Saturday, December 15, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Red Letters

Coasting through life? Bored? Feeling spiritually anemic or like another left foot? Read this review, click on the book cover and visit this blog.
Warning: conviction awaits. But so does hope.

My Review:

I have turned away from pictures of swollen-bellied starving children.

It's not that I don't care. It's that I care so much.

I've helped emotional basket cases until I couldn't tell where they ended and I began and I had to step away to save my own sanity.

I made eye contact with a two or three-year-old-girl one day. I watched her walk down the hall and smile over her shoulder until she disappeared around the corner. My heart broke for her because her little face was dirty and her adult seemed harsh. I still pray for that child, years later, and my eyes still fill with tears.

My friend just surrendered an eleven-month-old foster baby back to the conditions into which it was born. A mother who has no children though she's given birth eight times. An addict who was clean for four months and therefore earned her right to a child she poisoned with drugs.

To say that Red Letters - a Faith that Bleeds sucker punched me is an understatement. I didn't want to read the statistics of pandemics and poverty. I live so far away. What can I do for those dying in Africa and India when I can't seem to make a difference in my own neighborhood?

But Tom Davis tells the truth without leaving bleakness and hopelessness behind. Little steps towards help and healing are all it takes. After presenting the history and the medical details of AIDS and extreme poverty, Tom then encourages and charges believers in Jesus to offer cups of water and mercy to the "least of these."

I appreciated the practical help options and I appreciated Tom's charge.

If you have someone who is difficult to buy gifts for then buy them this book and make a donation on their behalf.

Red Letters -- with a little work -- could be a great small group/youth group discussion piece. Make Red Letters a building block for a learning project -- try something like looking into the provided medical and historical information regarding AIDS and then making it personal. Assign each person in the group to bring a local story and then as a group do something about them. Or decide as a group to begin a weekly five hour fast and/or one less pop or coffee purchase then pool your money and "adopt" a child or ministry. Take it outside of church. Why not start a "healing" fund at work. Maybe those who are involved could take turns making treats from Fair Trade products, selling them, and sending the proceeds to an organization. There are additional suggestions in the back of the book. Selling products made in a third world country to help supplement income is one of the options.

I'd suggest Red Letters to anyone who is sick and tired of feeling selfish, or who is disgusted with a society made up of millions of people who are out for Number 1.

Warning: This is a heavy, but quick and well-written read, and it will leave readers feeling convicted.

Davis wondered what the world would look like if we all chose to do something to help others. As I watch out my window at the falling snow I can't help but realize that one tiny, unique snowflake falling from the sky, mixing with other unique snowflakes, within hours, even minutes changes the face of a neighborhood. Couldn't one good decision after another mix into a warm blanket of love and charity that can change the world? I think so. If you do too, then start today.