under the overpass: a journey of faith on the streets of america by mike yankowski, revised 2010.

[**full disclosure**:*i received this book for free from waterbrook multnomah publishing group in exchange for this review*]

the best thing i can say about this book is that i read the whole thing in about 4 hrs. the narrative really pushes the book along and it was hard to stop (so i didn’t, which is why i finished it to the neglect of my other duties!)

the style was a bit choppy and contrived at times, but i am sure trying to reconstruct conversations and insights after the fact is awkward.

my only gripe with the book is a comment made on page 133, the author comments “isn’t amazing that when we live as we’re called to live and do what we’re commanded, the gospel does get preached- one way or another” the man he is sitting with responds” live as you’re called, and the good news will go forth. i like that”.

this exchange happens after this man tells mike and his traveling companion, who often spends time with and feeds the homeless, that he has never “preached to them. he does qualify this by saying”not by yelling at them and bible thumping”

this gives me pause because of the very popular and mis attributed quote “preach the gospel at all times. if necessary, use words.”

this is a well intentioned thought, but it is nonsense. the gospel must be communicated with words. the way you live, good deeds, etc., can never communicate the person and work of jesus christ- which is what the gospel is.

there are a couple of instances where the author and/or a fellow traveler will share a bit about christ- and i must assume that even more was said than the brief accounts given in the book. i just hate that this one line is included without qualification or context, because i fear it may further fuel the thought that by doing good deeds (which we should do) that we are sharing the gospel. good deeds don’t preach the gospel. they flow out of a heart that has been changed by the gospel. [ see this post for more on this discussion]

that aside, the book was very engaging and challenging. most people probably wont live as a homeless person for 5 months after reading this book, but hopefully those who do read it will treat the homeless differently- for their good, our joy,  and the glory of god.