Keeping the faith

faithReview by Tim Lam

Book | Faith: Embracing Life in All Its Uncertainty | Tim Costello

As the former CEO of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello has witnessed poverty and injustice in some of the most conflict-prone nations in the world.

In his latest book, Faith: Embracing life in all its uncertainty, the renowned Baptist minister and social justice advocate explores the role of faith in the world today. It covers a broad range of global topics, from refugees to climate change to religious extremism.

In this collection of short essays on spirituality and politics, Costello advocates an inclusive Christianity that is personal without being individualistic. He presents a largely progressive stance on social justice issues, although he stays silent on more contentious topics such as euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

While Costello openly expresses the beauty of God, he is equally vocal in condemning the atrocities committed in the name of religion.

He confesses he is often “fed up with faith” and the “narrow, bigoted, judgmental” discourses propagated by those who claim to represent all Christians. He expresses frustration with world leaders who exploit religion for political purposes, particularly those who use religious nationalism to exclude minority groups.

Faith is not just concerned with issues on a global scale. Drawing on the experiences and conversations that shaped his spirituality, Costello illustrates the power of faith in overcoming daily adversity.

Like many people of faith, Costello wrestles with doubt and uncertainty on his faith journey. In this memoir, he details his struggles coming to terms with the suicide of a close friend and his inability to comprehend why a benevolent God allows natural disasters to take the lives of innocent people.

While the book appeals to a predominantly Christian audience, Faith is also sensitive to those of other faiths or no faith. Costello invites atheists to see faith through a different lens and explains why he believes spirituality and secularism can complement each other in the modern world.

Faith is a call for the global community to rediscover its shared humanity and bridge the religious and cultural divides that often lead to war and poverty.

Faith was shortlisted for the 2017 SparkLit Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

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