Forgive me, everyone who reads that and thinks of that phrase as cussing. I know it is for some and for others it’s not. It’s not for me. It’s the exact phrase my soul wants to sing out loud right now.


Oh. My. God! I am reading the most excellent book. And you should too! Thank you, God, for brilliant, wonderful, honest, loving, broken, persistent angels in our world, and thank you, God, for inspiring them to write down their stories! And thank you, God, that I know how to read!


In the prologue, on page 2, of Hot Dogs & Hamburgers: Unlocking Life’s Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age by Rob Shindler, he writes, “The common perception about learning issues and adult illiteracy is that somehow they’re reserved for a certain group of people. In other words uneducated, lazy, apathetic minorities. I know now, firsthand, how ridiculous this theory is.”
Boom. Page TWO. Truth.
(And page ONE was full of honesty and vulnerability about learning and growing and being a man.)


BrigitYou must read this book.


I’m not done with it, I’ve read 64 of its 193 pages. And maybe it will take a nose-dive somewhere in the middle, but I doubt it. It is an inspiring read about love, faith, struggle, disappointment, poverty, privilege, sacrifice, joy, and more love.


Page 22 made me cry. Too much hope, love, and friendship between strangers for me to hold it together.


Page 32 wrapped those feelings up in these beautiful words, “In the end, individual motivations are irrelevant because hope loves company.”


Page 37 begins to tell us the story of Charles, who inspired the title of the book, a grown man who is bored with hot dogs and hamburgers. But those are the only words on the diner menu that he knows how to read and he travels every day for work. His body and his mind and his SOUL are craving more nourishment than hot dogs and hamburgers can give him.


Page 47. I’m crying again.


You must read this book.


Thank you, God, for the United Church of Christ who organized this thing called “One Read: Hot Dogs & Hamburgers,” and introduced me to this book! Thank you, God, for reminding me of the privilege of READING your WORD and sharing the stories of our faith through the gift of our words. Thank you, God, for a life full of great variety, diversity, challenge, and nourishment well beyond hot dogs and hamburgers. Thank you, God, for the invitation and opportunities to share that nourishment with others through the gift of literacy!


Learn more about how our church is responding to God’s call for justice for all of our brothers and sisters through the Reading Changes Lives initiative:


Literacy is a social justice issue. Join the effort to educate, engage, and inspire action!
—Associate Conference Minister Brigit Stevens

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