Under the Overpass

I just finished reading Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski. I was going to begin my review by saying that it is an easy read, but easy is not the right word. What I mean to say is that it is a relatively quick read at 224 pages. But easy? No way.

Under the Overpass is the story of 2 men, Mike Yankoski and Sam Purvis, who spent 5 months living as homeless men on the streets of 6 major U.S. cities. The idea for this journey began in the heart of Yankoski as he sat in church one Sunday and had something of an epiphany concerning the disconnect in his life between what Christ calls His disciples to be and to do and what he realized was his “comfortable upper-middle-class life.” Yankoski says, “I sat there in church struggling to remember a time when I’d actually needed to lean fully on Christ rather than on my own abilities. Not much came to mind.” Thankfully, Yankoski wasn’t content to ignore this disconnect or bury it in the depths of religious busyness. Instead, he says he “walked out of church that morning seized by a big idea, assaulted by dozens of questions, and sure that I had heard deep in my heart a still, small voice saying, ‘Follow Me.'”

This book will challenge your perceptions of homelessness and the homeless. It will force you to confront the hypocrisy and prejudice that may be lurking not so inconspicuously within your own church and heart. It will force you to reflect on what it really means to take up your cross and follow Christ.

I don’t think you can read this book and stay the same.  I hope that you can’t. Living this story changed Yankoski and Purvis for the better, I’m certain. Reading it did the same for me. If I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, then I must love the unlovely, embrace the repugnant, and serve those that the world has deemed unworthy but that Christ calls “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

Jesus said the harvest is abundant but there is a shortage of workers (Luke 10:2). It’s time to stop the busyness and be about the Father’s business. It’s time to repair the disconnect.


2 thoughts on “Under the Overpass

  1. I just graduated from Regent College with Mike Yankoski, class of 2012. He’s a great guy who is still thinking deeply about how our faith should impact how we live. Out here in Vancouver, BC a lot of Regent College students and graduates have found meaningful ways to engage the poverty in our own city. If you want a taste of that check out the two week summer course “Solidarity, Resistance, and Liberation” – http://www.regent-college.edu/course-listing/course-details/BIBL.520.

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