First Review of SWWJ!

5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart!, March 22, 2011
By LMS “Book worm” (WI United States) – See all my reviews  (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Streetwalking with Jesus: Reaching Out in Justice and Mercy (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

First off, this book is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, if this book were a movie, it would definitely be rated R. This book is NOT about how Mr. Green started his ministry. Instead, it tells stories of real people. It is so easy for us as a society (and unfortunately, also as Christians) to dismiss and judge men (and women) who are involved with prostitution. I don’t think anyone wakes up one day and says to themselves “I think I’ll become a prostitute today.” It is easy to say that they made their choices, so let them live with the consequences. Most of the men who prostitute themselves have a history of addiction, abuse, and a severely dysfunctional family life.

In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about reaching out to those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, sick or in prison. He said that anytime we serve any of “the least of these” we are serving Him. Jesus did not avoid people like these men. Instead, he sought them out. He was regularly criticized for spending time with “sinners”. He regularly hung out with prostitutes. He didn’t shy away from them or making them feel like they weren’t worth His time. Instead, He went out of His way to show them love and compassion. How can we, who claim to be His followers, do any less? The stories in this book are heartbreaking. It is much to easy to forget that there are real human beings behind labels like homosexual, prostitute, addict, homeless. Once you know someone’s story, it is far more difficult to casually dismiss that person.

This book will challenge you to think about Jesus, the poor, and yourself, in a completely new way. John doesn’t sugar coat the truth. The stories in this book are tragic and ugly. But ultimately, this is a book of hope. The world may value “results”, but God values our obedience. We need to be more concerned about that, and leave the results to God. It’s one thing to claim to be a follower of Christ, it’s another to actually live it out. Often, serving the Lord and others means getting dirty and stepping outside your comfort zone. John had done that. The type of love John has for these men is supernatural. He is able to look past the dirt, and disease, and sin, to see a desperate human being in desperate need of a Savior.

In my opinion, one of the stories that touched me most in this book was that of a man named Joseph. John and his wife Carolyn hosted a dinner for the men at their house. One of their guests was a 28 year old man named Joseph. As they sat down to eat, Joseph whispered “I’ve never done this before.” John panicked for a moment, thinking that Joseph was interested in sex. He didn’t quite know how to respond, so he asked Joseph what he meant. Jospeh responded that he had never sat down at a table for a family dinner. John admits he was shocked by this. So was I. How easy is it for us to take things like sitting down to dinner with friends or family for granted.

This book will expand your vision, your heart, and your thinking. If you let it. If however, you prefer to stay in the Christian bubble and “safe” in your Christianity, then don’t read this book. However, if you want to be challenged, encouraged, convicted, and changed, then read this book. After reading this book, you will never see the poor or the Savior in the same way ever again.

Another excellent book that deals with similar issues is “Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom” by Dawn Herzog Jewell (who also co-wrote Streetwalking with Jesus. I highly recommend both of these books.

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