Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christians.

Long, Thomas G. Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christians. Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Thomas G. Long examines the possibilities of daily talk as practice of Christian faith. Written in the backdrop of contemporary culture, where, on the one hand, people find it offensive to hear others publicly talk about God, and on the other, the word “God” is extremely prevalent in public discourse and habits (“God Chatter,” as Long calls it), this book attempts to open up space for authentic God talk in the daily life of believing Christians. Long is careful to note the difference between what he intends in this book and what goes on in the name of “witness” among contemporary Christians; he does not intend the use of religion in speech to be occasion-specific, although he admits that it has a valid place: Long is concerned here more with the location of Christian speech in the daily humdrum of living and how faith comes to expression in it. At the heart of authentic God talk is the experience of worship and adoration, an existence that has been thoroughly touched by God: one can be an authentic witness only to what one has personally experienced. Long deals with several occasions during the course of the day and at the end of the day when authentic talk about God is made possible; he is not prescribing a technique but only that if Christians courageously speak the truth and the whole truth while being sensitive to the occasion at hand, they could talk themselves into being Christians. Long’s illustrations and anecdotes throughout help to exemplify what he means by “talking ourselves into being Christians.”