Parker J. Palmer (author of Let Your Life Speak, A Hidden Wholeness, and The Courage to Teach) -- "This is a remarkable book about the lives of two remarkable men. One is John R. Rice, editor of The Sword of the Lord newspaper, whose life's work was a taproot of American fundamentalism. The other is Rice's grandson, Andy Himes, whose journey took him from fundamentalism through Maoism to Microsoft, bringing him finally to a place where he could write candidly and compassionately about a man and a movement we must understand if we want to understand America. A brilliant mix of social analysis and high drama (in which people like Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones, Jr., play supporting roles), the book will make you wince sometimes and at other times open your eyes, gifting you with the hard-won insight that allowed its author to recount this personal and historical tale."
Note from the Author
Christian fundamentalism in America emerged a century ago, the faith of generations of immigrants who had experienced war and revolution, removal and upheaval, and in response to the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Scots-Irish who settled the South inherited both an evangelical legacy of abolitionism and social reform on the one hand, and responsibility for the painful and destructive consequences of human slavery on the other.
I come from a long line (that's me in 1951 at center bottom in the photo at left) of fundamentalist preachers -- including my dad, my brother, many uncles and cousins, my granddad, John R. Rice, the dean of American fundamentalists for decades until his death in 1980 -- and my great-granddad Will Rice -- who was a Baptist preacher, Texas State Senator, and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
This book brings the complicated and contradictory story of fundamentalism to life through the generations of the Rice family -- who were immigrants, soldiers, farmers, slaveowners, refugees, and preachers -- as well as the story of my own life.
In this book, I've brought it all together in a work of history, memoir, and personal testimony about the shape of faith and an image of God that can help us transform ourselves and change the world. I hope you'll join me in the conversation!