Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Now I Walk On Death Row - Book Review

I have to say upfront that this is one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books I've read in a good while. Now I Walk on Death Row by Dale Recinella is part autobiography and part indictment on the death penalty. The book opens with the story of Dale's past as a high-powered lawyer who is on top of the world professionally but falling apart personally. His marriage falls apart and his brother confronts him and challenges him to get his life together. He has a conversion experience and begins to study the Word and turn his life around. He spends time studying Scripture and begins to seek his purpose in life.

The question that challenges him the most (and I relate to this challenge) is 'what if Jesus meant what He said?' Recinella is moved to action by this thought and looks for ways to serve within his community. There are arguments with Catholic Church leaders about who is supposed to be concerned with social justice issues.

Eventually, Recinella finds prison chaplaincy as his calling and befriends prisoners over time. As his ministry within the prison continues, he moves to state prison and death row prisoners. He begins to witness executions and begins to question how Christians can support the death penalty. The second half of the book chronicles his experiences with several executions and he highlights the possibility that the state of Florida has executed men who might have been innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted.

This is a powerful book; the writing style allowed me to feel the emotion and the struggle Recinella went through. If you are a staunch proponent of the death penalty, this book will make you think and should lead you to question that position. There were some issues I didn't agree with him on 100% but overall, this is a powerful testimony of how God changes people and gives them a passion for His glory. One of the points that sticks with me the most is the idea Recinella said a couple of times in the book...Jesus said it. You read it. Go do it. Sounds like a great way to live life.

Bethany House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.