The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us

The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us

When Sarah and Tom Arthur were appointed to a suburban church after three years in an urban Christian community, they faced a unique challenge: how to translate the practices of "radical" faith into their new context. Together with their friends and fellow church members Erin and Dave Wasinger, the Arthurs embarked on a yearlong experiment to implement twelve small practic...

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Title:The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us
Author:Sarah Arthur
Rating:
ISBN:1587433826
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:256 pages

The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us Reviews

  • Lorraine
    Nov 19, 2016

    Recently there has been a movement in the church called New Monasticism. New Monasticism follows Twelve Marks including: relocation to the margins of society, sharing economic resources with each other and opening your home to strangers in need. Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger both had past experience with this radical lifestyle when they were young marrieds. Due to job re-location, the authors' families both moved to suburbia and found themselves dissatisfied with their middle-class environment.

    Recently there has been a movement in the church called New Monasticism. New Monasticism follows Twelve Marks including: relocation to the margins of society, sharing economic resources with each other and opening your home to strangers in need. Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger both had past experience with this radical lifestyle when they were young marrieds. Due to job re-location, the authors' families both moved to suburbia and found themselves dissatisfied with their middle-class environment. They made a challenge for themselves to make small changes that aligned with the monastic lifestyle they felt called to. They tailored the twelve marks for their families and held each other accountable for a year. This book is the the story of their journey together. Not everyone will feel called to follow the Twelve Marks of New Monasticism. But what the authors are hoping, I think, is to motivate people to think of ways they can make a difference in the communities they are in, one small step at a time.

    *I was given an advanced copy of this book in return for my opinion."

  • Tim Otto
    Nov 22, 2016

    In the midst of all the urgency, chaos, and busyness of life, Sarah and Erin manage to make room for the important. They try to implement 12 essential Christian practices in their family lives and they live to report on the adventure. Their writing is winsome, authentic, funny, and inspiring. Highly recommended for anyone trying to not only believe, but live the Christian life.

  • Linda
    Dec 05, 2016

    If you live and work in the suburbs, figuring out ways to care for the marginalized and work for social justice where you are called to live can feel challenging and discouraging at times. The Year of Small Things offers new perspective to these issues and ways to incorporate the practices right where you are in the comfortable suburbs. The authors offer much grace and much confession about their own awkward fits and starts on their journey, giving readers the same grace and permission to work t

    If you live and work in the suburbs, figuring out ways to care for the marginalized and work for social justice where you are called to live can feel challenging and discouraging at times. The Year of Small Things offers new perspective to these issues and ways to incorporate the practices right where you are in the comfortable suburbs. The authors offer much grace and much confession about their own awkward fits and starts on their journey, giving readers the same grace and permission to work through a new, simple lifestyle marked by generosity to others and hospitality to the stranger and care for the earth, all while living in an accountable community.

    Underneath many of our lives lies a hunger for this kind of radical call to shake up the status quo. The Year of Small Things could be transformative in so many ways, people, and places despite just offering “small things” to do. Great for individuals, couples, or small groups interested in a life resembling the early church.

    “We’re pretty sure we’re not changing the world. But we’re letting God change us, which in turn points us toward the change already happening in our church and city. One small thing at a time.”

  • Cara Meredith
    Dec 19, 2016

    What a fantastic book: you may think you're done with the "year-long" book model, but this brings about a new idea. Radical Christianity and new monasticism - now that's fascinating stuff! And because co-authors Erin and Sarah are so honest, we as readers are able to see how this really could fit into our lives as well.

  • Anna Moseley Gissing
    Dec 19, 2016

    I have been waiting for this book. I've read many books about "radical" faith practices and tried live them out, but it has definitely been harder in the eight years since we've had kids in the mix. And I keep asking the question--why aren't there any youngish women writing about Sabbath? It seems like the descriptions I've read of keeping Sabbath are just impossible with young children.

    Enter _Year of Small Things_. Sarah and Erin know that life with young children is messy. And they also know t

    I have been waiting for this book. I've read many books about "radical" faith practices and tried live them out, but it has definitely been harder in the eight years since we've had kids in the mix. And I keep asking the question--why aren't there any youngish women writing about Sabbath? It seems like the descriptions I've read of keeping Sabbath are just impossible with young children.

    Enter _Year of Small Things_. Sarah and Erin know that life with young children is messy. And they also know that they still want to lean into their faith and to adapt spiritual practices that form them into people who love Jesus. They take seriously calls to hospitality, generosity, justice, and simplicity. And not only that, they give readers a peek into their lives to see just how they have enacted those values.

    I love this book. It has inspired me to lean in with my own community. When I hear someone ask "But how do we do this with kids?" I will point them to _Year of Small Things._

    *I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Gina
    Feb 15, 2017

    If you are feeling discontent with the status quo, of feeling the discord and not doing anything, this is for you. Sarah and Erin challenge through real stories of their own personal struggle to put their faith into action in tangible ways. I've been encouraged to think through different places in my life where God may be calling me to step out in faith, to be more radical in how I live, so that I might see Him work in powerful ways. Unique and refreshing!

  • Mallory
    Jan 03, 2017

    Insightful, challenging, inspiring, and so entertaining--reading this book felt like sitting down with old friends and chatting over a long meal. Except these friends don't just talk about the weather, they talk about living deeply and intentionally for Christ and His people. The emphasis on starting small made this lifestyle feel approachable and possible. So grateful for these women and the example they've set to live big by doing small things (sometimes imperfectly!).

