Book Review: From The Hood To The Hill

I am always challenged by biographies of Christian leaders and reading Barry Black’s life story was a treat. In his book, From The Hood To The Hill, I was freshly reminded that God often uses the most unlikely people to accomplish his mission. Black grew up in the projects in southwest Baltimore and through God’s providence and a ton of hard work on his part, became the 62nd chaplain of the United States Senate.

I have had the privilege of hearing Dr. Black speak on several occasions and was always mesmerized by his eloquent style and piercing words. He is a brilliant scholar (2 master’s degrees and 2 doctorates) and yet the love of Christ flows from his life. He has stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most powerful men in the world and yet it is obvious that he knows none are as powerful as King Jesus.

I had heard some of Black’s story before but this autobiography helped fill in some of the details. If you are looking for an inspiring book, I would encourage you to pick this one up (or kindle it) and give it a read.

There were three things that stuck out to me as I read this book:

1. God’s Word is powerful. I have heard Dr. Black quote tons of Scripture during his talks and this book emphasizes the importance of Scripture memory in his life. I was freshly challenged to make Scripture memory an important part of my life.

2. Character is built in the crucible of life. Our circumstances can either define us or we can define our circumstances. Black’s life was difficult and yet God used those difficulties to grow his character and perseverance.

3. God is at work in the halls of power. Many of us have become disillusioned with politics and politicians. We seldom hear anything positive and often hear things that make us blush. Black reminded me that God is at work in the halls of power. There are believers in the Senate and I am encouraged that they have Dr. Black as a spiritual leader.

Favorite Quotes

“When one aims high, even when he misses the mark, he’s still on higher ground.”

“A quest for fellowship with God enables you to overcome the challenges that come with the unfavorable cards you may have been dealt at birth. It enables you to believe that God will bless all that you attempt for His glory, to believe that you will have success. And success means staying within the concentric circle of God’s will.”

“God prepares us for the doors He will open by equipping us with gifts to use for His glory.”

“The most solid Christian education begins in the home.”

“When you’re not going through tough times, you’re tempted to major in minors, to forget what’s really important. You become preoccupied with ephemeral things instead of investing your life in something that will outlive you.”

“When you don’t waste time, you’re better able to set you own agenda.”

“In a nutshell, who you are is more important than what you do.”