Book Review of Tom Davis’ Red Letters
Let me begin this review with a disclaimer – Tom Davis is one of my best friends and he’s writing about a subject to which I’ve committed my life. So, yeah, I’m biased. The following is a book review that one of my staff Jeff Goins wrote for the online magazine Wrecked:
Red Letters begins not with
startling statistics or an alarming call to action, but with a simple
story about a teenager named Kirill who lived on the streets of Moscow.
We’ve all been there before, trying to assuage
our feelings of guilt with justifications or avoiding eye contact or
even crossing the street. Tom did what many of us would have done. He
shook off the beggar and kept walking. I can resonate with that; it’s
the “wise” thing to do.
But Tom did something different: he went back.
“Living a faith that bleeds” is the tagline for this book about
justice, hope, and change. It begins with a story about a man who saw
his Savior on the street.
Tom lives his life by the principle that Jesus is everywhere and often seen in the “least of these” described in Matthew 25. When he went back, his faith started to bleed.
In the first few chapters of the book, he discusses the Gospel’s
essence – that it is something to be lived and not just discussed – and the
problem of global poverty. As “little Christs” (a term borrowed from
C.S. Lewis), we have a responsibility to do something about suffering
and injustice in the world.
He goes on to discuss the AIDS crisis, the dying continent of
Africa – particularly Swaziland, which has the highest rate of HIV in the
world and will actually go into extinction in 50 years if nothing
changes – and his bleeding heart for the forgotten and forsaken.
come, and he doesn’t leave the reader with a lot of excuses for
inaction. Effecting change is not difficult or even all that costly; it
just requires a willingness, a “faith that bleeds.”
The latter chapters call the reader to action, but unlike many books of
this tenor, they don’t abandon you there. Tom gives you some potential
routes to pursue. He invites you to join his fivefor50 campaign, go on a mission trip, and to raise money and awareness. There’s an append ix at the end of the book that lists organizations and websites to help you get involved.
favorite chapter, “Snapshots of Hope,” tells of African babies rescued
from abandonment, Russian orphans turned into leaders, and how those
who cared for them were radically changed.
isn’t about social action. It’s about Jesus – about finding him in the
least-likely of places and our commitment to meet him there.
discovered a new way to live. Every morning when I get out of bed, I
look for Jesus. No, not because I’ve misplaced Him. And I’m not talking
about a feeling I get during prayer, or revelation that comes to me
while reading Scripture. I’m talking about finding Jesus in the eyes of
real people. In the eyes of the poor, the handicapped, the oppressed,
the orphan, the homeless, the AIDS victim- he abandoned and the
forgotten. (Tom Davis,
Red Letters, p. 15).
Order Red Letters on Amazon