Book Review: “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski (2005)

I generally salivate at the prospect of reading real-life adventure stories where the authors take me the reader along as they scale mountains or bear harsh weather or travel the world by foot. The honesty and adventure promised by Mike Yankoski in Under the Overpass is what first drew me to this book, his first-hand account of purposeful homelessness for the sake of bringing the Gospel of Christ to the lost and downtrodden of American streets. I drew from this book, however, far more than simple adventure stories, and more even than personal Christian witness. As I read through Overpass, I got the sense that Yankoski sought not only to reach the lost with the good news of Christ, but also to understand their perspectives.

As a teacher and writer, I understand more than many the importance of knowing one’s audience before addressing them, and it became obvious to me that Yankoski has taken this principle to a very much-needed extreme. As Johnny Cash once sang: “It’s hard to feed someone else when you’re hungry; and don’t try to teach when you don’t understand.” By joining the homeless in their mire, Mike Yankoski was then able to eventually bring his readers to that same level of understanding the poor of which Christ and the apostles spoke extensively.

Beyond providing this necessary viewpoint, though, Yankoski has also supplied the American church the unique opportunity to see how the poor of our streets view the American church: and oftentimes that is through very dismal, understandably antagonistic eyes. Under the Overpass is convicting read, one that challenges a believer’s comfortable living and skin-deep faith.

[Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review]

© 2011 E.T.

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