Friday, May 28, 2010

Review - Zealous Love

Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice, written by Mike and Danae Yankoski, takes a close look at eight very important global issues. Through many first-hand accounts it seeks to provide both information and inspiration about these challenges. It's clear the authors really want to make a personal difference in the world. I was pleased to receive a free review copy via the Amazon Vine program.

Zealous Love covers eight extremely important problems that we face today: human trafficking, unclean water, refugees, hunger, lack of education, creation degradation, HIV and AIDS, and economic inequality. The book is full of beautiful pictures, is well produced (overproduced?), and the heart of the authors and contributors shines through very clearly. I don't know as much as I would like about social justice issues, and given the subtitle of the book, "A Practical Guide to Social Justice" I was hoping to be find some very practical ideas on how to get involved.

I wanted to like the book more than I did, but was disappointed in several respects. The title, inside and back cover highlight how practical the book is, but I'm just not seeing it. The foreword praises how this book shows ways that ordinary people can make a difference, but many stories are about exceptional people leaving all behind to life in a developing nation. Inspiring? Yes! Something practical I can get out and do tomorrow? Less so. The introduction assures us they're not going to lay on the guilt, but proceeds to pile it on about how tremendously fortunate we in the West are compared to the rest of the world (very true, but that much I already knew). The format of the book is to present a large number of stories/pitches from many different agencies and groups that are addressing these issues - the problem is that it starts to sound like an infomercial not long into the book.

There's much good in the book, and the message it tries to share is very important; I can see why many reviewers like the book and hope others will listen well. Each section contains a useful 'briefing' with some information on why the issue is important. If you're looking for something with many stories and compelling pictures in bite-sized nuggets, you may enjoy the book. Others looking for something truly practical, or something that does more to educate about the problem and possible solutions, may find another book more suitable.

Zealous Love is published by Zondervan.

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