Everybody loves to hear a story, probably because we all have a story. Or stories. Family, community, jobs, military service, divine encounters. We especially like stories when they are well told, and we haven’t already heard them a myriad of time. Good preaching incorporates good stories; and good stories can certainly be used to incorporate preaching. So I’m hard pressed to decide if Pastor/Storyteller Rich Pérez is preaching or telling a story in his book Mi Casa Uptpwn, (B&H Publishing, 2017).
This is a story about growing up as an immigrant family from the Dominican Republic settling in New York. It’s a story about family and community. It’s a sermon about love.
Pérez loves his family, and his community, and that love comes through on every page of this engaging work. Somehow he manages to paint a picture of community and family and how they are intertwined, especially in immigrant communities. The barrio, the neighborhood where people settle because they have something in common with the other people who live there. And that commonality makes them stronger.
Rich takes us to a day when we knew and talked to and with our neighbors, when the neighborhood bodega was the place to be (and the sense of loss when Big Box stores took over the Mom and Pop stores.
And this book is also a reminder of grief, of loss, but more importantly hope.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.