Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Under the Overpass

Title:  Under the Overpass (A journey of faith on the streets of America)
Author:  Mike Yankoski
(This book was given to me in exchange for a fair, unbiased review)

Ever wonder what it would be like to live homeless?  Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight.  With only a backpack, a sleeping bag, & a guitar, Mike & his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities:  Denver, Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix & San Diego.

For more then 5 months, the pair experience firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression & social rejection - all by their own choice.  They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they'd always known... to discover what it feels like to be homeless in America.

Mike & Sam's story is gritty, challenging, & utterly captivating.  What you encounter in these pages will radicially alter how you see your world - & may even change your life.

First Line:  Real punches arent as sharp & clean as Hollywood makes them out to be.

I have to say - I think EVERY PERSON - EVERY CHRISTIAN - EVERY CHURCH GOER needs to read this book!!!!!  This book has totally changed the way I look at the world, the homeless, the way the church handles people - so many things... this book has opened my eyes & my heart...

The journey of these two men is so see the people that they meet along the way, from people who are struggling to survive, to people who are drug addicts & have mental disorders, to the experiences they have to go through - it will move you... it SHOULD move you... because its the real world.  A world that we dont like to think about & a world we try to ignore....

The most earth shaking moments for me were when they would encounter churches that would turn them away because they were "dirty" or "smelly"... CHURCHES!!!!!!!!!  A Pastor of a church told them they werent "that kind of church" to offer any food to them... wow... the reactions of Christians just made me look in a mirror at myself - how would I react? 

And then, yes, there were some amazing Christians who live their faith!  My favorite story was about a young man the homeless called "The Jesus Guy" - he said he never once preached Jesus - just came down & offered pizzas & conversations once a week... He said, "Isnt it amazing that when we live as we're called & do what we're commanded, the gospel still gets preached" ... Amen

I have a journal of 7 pages of nothing but quotes from this book that rocked me...

From stories of Christians preaching "Fire & Brimstone" to people who are already suffering: "... it seemed they were accusing these broken people of being broken...."

From people kicking out these men out of churches while drug dealers on the street could preach a mighty word of God: "Why do we kick drug users out of the church while quietly over looking those who are ignoring their own different but equally destructive sins?  Why do we reject the loving, self-sacrificing, giving, encouraging Jesus-pursuing drug addict, but recruit the clean, self-interested, gossiping, loveless church goer?"

From youth groups coming  & serving the homeless:  "Something critical is missing in places that care for the broken & needy if the only people there are also broken & needy"

I could go on & on... I'm telling you... if you want a powerful read - that is easy to take in - READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

Last year, for Christmas, I got everyone "The Noticer" .... if I can find this book in time, I will be purchasing this for everyone I know... that's how good it is!!!

If you want to see more about it and/or sample a chapter of the book, go here:

My rating:  5 Skeins (no doubts!!!!)
Last Line:  Walk off the Edge with Him