No one shapes our heritage or affects our legacy like our mother. Most people know Leonard Sweet, one of the world’s most influential evangelicals, as a sharp cultural critic who helps us see how to get in front of the future rather than be bowled over by it. One of his greatest influences was his mother, a groundbreaking (and sometimes controversial) minister who defied convention while honoring tradition. In this exceptionally personal work, Len Sweet opens his mother’s memory box, and in the process he helps us all embrace the future with confidence while tethering us to a faith that transcends time. Through Len’s experience, we all will better understand and process how our own heritage affects our legacy.
An ideal resource for mothers, adult children, and families seeking resources to set up their kids to flourish.
Len Sweet knows the power of the phrase, “Once upon a time . . .” When people hear these words they awake from their slumber, come to the edge of their seats, tuck the palms of their hands under their chins, and listen. This book did that for me. I was drawn into the wonderful, unique story of Len’s mother and family without the expectation of there being anything in it for me. Boy was I wrong.
by Randyu Frezee, author of The Heart of the Story
Leonard Sweet has long been one of my favorite people, and now I know why. Mabel Boggs Sweet. Mother Tongue, a spoken portrait of his mother—a woman of simple faith met with the strength, resiliency, and closeness to nature her mountain upbringing provided—is beautifully written, resounding with love and gratitude.
by Lisa Samson, Novelist and artist
If anyone ever wondered about the sacred and sacrificial art of Christian mothering joined with the divine calling to put Christ first in all things, meet Mabel Boggs Sweet. The stark stories of her life as a mother, shunned and poor, are contrasts to her extraordinary ability to live her life all for Christ. Thank you, Len Sweet, for telling us about your mother. She surely did cast a long shadow, and now we can sit in it, be encouraged, and learn.
by MaryKate Morse, George Fox Evangelical Seminary
A treasure trove of life lessons and secrets that Len’s mom left behind for him and his brothers (and now you and me) as a legacy to grow on. Len’s sheer brilliance in making applications of the metaphors and meaning behind his mom’s legacy in relation to the gospel and the history of the church enables him to seamlessly lace the two together in a rich and luxurious feast at Christ’s table. Enjoy the banquet!
by Mark J. Chironna, Bishop of Church on the Living Edge
Had I known Mabel Boggs Sweet in the flesh, I would have been in awe of her. Even on the page, she stuns me. Gritty and outspoken, she was a gifted preacher and a frustrated feminist. Her favorite teacher was the Bible, and yet she firmly believed everyone had something to teach her. While Jesus was the unchanging center of her life, her faith was strong enough to embrace mystery. A gorgeous tribute to her, Mother Tongue is both moving and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
by Lynne Hybels, author of Nice Girls Don't Change the World
A treasure of metaphor and story from the voice of a mother who birthed and raised a prolific theologian. You can hear her voice, see her fire, and appreciate the passion and power she had to love boldly and stand in the face of great odds. You will want to sit at the feet of this woman.
by Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, District superintendent, United Methodist Church