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Malcolm Gladwell Returns to Faith With New Book

Author Malcolm Gladwell told Religion News that while he was writing his newest book, David and Goliath:  Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, he found himself re-exploring his faith history after drifting away from his Mennonite roots. Gladwell, who is more well-known for his books on social science research, told RNS that Jesus perfectly illustrates the point of the new book, and when asked if he would call himself a Christian, he answered that he would.

“I had drifted away a little bit,” Gladwell said of his faith. “This book has brought me back into the fold. I was so incredibly struck in writing these stories by the incredible power faith had in people’s lives, it has made a profound impact on me in my belief. That’s been the completely unexpected effect of writing this book. I am in the process of rediscovering my own faith again.”

Gladwell also said his renewed faith has caused him to ask “different kinds of questions” in his writing. “This book differs from past books because it’s less about looking at things at a high, theoretical level — what are the principles that govern the way we behave or the way success happens. This book is much more concerned with individuals and the choices they make. Going in that direction makes sense if you’re taking religious perspectives much more seriously.”

When asked where Jesus fits into his narrative, Gladwell answered, “Here is one of the most revolutionary figures in history. He comes from the humblest of beginnings. He never held elected office. He never had an army at his disposal. He never got rich; he had nothing that we would associate with power and advantage. Nonetheless, what does he accomplish? An unfathomable amount. He is almost the perfect illustration of this idea that you have to look in the heart to know what someone’s capable of. … Here I was writing about people of extraordinary circumstances and it slowly dawned on me that I can have that, too.”

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.