Harris

Raised Right is a fantastic look at what it’s like to be raised inside a specific culture in America. Alisa Harris was a young girl raised in a conservative Christian home, as many Americans are (present company included). This is a book about the way she came to know herself through her interaction with that belief system. It’s an honest, open – almost journal – of her experience in coming to understand who she truly is. Her story really is the same one that we all go through, trying to figure out who we are. She just seems to live her’s with a lot of passion.

Through a series of stories and anecdotes from her life, Alisa easily kept my attention. Sure, the chapters are short and broken up into smaller sections – for those of us who have a hard time staying with them long chapters (you know, the one’s over 10 pages) – but they are also deeply powerful. Her level of open reflection on being a child warrior along the frontlines of the “culture wars” is quite revealing as to her true character and transformation through her process of personal development.

Her point is never to tear down the culture that she came from, but rather to illustrate how someone can dissect their faith from their politics. The two seem to be highly intertwined in today’s culture, and she was raised to not necessarily see the difference between the two. At some point she starts to see the world as more than just a simple “black and white” experience, and is therefore exposed to all sorts of shades of ROYGBIV (For those  sciences geeks in our midst. You know who you are.) Yes, she starts out as a fairly involved Right-wing political advocate – from picketing abortion clinics and going to GOP rallies. (At one point she is “this close” to shaking President George W. Bush’s hand.) However, she doesn’t simply rebel from it for the sake of rebelling. She starts to wonder – as Malcolm Gladwell and TEDTalks would ask us to do – what she believed and why. And she never breaks away from her faith, or her belief that abortion is wrong. Rather, she comes to a point where she acknowledges that she doesn’t have to hate someone with different beliefs.

We can differ in our beliefs, but hatred or rage towards each other only leads to more hatred. And it separates us from the actual task of making the world better. Even though she does eventually disagree with some of her parent’s views, she holds on to the foundation that they instilled in her. That foundation led her:

1) to care

2) to love

3) to take heart

Sounds like a pretty good foundation if you ask me – and since you probably came here by mistake I’ll assume that you didn’t ask me, so it’s a freebie. You’re welcome.

I would highly recommend reading this book. Her stories are short, thought-provoking, and actually kind of action-packed. It’s a really easy read, but it also gets them little mice in your head spinning around a bit. In fact, her level of dedication to whatever she’s doing is exhaustingly impressive. Harris makes me feel like I should go out and try to make the world a better place. Read it, and maybe you’ll just feel the same way.

 

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”

 

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