Have a Little Faith: Book Review
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Mitch Albom has a way of helping you walk a mile in his shoes as he learns to walk a few miles in someone else’s shoes. His new book, Have a Little Faith, is a soft and caring tale that intertwines his rabbi’s last request and the need of an inner-city mission. The book focuses on two men, one of which is a rabbi and the other is an African American pastor. However, the true heart of this book is Albom’s own walk with his faith.
Part one of this tale begins when Albom’s childhood rabbi asks him to do his eulogy when he dies. Albom accepts and then begins to meet more regularly with his singing rabbi to get to know him more. The second tale deals with Albom’s encounters with an inner-city pastor who runs a Detroit mission with a hole in its roof. These encounters soon cause Albom to confront his own childhood Jewish faith and the Christian faith of a former convict.
Albom chronicles how he often felt uncomfortable when people make their faith apart of their public persona.
“Over time, I honed a cynical edge toward overt religion. People who seemed too wild-eyed with the Holy Spirit scared me. And the pious hypocrisy I witnessed in politics and sports--congressman going from mistress to church services, football coaches breaking the rules, then kneeling for a team prayer--only made things worse.” (pg. 13)
Even though Albom was uncomfortable with "overt religion" he also found godlessness just as lacking.
“Personally, I always wondered about authors and celebrities who loudly declared there was no God. It was usually when they were healthy and popular and being listened to by crowds. What happens, I wondered, in the quiet moments before death? By then they have lost the stage, the world moved on. If suddenly, in their last gasping moments…they changed their minds about God, who would know?” (pg. 79-80)
This book is refreshingly simple. It does not try to overwhelm you with elaborate symbolism or shallow religious fluff. It simply tells the story of three men. One Jewish rabbi who is on the verge of death; a New York criminal who got a second chance and now is a pastor; and a bestselling author who is captivated by two men of different faiths.
Have a Little Faith is not a book that tries to lead you to a final conclusion. It is a odyssey that highlights one man’s reflection on his own faith while he deals with preconceptions and misgivings about another one. Albom masterfully handles class, religious, and economical differences, as well as, many other issues that we face in our everyday lives without passing final judgment. The book is a journey, but it is up to the reader as to where the final destination ends.
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