Going Rogue

Bob Kellemen reviews Sarah Palin’s autobiography:

Going Rogue: An American Life

 

. . . What About Christ?

Many may be surprised where I do find fault with Going Rouge.

Where is Christ in Going Rogue?

I’m not questioning Sarah Palin’s personal Christian faith in Christ. Nor am I questioning her religious values. Neither am I denigrating her Christian lifestyle. She prays. She depends upon God. She attends church. She loves her husband and family. She lives out her pro-life beliefs. Etc., etc., etc.

I also realize that Going Rogue is primarily a political autobiography, not a religious one. I understand that Palin’s purpose was not to make converts. Still, Sarah Palin is not afraid, throughout Going Rogue, to speak her mind and to share her heart. In fact, she’s not afraid to talk about her relationship to God.

All that said, I ask again, “Where is Christ in Going Rogue?”

My antennae first went up when I read Palin’s two explicit descriptions of what Evangelicals might call “conversion.” The first, on page 22, describes her personal conversion.

“I made the conscious decision that summer to put my life in my Creator’s hands and trust Him as I sought my life’s path.”

The second, on the last page of her book (page 413), involves what some might describe as an “altar call.”

“And I do know there is a God. My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over . . . then see what He will do and how He will get you through. Test Him on this. You’ll see there’s no such thing as coincidence. I’m thankful for His majestic creation called Alaska, which has given me my home, and for His touch on America, which has given us all so many opportunities. By His grace, an American life is an extraordinary life.”

What’s missing?

Christ is missing.

Sin is missing. Confession of guilt before a holy God is missing. Salvation is missing.

My antennae alerted, it then dawned on me that I didn’t remember hearing any Christian salvation concepts anywhere in Going Rogue. Perhaps my memory was bad, especially since I wasn’t consciously looking for these concepts in a political autobiography.

So I performed an Amazon “Search Inside” the book.

How many times in her 413 pages does Sarah Palin mention Christ? Zero.

Christian? Zero.

Christianity? Zero.

Salvation? Zero.

Sin? Twice. However, both are said sarcastically about journalistic sins of omission. So, sin? Zero.

Grace? A dozen times. However, not once in the context, or with the meaning of, “saving grace.” So, saving grace? Zero.

Evangelical? Twice. Once about her mother being invited to an Evangelical church, and once about Sarah being called a “book-burning Evangelical extremist.”

Lord? Eleven times. Several in Old Testament quotes. Several in prayers, such as “Dear Lord.” Several in slang, such as, “Dear lord, you call that a good interview?” Never in the Evangelical sense of Christ as Lord.

Church? Eleven times.

God? Forty-two times.

If Palin had never shared her conversion experience (page 22), or never broached the topic of encouraging her readers to do what she did many years ago (page 413), then I would have been a little less concerned. I could say, “It’s a political memoir, that’s why Christ is missing.”

However, having addressed the topic, plus having mentioned God 42 times, and then leaving Christ, sin, and salvation totally out of all 413 pages… I have to ask, “Where is Christ in Going Rogue?” “Why was Christ omitted from Going Rogue?”

What to make of this? Again, I’m not questioning Sarah Palin’s Christian faith or Christian life.

However, I am raising the important question of how she chose to describe her conversion and her Christian faith in her autobiography, where on so many other personal issues she’s so unafraid to speak her mind boldly.

Honestly, it’s scary. Scary because it’s illustrative of our post-modern conception of religious faith.

It’s religion lite. It’s conversion without Christ. It’s salvation without the cross. It’s redemption without sin and guilt.

It’s “AA Faith”: putting our hands in the hands of an anonymous, generic “Higher Power.”

If the “Religious Right” is behind Sarah Palin, it had better not be because of her depiction of salvation from sin by grace through faith in Christ alone. At least not on the basis of 413 pages of autobiographical narrative where she mentions Christ zero times, where she never once mentions sin and salvation from sin.

Yes, unfortunately, it is a typical American life. We pray to God in the hard times. We mention God. But we eschew explicit dependence upon Christ as our only Savior from sin by grace through faith.

A Political Autobiography

As a political autobiography, Going Rogue: An American Life is an excellent read. If you want Sarah Palin’s defense of Sarah Palin’s political life (which is what every political autobiography offers), and you want it in a tell-all, fast-paced, well-crafted book, then do what 2.5 million people have done already—buy Going Rogue.

However, if you want a personal autobiography (of someone who claims to be a spokesperson for the Evangelical Right) that at least provides a snippet of content about conversion to Christ from sin by faith—then Going Rogue will disappoint. Going Rogue, while it is a defense of Sarah Palin’s life and politics, is not a defense of Christ’s saving life, death, burial, and resurrection for our sin. Which, in my conviction, is not only America’s only hope, but the only hope of the world

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