Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Under the Overpass - Book Review

I read this book a while ago. It was a really challenging story of two young men, Mike and sam who for 6 Months became Homeless people and travelled through american cities. The reason they did this was to test to see how thier faith would hold up in an environment totally different from what they were used to, totally free from any of the comforts that they enjoy in thier middle class lives. What they found was at times very challenging and very thought provoking

The most challenging thing for me was the way in which normal people treated them, they would be ignored at best and at worst have hostel remarks thrown at them and told to leave places in which they were sleeping, as it was seen by normal people as wrong for them to be there, and in some way by being there they would disturb the scenery or the nice comfortable equilibrium that was produced thier.

Another huanting factor was how christians treated them, they were treated with the same contempt or just ignored. Mike tells the story of how he and sam were sitting in a fast food joint, hungry as and they saw a group of people walk in with food. They were a bible study group, they were spending time together and praying, but they never noticed the smelly homeless men or offer them food. The prayer requests to sam and mike that those at the table were making seemed trivial compared to the requests that they had been giving up; "lord please let us get food today", "lord please find us a reasonably comfortable place to sleep etc." While those at the table were giving up prayers that seemed superficial to the two hungy souls, the prayers they were making at times were the difference between life and death. They did though get left a whole lot of food and leftovers, basically a whole meal after the group left though.

There was another case where the outcome was a bit different. One day they decided to sleep outside a church so they would be there in time for the morning service. In the morning they got a rude awakening. They got told by a man that they should leave, and that it was not right to sleep there and that there were other places they were allowed to sleep, but not right there. They left rather upset and disgusted, but latter came back. When they got there the man came back to them sobbing. He said he was sorry for the way he treated them and wanted them to stay on for lunch. He said he should of known better becuase he himself was a director at a homeless shelter.

These two learn alot from thier time as homeless people and offer practical advice about how christians should minister to homeless people.

This book has been a challenging book to me. It made me realise how I treat those that society sees as undesirable, at many times I look away or ignore homeless people. It is very challenging when you realise that Jesus says: "the way you treat the least of these people, that is the way you treat me." At all times we need to be willing to minister and serve anyone that we come across, no matter what seems to be the cost. It made me also realise how our own comfortable middle class life stunts our faith. Do we really know what it means to trust the Lord to provide in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. How would we cope in environments where we are either persecuted, or poor, hungry and need? Does our faith mean that we get out of jail free or does it mean that as christians we will have to cope with hard times, it think it does mean we are going to go hard times, not becuase God doesn't love us but becase he does and he wants us to put our whole lives in his hands.

For more information on the book you can visit

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