Bestselling author, Mitch Albom, shares faith journey

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Bestselling author, Mitch Albom, shares faith journey

The Great Issues Committee hosts writer Mitch Albom on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the BSC Wool Ballrooms. Albom discussed his most recent book, Have a Little Faith. Minghao Gao/Staff Photographer

The Great Issues Committee hosts writer Mitch Albom on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the BSC Wool Ballrooms. Albom discussed his most recent book, Have a Little Faith. Minghao Gao/Staff Photographer

The Great Issues Committee hosts writer Mitch Albom on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the BSC Wool Ballrooms. Albom discussed his most recent book, Have a Little Faith. Minghao Gao/Staff Photographer

The Great Issues Committee hosts writer Mitch Albom on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the BSC Wool Ballrooms. Albom discussed his most recent book, Have a Little Faith. Minghao Gao/Staff Photographer

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The Great Issues Committee hosts writer Mitch Albom on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the BSC Wool Ballrooms. Albom discussed his most recent book, Have a Little Faith. Minghao Gao/Staff Photographer

Mitch Albom told the Saint Louis University community to have a little faith. On Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m., the bestselling author stood before an audience in the Busch Student Center Wool Ballrooms and told the story of how his life was transformed with a single question: “Will you do my eulogy?”

Albom’s speech was based on his book “Have a Little Faith,” which enjoyed time as #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It also aired as a made-for-television movie in November of 2011.

Albom is the author of eight other books, including “Tuesdays with Morrie,” the bestselling memoir of all time, and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” also a New York Times #1 bestseller.

Today, Albom is a newspaper columnist for the Detroit Free Press. He also hosts two radio shows on WJR-AM and is a television commentator on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters.

He has been named #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the sports editors of America (APSE) and has received more than 100 writing awards in his storied career. Albom is married and lives in Franklin, Mich.

“Have a Little Faith,” published in 2011, tells the true story of how Albert Lewis, the rabbi of the only synagogue Albom ever belonged to, asked Albom to deliver his eulogy when he died. Albom said he was caught off guard and thought, “Who was I to do a eulogy for a guy who does eulogies?”

“The Reb” confronted Albom with his wish immediately after Albom gave a speech for which he returned to his hometown and admitted that he had all but left behind his religion.

Still, to uphold his agreement to deliver Lewis’ eulogy, Albom embarked on a series of visits to better know the Reb. Each time they met, the Reb welcomed Albom by singing his name to the tune of “Hello, Dolly!” This relationship grew over the span of eight years before Lewis passed away at age 90.

Along the way, Albom learned about living, met people who changed his life and restored his faith. Like the Reb’s role in Albom’s faith journey, another clergyman influenced Albom. This man was Henry Covington, an African-American pastor leading a congregation heavily made up of Detroit’s homeless population.

Albom heard the inspiring story of a ministry housed in the oldest — and formerly, largest — Presbyterian church in the Midwest. In 2010, the church was dilapidated, looked abandoned and leaked from a hole in the ceiling. The congregation gathered under a plastic tent inside the church.

Initially, Albom said that he didn’t trust Covington, whose opening statement admitted that he had dealt drugs and spent years in prison. “When it comes to faith, we don’t trust different,” Albom said. “We naturally undergo othering: us versus them, familiar versus strange.”

But the time Albom had spent with the Reb showed Albom that there is a whole story behind these different people, so Albom listened.

In his lecture, Albom shared the story that he heard that day about Covington’s struggle with his faith and more-than-flirtation with a life of crime.

However, Covington is a paradigm of human redemption and the potential for ascension from the darkest of places.

He had become a pastor and was providing food, shelter, and second, third and fourth chances to people who were in situations like he had been.

Returning to describe his meetings with the Reb, Albom explained the greatest treasures he gained from the rabbi. During his last visit, Albom told the Reb that he did not think the two of them were going to the same place after life. “There must be a whole other wing of Heaven for people like you!” he said. But the Reb responded, “But you’re a man of God, too. Everyone is.”

The rabbi put himself on Albom’s level, Albom noted, which was both an act of humility and a perfect example of faith.

“I believe that, like the Reb, God sings, and all of us down here hum along. And there are many, many melodies, but it is all one song, one same, beautiful, human song,” Albom said.

Considering what he learned from Rabbi Albert Lewis and Pastor Henry Covington, Albom shared what he has come to believe about life. “It’s not having the answers, it’s the search for the answers,” he said. “It’s not the end of the journey, it is the journey.”

Albom concluded, “It’s the choosing to believe that we’re not just here to grab for our own good. That we’re all connected somehow. That we aren’t just supposed to go in the ground and become worm food. We are here to help one another and to lean on one another and to love one another. It’s the choosing to believe in things like that — something bigger than all of us. That is, the crazy, glorious, sometimes maddening but always satisfying in the end, journey that we call faith.”