cover image Ask Me for a Blessing (You Know You Need One)

Ask Me for a Blessing (You Know You Need One)

Adrian Dannhauser. Broadleaf, $22.99 (210p) ISBN 978-1-5064-6804-4

Dannhauser, a priest at Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan, debuts with a compassionate meditation on the power of blessings. The author reflects on what she’s learned about faith from her weekly practice of administering prayers to strangers on the street while standing outside her Midtown church with a sign that reads, “Ask me for a blessing.” She lays out the philosophy of her sidewalk chats and posits that “evangelism is simply about speaking the truth of God’s grace, love, and mercy into people’s lives.” Dannhauser details notable conversations she’s had, recounting a man who kneeled for a blessing with a drink in his hand and food in his mouth, as well as a drunk young woman who found comfort after opening up about an unrequited love. The author suggests that the utility of such conversations lies in their ability to draw in people who might not be actively religious and let them know that “God is always looking to honor and affirm the good in us.” The anecdotes make for captivating miniature character portraits that brim with folk wisdom, as when a cancer survivor’s thankfulness for the support he received from loved ones led Dannhauser to conclude that the “truest form of gratitude to God has humility at its heart.” The result makes for a touching Christian variation on Humans of New York, with humanity and insight to spare. (Sept.)