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Selection Info & Discussion Guides

Have a Little Faith
By Mitch Albom

What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together?

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities--that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom's first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.


Discussion Questions

Discussion Guide Produced by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

Early in his life, Albom began distancing himself from the Reb, a man who seemed more like the all-knowing, Almighty God than any other he knew. Why is it our nature to run away from God and our faith?

In his testimony, Cass, the one-legged elder, said it was the night he returned to his childhood home in an old Detroit project that he realized he was homeless. How does this compare with Albom's return to his birthplace in suburban Jersey? Do you agree with Albom's conclusion that no one is better or smarter than another, just luckier? How has luck or fate seemingly played a role in your life?

Leviticus 19:18 states, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The Reb's "enemy schmenemy" philosophy embodies this commandment. How important is it that people of faith honor this scripture? How can we take steps to help the secular community uphold this value?

Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by faith, not good works. Henry dedicates his new life to serving God and helping the unfortunate despite being uncertain of what eternity holds for himself. Why does he remain a faithful servant of the lord when he believes he may not be rewarded in Heaven?

Upon retrieving his file at the synagogue, Albom reflects on the notes and letters he had received from the Reb over the years, but had not bothered to reply to or even acknowledge. He now felt ashamed at having ignored the "sacred community" that still loved and embraced him. Have you ever turned your back on places, people or things only to appreciate their importance in your life later? Is it ever too late to make amends?

The Reb and Henry are from two different backgrounds and faiths but each is a steadfast "man of God." How did both help Alborn grow in his own faith? How has Alborn, in return, shaped yours?

Taking part in community service is a theme throughout have a little faith. Why do you think faith-based community services are so important to public needs? How can you get involved with a faith-based service organization in your area? Create a personal action plan with specific goals on how you can help your community.

In Psalm 23, we are assured that God is always walking beside us. Knowing this, the Reb is able to cope with the most tragic event of his life, the death of his young daughter. However, when his atheist doctor loses a relative, the doctor becomes angry and envious, because he cannot ask God why or consider it God's will. Have you ever been angry with God for something? Do you believe as the Reb does, that it is more comforting to think God listened and said no, rather than to think that God doesn't exist at all?

Matthew 7:1 tells us, "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged." Albom is skeptical of Henry's sincerity about the lord in their early meetings. Although he later overcomes this and no longer has any doubts regarding Henry's beliefs, why was he so critical in the beginning? Think of a godly leader in your life who came from an untraditional background or has an unorthodox appearance. Does this mean he or she loves God any less than the conventional faith leader?

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