Some books are entertaining. They allow the reader to escape the sounds and smells and stresses of life. They harken back to simpler times and places and situations. The reader is left with a calm and easy feeling after reading the last page.
This is not one of those books.
Deb Richardson-Moore's book The Weight of Mercy: A Novice Pastor on the City Streets moves the reader, making him or her uncomfortable, causing the reader to see the rugged urban streets as something more than a "bad neighborhood". She makes the reader see the least of these among us. She doesn't allow us to turn our faces away from them.
Deb wrote about drug addiction, prostitution, vandalism, violence, homelessness, crime, discrimination, poverty. She also wrote about redemption, rehabilitation, restoration, forgiveness, extreme joy, worship, education. Deb wrote a very human story. And it is all true.
She wrote skillfully, that's clear. She worked as a journalist for 27 years prior to taking the pastorate at Triune Mercy Center. However, she wrote this book outside the clear cut, detailed work of a journalist. She wrote with heart, compassion, and conviction. She didn't give easy answers. Didn't claim to know everything. Never once took credit for the work God is doing in the inner-city.
This is a book that needs to be read. From the pastor of the inner-city church to the business man living in the suburbs. The stay at home mom to the community organizer. For too long, the Church has misunderstood something vitally important. That the mission field is confined to other countries. That we can only be missionaries in the midst of another race and culture, speaking a different language. Deb's book is a light to shine on the mission fields in our own cities and towns. People living only miles from us or in the house next door need compassion and love. They need us to help them, love them, be a light in their darkness.
This is the weight of mercy.
**Note; I received a complementary copy of The Weight of Mercy for my honest review.