In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World
by Hugh Hewitt
Thomas Nelson
208 pp.; $17.99

Radio talk-show host and law professor Hugh Hewitt has written a blessedly practical how-to guide for young Christians who want to engage the world—with results.

Much of Hewitt's advice is what you'd expect to hear from a mentor for whom "tradition" isn't a dirty word. "This is what you need to get down: the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the English, and of course, the Americans." He follows up with a list of 14 popular works, including Churchill's four-volume masterpiece, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, that will set the student on the road to fulfilling this requirement.

But Hewitt also advises his readers to "Start and Maintain a Web Log (Blog)," as one of his chapters is titled. Keeping a blog, Hewitt says, not only encourages a lively attention to current events but also challenges the blogger to see those events in a larger historical context—precisely what is missing from typical media accounts of "the news."

Though Hewitt's advice derives largely from his own career trajectory, the bulk of it applies to the non-Christian as well. Go to the best schools you can get into, not necessarily those where your currently held beliefs will be reaffirmed. Network. Encourage the success of others. Know who you owe. Don't backstab.

Nevertheless, Hewitt is speaking specifically to Christians, who he thinks as a whole don't pursue power as they should. Many believers, he writes, "fear the corrupting effects of power on belief, and the temptations that authority brings with it." But there are risks to separatism and quietism as well, as the history of the church amply illustrates.

Indeed, Hewitt argues, ...

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