Friday, March 6, 2015

What Should I Read Now?

We all have this question, right?  I've finished this book, now it's time to pick a new book from my Want to Read list.  Whether you list is a stack of books near your favorite reading chair, your carousel on Kindle, a list on GoodReads or all of the above, we probably have books to choose from.  I recently did a Google search of 'what to read next' and among the many links provided I found a list from GoodReads of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.  This list was voted on by readers and compiled on the site for us to chose from!  I think I'm going to try it.  I've added the list as of 3/6/15 in a list form on my main page and I hope to mark them off one at a time over the next couple years.  I still have the task of choosing which ones to read first!  I think I'll read the age appropriate books, like Chronicles of Narnia, with Princess and start with a few of the classics I probably should have read by now.  Go over the list yourself!  Give me your input!  I'd love to hear your votes, you may help me chose my next review!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America by Mike Yankoski

This year I decided Lent would be a good time for me to renew my mind.  Generally I read books about zombies and vampires, books that are so gruesome that I would never watch the movie as it would make me have nightmares.  I'm not sure why the book is easier, maybe my imagination has an Off switch when it comes to this sort of thing.  Who knows, but for the season of Lent I am committed to reading more wholesome books and books that show God's love.  I've also been following a devotional plan designed for Lent on my Bible app. 

A friend suggested I read Under the Overpass, a story of 2 guys, Mike and Sam,  who chose to live on the streets of America with the homeless.  I thought this was a moving story that shows both God's love in the world and the hypocritical nature of a lot of 'Christians'.

There were times in this journey where these guys were able to see God at work in the homeless communities.  One story that made an impact on me was of Rings, a 'kindhearted old chain smoker who lived in the cab of his truck'.  Rings would use what tiny check he got each month to serve a feast to other homeless people from a grill he carried in the back of his truck/home.  Rings says, "I've been told by God to feed the homeless in this town. Heck, I'm homeless and He feeds me, so I feed others." And that is just what he does.  Rings is a ray of light in an otherwise grimy part of San Diego.

Another Christian Mike and Sam meet, Doug, is a recovering drug addict and still heavy drinker who really wants to get clean.  In a discussion they have about Doug and how much the alcoholism distresses Doug because he knows it's wrong and knows he should stop.  Sam talks about how he wishes his own sins pained him as much as the alcohol pains Doug.  Mike's response should stick with us all, "Would you do anything about it?"  Think about this with me.  I know my eating habits aren't healthy.  I know they will likely cause disease in my body if I don't get it under control.  What have I done about it?  Talked.  I make plans, I decide I'm going to workout and eat right.  Heck, I even buy fruit and veg and still don't stop the habits that are causing the problems.  Do you drink more than you should?  Do you eat more than you should?  Do you pray or do bible study like you say you should?  Do you cuss more than you like?  What is your sin?  Does it pain you?  What are you going to do about it?

There were several instances where Mike and Sam were rejected by Christians!  From the oblivious young guys who said they'd pray for Mike's hurt foot and broken shoe rather than give him a pair of shoes and a bandage to the security officer at another church who threw them off church grounds because they were going to be having a church luncheon and didn't want the stinky homeless guys hanging around.  Jesus said love God with all your heart and all you strength and all your mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself.  These are the greatest of commandments yet there are churches rejecting the poor and the homeless.  Think on that one.

There were times when people were good to them, too.  The little old lady who served them at the church pot luck.  The folks who bought meals and had simple conversations with them.  People who treated them like human beings were rare, but when it happened it was enough to brighten their day.  My prayer after reading this book is for God to open my eyes to places where I can be a blessing to someone else.  Even if you aren't a Christian, I would recommend this book.  Under the Overpass shows the homeless community as people.  Individual people with needs.  Need of food, need of shelter, need of companionship.  The need to be treated as people and not as trash discarded and shunned.

What books have you read that shine a light on areas of the world we tend to ignore?