We all recognize that there is supposed to be more to this Christianity thing than singing songs, saying prayers, and talking about God. We see in the Gospels a Jesus who calls his disciples to radically changed lives.
Yet our teachers, preachers, and spiritual guides tend to fall into one of two extremes. They either downplay the wild side of Jesus—merely adding Christian theology to our comfortable lives—or they embrace the wild Jesus so wholeheartedly that few there be who can follow their examples.
At this point, I need to admit two things. One, I gravitate toward those radical heroes of the Christian faith. I would far rather fail in attempting to follow their examples than succeed at apathy. Two, I’m not always able to live up to my radical aspirations, and it can at times be discouraging.
In real life, it’s just not always possible to live according to simplistic ideals. This is especially true when raising a family. Don’t get me wrong—that’s not a complaint. Far from it! I am so incredibly thankful for my wife and kids. I wouldn’t trade my life with them for the world! But I have to be honest about the needs of my family that must be met.
At the same time, I want myself and my family to follow the radical Christ into whatever he may call us. So how do we find that balance? How do we live a radical Christian life as a family?
Todd Wynward and his family have had plenty of experience asking these questions and seeking to live out such a life. In Rewilding the Way, he describes the shifts his family started making five years ago. Among other changes, they’ve chosen to live in a yurt, rather than a traditional house, and they use a composting toilet. But he’s quick to add a clarification:
If you’re daunted by our example, don’t be. We’re pretenders. Yes, we’ve cultivated a slightly parallel existence, but don’t be fooled: we’re still solidly embedded in American consumer culture. … Though we dabble with homesteading in the high desert, we’re still enmeshed in the economy of empire, deeply conforming to the system. (p. 16)
The book is filled with such refreshing honesty. Wynward gently pushes us toward a more radical lifestyle, while fully acknowledging how difficult it can be, and with no pretense that he has it all figured out himself. Still, he has made tremendous strides in the right direction, and he’s able to offer many helpful practical tips, along with numerous stories and anecdotes to tie it all together.
There is much more that could be said about this book, but I’ll leave it there for now. Suffice it to say that Rewilding the Way is one of the most enjoyable, insightful, and challenging-yet-hopeful books I’ve read in some time. I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from SpeakEasy in exchange for an honest review.