Book review: Clear Faith

by Susan Stover


Did Jesus rise bodily from the dead? Yes. No. Maybe. This event, the central tenet of Christianity, is a faith-reinforcer for some and a stumbling block for others. It needn’t be the latter, nor do any of the unbelievable stories of our faith tradition need to get in the way. Imagine a simple faith that looks beyond even the Resurrection, finding the ambiguity in even its message acceptable.

Do you find some of the stories and explanations in the Bible a bit extreme? Take heart. Clear Faith doesn’t need atonement. It doesn’t need an afterlife reward. It doesn’t need an understanding of the Trinity, or even a Jesus any bigger than the one uncovered by Historical Jesus scholars.  Clear Faith is just an unassuming, uncomplicated, uncluttered trust in God.

Which God? Is there even a real God outside our brains? We just don’t know. Stover insists that believing in God is a personal choice, and explains: “To me, God is appropriately regarded as a mystery. Hope. Infinite possibility. Compassion—oneness with all that is. Pure, unlimited surrounding LOVE. God surrounds and dwells within us, and I choose to cherish that belief and let it shape my way of living and being.”

Don’t buy this book looking for originality or deep, theological probing. It’s short and sweet, to the point, and reliant upon the deeper research of other scholars. Stover liberally quotes the writings of Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, and Robin R. Meyers, so if your favorite Liberal Christian is among this list, you’re in good hands.

This book will resonate with many, many people. It’s possible that some will find it comforting to read, simply to reinforce that they are not alone in their “spiritual-but-not-religious” mindset, but in my opinion the book’s greatest value is as a way for progressive/liberal/SBNR Christians to share their journey with their conservative family. Stover’s approach is not at all heavy-handed but gentle and explanatory, so it’s a simple way of communicating what so many of us feel.


  1. Keeping the conversation going wherever we stand… I think I’d like this.

    By the way–just saw you’re advertizing John’s Gospel as Coming Soon. Congratulations!

  2. Thanks, Sheila! As a reviewer, if you’d like a galley copy, I’d love to add you to the list.

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