A Leap Year Book Review

I was excited when I saw that you and I get to chat on this rare February 29th. A day that feels like a gift as the calendar catches up with the small moments of the last four years.

What, I wondered, would be an appropriate way for us to let the moments of the past catch up with us? How could be slow down enough to notice where we are?

And then it hit me, share with the book I’m currently in the middle of listening to. A week or so ago a friend texted me that she was listening to Karen Swallow Prior’s The Evangelical Imagination: How Stories, Images, and Metaphors Created a Culture in Crisis and wondered if I’d read it.

I hadn’t, and promptly looked to see if it was available on the Hoopla app. It was, both in ebook and audio format.

The Evangelical Imagination seems the perfect Leap Year book recommendation for three reasons:

1.  Whether you are an Evangelical or hate (hate, hate) the term, you’ll find yourself going, “I didn’t know that!” So much of what we see in religious experience and expression have roots in the Victorian age. I vacillate between being encouraged that our time is not that different than the past and saddened that our time is … not that different than the past. But through this book I am more aware of where Evangelicalism has come from and how it got to where we it is.

2. History is so interesting! If you’ve ever wondered how Christian bookstores and some of the art came to be, you’re gonna be surprised.

3. The breadth of topics covered that make up, in this case, Evangelicalism is a bit jarring. Currently, what is the main area that Evangelicalism is associated with? I don’t even have to answer because I can hear the choral response of everyone reading this: politics. Having listened to this book, I feel broader, more holistic as a person.

Since most reading this are Christians, you’ll understand yourself and either why you do or view things as you practice your faith. Or understand why you did not do something. The chapter on the history (and evolution) of the “testimony” was one where I realized why, personally, I have always been out of step with the Evangelical way of “give a testimony.” But before this book, I couldn’t have put words to it. Now I can.

Leap year is a slightly unexpected invitation to stop, and pay attention to the waters we’re all swimming, allowing for little bits of culture to catch up to our conscious awareness.

If you’ve always been a church history fan, you’re going to love this book.

If you’ve thrown your hands up whenever you hear the word, “evangelical”, you’re going to be surprised by this book.

If you’re looking for a fellow traveler who looks back to help us all move forward, this book is for you.

Get The Evangelical Imagination by Karen Swallow Prior.

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Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Equipper of cross-cultural worker. Amy is the founder of Global Trellis, co-founder of Velvet Ashes, hosts reading challenges at The Messy Middle, and is the author of five books (Looming TransitionsLove, AmyEnjoying NewslettersGetting Started, and Connected.)

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