Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
The Secrets of Leaven
By Todd Wynward

In The Secrets of Leaven, the main character aspires to be a poietis, an ancient Greek word meaning "a doer, a maker, a poet, someone who makes ideas real." Author Todd Wynward and his colleagues are attempting to do just that in Taos, NM: embody a revolutionary Jesus Way you rarely hear about in Sunday School.

In the Gospels, Jesus says that the kingdom of God is like "leaven in the loaf" --a contagious vision of love and justice that can spread through dominant culture to transform all of society. Jesus' dream of a new world is a subversive change agent that starts small, but has the power to go viral and fundamentally change the entire body of a large, unleavened mass.

Todd Wynward and his colleagues have decided to take this vision seriously, and begin to embody the path of life-change that Jesus described.

"It's kind of hard to resist," Wynward remarks. "Don't we all want more satisfying lives? Don't we all want a deep sense of community, of meaning, a deep sense of connection to our planet? Don't we want to deepen our communion with God, nature and each other?"

To that end, they've birthed a movement called Leaven Rising: a loosely affiliated band of individuals who combine imaginative cultural resistance, transformative economics, shared community practices and personal lifestyle change to embody a different kind of Christianity. Together they seek to craft a more fulfilling American lifestyle, starting with their own. 

"Changing yourself is the way you change the world," Wynward states. "That's what Jesus taught, it's what Gandhi taught, it's what Saint Francis and MLK and Mother Theresa taught. It's what the Dalai Lama teaches today."

In northern New Mexico, Leaven Rising is percolating into society through a variety of expressions:

  1. The Lama Mountain Internship, a 1-6 month immersion in a rural mountain farm community outside of Taos, NM. LMI offers residential apprenticeships in innovative public education, land-based living, sustainable agriculture, and green building. LMI currently has four interns scheduled between April-October 2013.
  2. Going Cimarron Wilderness Treks, week-long mountain and river adventures designed to unshackle us from the Way of Empire in order to more deeply practice the Way of Jesus. An eight-day San Juan River expedition into the heart of Anasazi country is planned for October 2013.
  3. TiLT [Taos Initiative for Life Together], an emerging intentional co-housing community dedicated to reinventing the North American lifestyle, starting with their own. While living individual lives, members practice shared lifestyle disciplines such as Sabbath rest, economic redistribution, common meals, contemplative prayer, community activism, and shared readings. Still in its formative stages, TiLT intends eight initial residents to establish a small co-housing community in summer 2014. TiLT is seeking new members to join the movement.
  4. TiLT Books, a small publishing firm dedicated to reimagining a more vital Christianity and promoting radical North American life change. TiLTBooks.com issued its first release, The Secrets of Leaven, in Spring 2013, available on Amazon in paperback and e-book form.

For further information about any of these initiatives, check out leavenrising.com.