Sunday, February 07, 2010

Book Review: Have a Little Faith

Have a little faith: a true story is a beautiful, gentle reflection on Mitch Albom's (the author's) spiritual journey as he gets to know two people who become highly significant in his life.

The story begins with Albom being approached by a Jewish rabbi who asks him to write his eulogy believing that, when the time came, he would know what to say. Albom realises that he is going to need to get to know the rabbi if he is going to write an authentic eulogy. So he spends the next eight years visiting the rabbi who becomes very influential in Albom's own spiritual journey.

Over the same period, the author also gets to know a man from a very different world and spiritual faith — a black ex-drug dealer and criminal who had spent years in prison and was now pastoring a Christian church in Detroit that was collapsing around the parishioners' ears due to profound poverty. But Albom is intrigued by this pastor whom he finds it difficult to trust, given his history, but who does so much to help those in need.

As Albom gets to know these two men, he has to move between two very different worlds — Christian/Jewish; African-American/white; poor/rich. As he does so he is "forced" to explore two very different approaches to faith and spirituality.

Have a Little Faith is a wonderful book. As Albom shares his friendships with these two men and meditates on the meaning of each for his own life and spiritual journey, we learn much of what it means to deeply respect a diversity of approaches to living one's life — how to deal with suffering; the nature of heaven; the role of forgiveness; doubt; and the role of faith. As Albom moves through his relationships he comes to see the unity in the diversity of the two faiths.

Ultimately, the title of the book becomes the one thing that Albom learns is at the heart of all faith — the fundamental need that all people have for believing in something greater than themselves. Have a Little Faith is a beautiful story, beautifully written, and deeply moving.

Book details
Albom, Mitch (2009), Have a Little Faith, Hyperion, New York. (Buy it here)