In the beginning, there was a question. "Will you do my Eulogy?"
That is where an eight year journey of faith began for Mitch Albom, a journey that would culminate in the book Have a Little Faith . When a rabbi from his childhood synagogue asked that he deliver the older man's eulogy, Albom began visiting Rabbi Albert Lewis in order to learn more about him. At the same time, he met another, very different religious leader. Pastor Henry Covington of the I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministry was an former drug dealer and ex-convict shepherding his congregation out of a decrepit church in downtown Detroit. It was hard for Albom to fit Henry into his image of what a man of God should be.
The truth was, while I tried to be a charitable man, I still drew mental lines between "my" side and the "other" side - whether cultural, ethnic, or religious. I had been taught, as many of us are, that charity begins at home, and helping your own kind should come first. But who was my "own kind"?
As Albom came to know these two very different men, he began to realize that what they had in common transcended their differences. Both men seemed to live the idea that "faith is doing, you are how you act, not how you believe." And that idea led him to ask another question, "What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together?" That is a central theme in the book, and it challenged the author's own core beliefs.
In the video below, Mitch Albom reads an excerpt from his book and talks about what inspired him to write it.
This book lacks the fluid style and poignancy of Albom's earlier book Tuesdays With Morrie. However, it is touches on issues of faith and community that have great relevance in modern society and are too often ignored. Moving between two very different religious worlds, Albom came to realize that the basic, heartfelt desires of all people are what can unite us. "When the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love and a peaceful heart."
We'll be talking about this book at the next Thursday night book group.
Join the discussion on Thursday, December 9 from 7:30 to 8:30 PM in the Rotary Heritage Room on the 3rd floor.
Check out more by Mitch Albom here at DPPL:
Tuesdays With Morrie
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
For One More Day