Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World

Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World April 8, 2015

I was left with more questions than answers at the end of the Hollingsworths’ book. I think they perhaps intended that effect, purposefully distancing themselves from the pat answers of a controlled-narrative Christianity. I will continue to ask myself these questions as I continue to digest their story:

How does mental health impact our experience of God? (I found myself recognizing certain tendencies in Jonathan Hollingsworth that are reminicent of ones I dealt with in OCD–and sometimes still deal with. Did he suffer from a similar disorder? Are there certain personalities who are more prone to legalism than others?)

How do we balance a concern for what is close to God’s heart–the poor and the downtrodden–with the freedom and grace found in the Gospel? How do we avoid both a callous, consumeristic Christianity (what radicalism is seeking to fight) AND a Christianity that wraps legalism in the language of social justice?

How do we manage to continue to walk in grace when we see a world filled with unrelenting suffering? How do we deal with the reality that no matter how much we do, it will never truly be enough?

How should the story the Hollingsworths tell impact our approach to missions and ministry giving? How can we avoid contributing to organizations that engage in spiritual control? How can we ensure our young people are protected from abuse when they enter into ventures in world missions or into Christian ministry?

How can we manage to hold to the central tenets of orthodox Christianity without forcing a narrative-controlling construct on fellow Christians? Is there a gracious, non-controlling way to uphold orthodoxy? Are there some matters simply too important to surrender?

Finally, once we encounter grace, as I did in the Lutheran Church and as Jonathan did, should we expect times of legalism and spiritual anxiety to reemerge? Is there a danger that our obsessive tendencies could actually lead us to “do grace” perfectly too? How can we live as people who are always “in recovery” from legalism and spiritual obsessiveness?

And those questions are just for starters. I’m grateful for this book. You should read it too.

Note: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This post is part of the Patheos Book Club.

——————-

Community discussion guidelines:

Because this is a Christian blog, the things I’m talking about will obviously be topics that people feel strongly about in one direction or another. Please keep in mind that this is a place for substantive, respectful conversation. All perspectives are welcome to discuss here as long as all can treat each other with kindness and respect. Please ignore trolls, refuse to engage in personal attacks, and observe the comment policy listed on the right side of the page. Comments that violate these guidelines may be deleted. For those who clearly violate these policies repeatedly, my policy is to issue a warning which, if not regarded, may lead to blacklisting. This is not about censorship, but about creating a healthy, respectful environment for discussion.

P.S. Please also note that I am not a scientist, but a person with expertise in theology and the arts. While I am very interested in the relationship between science and faith, I do not believe I personally will be able to adequately address the many questions that inevitably come up related to science and religion. I encourage you to seek out the writings of theistic or Christian scientists to help with those discussions.

———————-

 

"Hi Shayne, I just saw this. Since I don't write for Patheos anymore, I don't ..."

Even Jesus Didn’t “Have a Peace ..."
"Hi Rebecca,I’ve got a question in regards to decision making. I’ve been reading “counterfeit gods” ..."

Even Jesus Didn’t “Have a Peace ..."
"Love reading your articles, Rebecca!"

A New Normal: Grief and Facing ..."
"Hi Rebecca! Loved this post and it really helped me to sort some things out ..."

Why “Having a Peace About It” ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Evangelical
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment