How Mitch Albom Found "Faith"
If you were asked to write a eulogy, would you do it? What if you barely knew the person? What if the person you were eulogizing was a rabbi or a pastor, and you were no longer religious? And, to top it off, what if the person you would eulogize still had eight years to live?
If your name is Mitch Albom, then this has happened to you. If it's not, then, well, I guess your life is not as interesting as his.
Mitch Albom's books—like Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and For One More Day—have sold over thirty million copies in dozens of languages around the world. Raised attending synagogue with Rabbi Albert Lewis in New Jersey, Albom wandered from his Jewish faith even as his star rose in the publishing world. Yet his most recent book, Have a Little Faith, tells the story of a reawakening of faith that followed when Albom was asked to write Rabbi Lewis' eulogy. The book has been made into a television movie airing this Sunday, November 27th, on ABC at 9pm ET / 8pm CT.
Watch The Trailer
When Rabbi Lewis (played by Martin Landau) asked Albom to write his eulogy, he still had eight years left to live. Albom (played in the movie by Bradley Whitford) accepted the challenge and his visits over the years became the occasion for thoughtful reflections on God, the meaning of life, and whether another life awaits us beyond the veil.
The movie might have deteriorated into a painful series of smug, faux-profound conversations, the grownup version of late-night college pontification contests. Yet it's delivered from this fate by Albom's decision to get involved at an urban church in his hometown of Detroit, where the pastor (Henry Covington, played by Laurence Fishburne) is a former drug dealer, crack addict, and convict for manslaughter. The only time Covington had ever been in a synagogue was when he was robbing it. Initially skeptical, Albom is eventually persuaded of faith's extraordinary transformative power.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.