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Monday, February 28, 2011

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

Mike and Sam decided to leave their cozy college dorms to live a life of homelessness for five months. They traveled to five cities using the money the got panhandling. They slept under overpasses, in shelters, in parks, and always near the feces and urine left by the homeless community. They were shunned by Christian after Christian and accepted by a few. Praying for their daily bread took on a whole new meaning, as did their faith.

This book wrenched my gut. It made the humanity of these people seem desperately real to me. We like to categorize them and refuse to help because they are just going to buy drugs with our money anyway. That does not excuse us from kindness. Most of the people on the street suffer from deep mental illness and addiction. There is little to no hope of recovery. They are surrounded constantly by people just like them. There is little to hope for. We would all like to think that they could get a job and be just fine. The truth of the matter is that many of them have not attained the simple life skills to do this. Most come from abusive homes and have never had much if any help. These are things we cannot understand from our comfortable judgmental perch.

We must not deny basic kindness to the most needy. We must no longer avert our gaze from the eyes that are longing to find hope. Give them food. Take them to eat. Look at them with dignity and grace. Be kind. What is God calling you to do with this?

This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for review.

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