Thursday, March 4, 2010

Have a little Faith

I picked up the first Mitch Albom a few years back when I saw it on Oprah. I loved 'Tuesdays with Morrie' for its simplicity and its core message. The book opened up a few windows for me and got me thinking that its sometimes worthwhile to slow down.

I then read his 'Five people you meet in heaven' which I didn't quite enjoy and so I stopped reading his books. But when I saw that his latest book 'Have a Little Faith' is a return to non-fiction I had to pick it up.

This book reminds me very much of his 'Tuesdays with Morrie' and he regularly references his meeting with Morrie in this book as well. 'Have a little faith' will take you on a journey that you may not want to go on. It raises some pertinent questions on your faith and also tries to answer them through the perspective of two believers of completely different faiths.

The book starts with Mitch's rabbi requesting him to write his eulogy. This gets Mitch intrigued since he has hidden his faith and run away from it. Mitch approaches the 'problem' in the same manner as he would write a book - he starts to research the subject through regular meetings. In his own words Mitch says that he wants to know the person rather than the rabbi that everyone knows. It is these conversations that slowly get Mitch to understand his own faith and start believing again. At the other end, as part of his charity that helps the homeless camps, he comes across a pastor of a crumbling derelict church in the poorest center of the city who still sticks to his faith and believes that the Lord does everything for a reason. And therein lies the crux of this book.

Through the eyes of a successful community building Jewish rabbi and a Christian pastor of a derelict church with a past so dark that you wonder how he became a man-of-God, Mitch Albom brings to fore some of the underlying question on faith and belief in God. How do you cope with the loss of a child? What do you do in tough times?Is it OK to blame God? If there is a God why is there so much sadness and violence? If none of the religions preach violence then why are most wars fought on religion? Suffice to say some of the conversations will open your mind as well.

Mitch Albom's writing also keeps you engaged. As he begins the story of his meetings with Rabbi Albert Lewis to understand him as a man, he peppers it with nuggets on the past life of Henry Covington (a criminal, a drug dealer, a jailbird) and his journey to becoming a pastor. While the first half is more about The Reb, the second half dwells more on Pastor Henry and his struggle to keep his church operational. The faith of people shines through in instances where Henry's church has no electricity in the middle of a harsh winter.

As you read this book you realise that faith is not something connected to your God. Faith is universal and stems from your belief.

Read it and it might open some windows for you.

I rate it 3.5/5.

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