This is one of those harder ones.
Runaway Radical, by Amy Hollingsworth and Jonathan Hollingsworth is a challenging read. I'm going to share the publisher's description of the book, and then chat a bit about it.
Runaway Radical serves as an important and cautionary tale for all who lead and participate in compassion activism, in the art of doing good— both overseas and at home— amidst this new culture of radical Christian service.I was interested in this book, mostly because I have a couple of fairly idealistic teens of my own, and while none of my kids (currently) seem set on giving away all of their belongings or sleeping in a closet, I can see them leaning towards this "new radicalism" and sometimes that gives me pause.
You'll read about a young idealist who heeds the call to radical obedience, gives away all of his belongings and shaking off the fetters of a complacent life, travels halfway around the world. There he discovers, among the poor and the fatherless of West Africa, that he has only surrendered to a new kind of captivity.
There is no doubt that young people today are fully invested in social and human rights issues. They start their own nonprofits, they run their own charities, they raise money for worthy causes.
This book highlights the painful personal consequences of the new radicalism, documenting in heartbreaking detail what happens when a young person becomes entrapped instead of liberated by its call. His radical resolve now shaken, he returns home to rebuild his life and his faith.
I finished reading this book a week and a half ago and there was simply no way I could write a review at that point. I had committed to reviewing it by Feb. 13, but I wrote and basically begged for more time to think about what I had just read.
You see, this is a story co-written by the young radical (Jonathan) and his mother (Amy), detailing the events in their lives. This isn't one of those feel-good stories where you marvel at the faith of the missionary who prays, thanking God for their breakfast even though there is no food in the house, and before he finishes the prayer, there is a knock on the door with someone bringing breakfast.
No, this is a story that involves a young missionary who is thwarted and exploited at almost every turn, and who ends up coming home early... broken... only to be shamed into silence by his church. The kind of stab-a-mom-in-the-gut story that makes you want to never let those radical young idealists out of your sight.
|My youngest idealist, posing for a Care and Share ad campaign|
Or at least that was how my review would have sounded last week.
After letting this story sink in over the past days, some other lessons are starting to emerge for me. Because there isn't anything wrong with young people wanting to change the world, or with them trying to change the world. That is a very good thing.
|Connor, especially, is passionate about rural hunger. He's in this crowd of volunteers.|
What I want to be doing, as a parent, is making sure that my young radicals aren't focusing on the results. It isn't about doing something idealistic and huge so that God will love you. It's about doing something idealistic, radical, and maybe even huge because God loves you and you know that is what you are meant to do. And leaving the results with God.
And knowing you are loved. Loved not because you did great things, but because God simply loves you.
Family Christian provided me with another copy to give away to one of my readers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway