Sometimes we see too much ugliness in people around us. We need reminding of beauty. Give us more joy-bringers, justice-warriors, and love-spreaders.
Holy Troublemakers and Unconventional Saints is a new book about 50 such faith people, some long gone (such as St. Francis of Assisi and Harriet Tubman), some in our recent past (such as Rachel Held Evans and Mary Oliver), and some living right now amongst us (Thích Nhất Hạnh and Brian McLaren), but all who practiced radical kindness and mercy for everyone.
Although billed as an illustrated children’s storybook (ages 8 and up), it is informative to me as an adult. I learned about people I’d never heard of, and was encouraged to hear new stories about people I am familiar with.
These people come from diverse faith traditions. (Note: This is not an all-Christian storybook.) Author Daneen Akers gathers stories from a multicultural and multifaith perspective, but all the stories are about people focused on spreading peace in their communities near and far, each in their own way.
For instance, Gustavo Gutiérrez is a Dominican priest in Peru. He recognized that God had a strong heart for the poor and oppressed, so he decided this:
“Lifting people out of poverty isn’t just a nice thing to do,” Gustavo said, “It’s the just thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what God asks us to do.”
So one chapter in this book is devoted to him and his calling.
None of the people are perfect, of course. Because they all are, well, people. But as Daneen says,
“They’re human, just like you and me, so they’re imperfect, and yet they help us see and honor the holy in each and every person.”
I want to do this too, to see and honor the holy in each person.
So while I don’t agree with every theological belief of these 50 people (and neither would they all agree with each other), I am encouraged by their united passion to make the world a better place through their love for others and their devotion to the divine.
My thanks to SpeakEasy
for the review copy of this book
- 5 Links, Books, and Things I Love—August 2020
- When You Can’t Do It Perfectly, Just Do It Anyway