Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review: Jesus Freak by Sara Miles

I'm not sure what to make of Sara Miles. She reminds me of the Old Testament prophets who proclaim the Word of God but no one likes it! She is one of those authors who cuts right to the chase, telling the truth and not caring what you think about it since the truth is the truth is the truth. If you want to be challenged, inspired, and enlightened then I recommend you pick up Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, and Raising the Dead and read it.

Jesus Freak is a follow up to her previous book Take This Bread which is a series of reflections of her adult conversion to Christianity and starting a soup kitchen at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Fransisco. Her stories of being a "newbie" in the faith combined with the colorful people and personalities whom she encounters is a hoot.

Sara's main theme that is woven throughout both books is that the basic gospel commands of love, forgiveness, justice, mercy, and kindness is for ALL OF US and we are all responsible for one another. Jesus Freak is organized into six chapters

Come and See
Raising the Dead
Follow Me

The book is peppered with Sara's daily encounters with the poor and destitute, with mentally ill street people, single mothers, widows, and orphans. She encounters people of all colors and races and backgrounds, Russians, Koreans, Mexican, black, white, straight, gay, believers, and non believers alike. Some people are nice and kind and others are not. Some are downright obnoxious and irritable. Yet Sara reminds us that they are all God's children and whether we like it or not these are the ones whom Jesus has given us to take care of while we are on this earth. While reading Jesus Freak I kept thinking of Matthew 25, "I was in prison and you visited me, I was hungry and you fed me....."

Sara's writing is clear and conversational you would think she is right there in the room with you telling stories about her life. Yet she also irritated me to high heaven, reminding me of my baptismal duties which I often want to forget. You mean I actually have to go out of my way to help someone? Yes, Sara would say. Like a prophet Sara reminds the Church of its basic duties which is all too often forgotten. Read Jesus Freak, read it now, you won't be disappointed.