  • Alice Fugate
    Jan 25, 2017

    This book is less about what new monasticism and its practices are than it is about what it looks like for the authors’ families to live out these practices together. In that sense, it is an honest, very human picture of self-denial, humility, and discipline in an effort to carry out Jesus’ call for his followers to “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

    As a single college student still financially dependent on my parents, I did not relate as much to some of th

    This book is less about what new monasticism and its practices are than it is about what it looks like for the authors’ families to live out these practices together. In that sense, it is an honest, very human picture of self-denial, humility, and discipline in an effort to carry out Jesus’ call for his followers to “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

    As a single college student still financially dependent on my parents, I did not relate as much to some of the topics such as “kid monasticism” (I have no children) or hospitality (opening my home to the homeless is difficult when I live in a dorm). That being said, their story was thought-provoking, compelling, and challenging. I saw how I am neglecting and overlooking several key tenets of Christianity — probably because they seem too radical, too out-there, too hard. But that’s why “small things” are emphasized so much. If we only have to have faith the size of a mustard seed, then we can certainly start small in living out our faith. This book affirms that and gives the reader the tools and the boost to give this radical faith thing a try.

  • Michelle Kidwell
    Feb 03, 2017

    The Year of Small Things

    Radical Faith for the Rest of Us

    by Sarah Arthur and Erin F. Wasinger

    Baker Academic & Brazos Press

    Brazos Press

    Christian

    Pub Date 31 Jan 2017

    I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of The Year of Small Things through the publisher and Netgalley:

    After three years in an Urban Christian Community, Sarah and Tom Arthur were appointed to a Suburban Church.

    In this book they talk about Convental Friendships, friendships that start with God at the center. The importance of good Soli

    The Year of Small Things

    Radical Faith for the Rest of Us

    by Sarah Arthur and Erin F. Wasinger

    Baker Academic & Brazos Press

    Brazos Press

    Christian

    Pub Date 31 Jan 2017

    I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of The Year of Small Things through the publisher and Netgalley:

    After three years in an Urban Christian Community, Sarah and Tom Arthur were appointed to a Suburban Church.

    In this book they talk about Convental Friendships, friendships that start with God at the center. The importance of good Solid Christians friendships is also highlighted. Hospitality and the place that played throughout the history of Christianity to modern day.

    I give The Year Of Small Things five out of five stars.

    Happy Reading.

  • Ashlee Cowles
    Feb 09, 2017

    Full disclosure: I attended Duke Divinity School at the same time as Sarah Arthur. We were even in some of the same classes, but we never officially met or got to know each other. That happened randomly several years later when we ran into each other at a C.S. Lewis festival in northern Michigan and both thought, “Hey, I recognize you.” I mention this because when I started reading The Year of Small Things, I understood exactly what Sarah meant when she describes how much “easier” it was to live

    Full disclosure: I attended Duke Divinity School at the same time as Sarah Arthur. We were even in some of the same classes, but we never officially met or got to know each other. That happened randomly several years later when we ran into each other at a C.S. Lewis festival in northern Michigan and both thought, “Hey, I recognize you.” I mention this because when I started reading The Year of Small Things, I understood exactly what Sarah meant when she describes how much “easier” it was to live a counter-cultural Christian faith while at Duke. Not that I’ve ever adopted the marks of new monasticism as fully or deliberately as Sarah (or anywhere close), but “intentionality” was definitely in the water at Duke, as were topics such as justice, racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and solidarity with the poor. So when Sarah mentions the challenge of transitioning from this environment to a more suburban existence, I got it. I think a lot of us will ‘get it’—especially if you were ever a young person with high hopes about living a counter-cultural Christian life when it came to the choices you made regarding consumerism, the poor, and the environment, only to discover that getting around without a car is a challenge in most parts of the U.S., the student loans you took out for that liberal arts degree are a lot harder to pay back than you ever expected, and taking the cloth diapers route with your newborn is nearly impossible to accomplish at the laundry mat down the street.

    Then one day you wake up in your ticky-tacky two-car garage home supported by a dual income and wonder, “Why am I not doing missionary work in Africa like I planned on as a college student? How did I get here?” Or maybe you’ve never asked these questions, but sense, deep down, that God becoming man so that we could become like Him can’t just be a call to live out an American Dream where comfort and security are the primary goals. Sarah Arthur’s and Erin Wasinger’s story will challenge and inspire you either way. With self-deprecating humor, but without a trace of “you really should be living like this” judgment, the two women explain how they have tried to incorporate the marks of new monasticism while living in suburban middle America in ways that are authentic, powerful, and perhaps most importantly—doable (i.e. you will not be asked to move your kids into a yurt). In fact, this book is not about developing a strong personal identity around a list of social causes, but about living out the Christian faith in the context of covenantal friendship and community. Yes, it turns out buying only organic at Whole Paycheck is not quite the same thing as following the social teachings of Jesus. One aspect I appreciated most about this book was they way Sarah and Erin emphasized that they could not have incorporated the marks of monasticism into their full, busy lives in isolation.

    And just in case you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, this all sounds very left-of-center and probably isn’t for me,” you should know that my own leanings are more in the direction of the “crunchy conservatism” (the key word in there is “conserve”) described by the journalist Rod Dreher. In fact, although the tone and focus is much different, The Year of Small Things reminded me of some of the ideas Dreher has expressed through an approach he calls “the Benedict Option”—in the sense that Dreher suggests the future of Christianity in the West will have very little to do with major “culture war” victories against an increasingly secular society and a lot more to do with small, intentional communities focused on knowing and living out their Christian faith in radically counter-cultural ways. What The Year of Small Things does is remind us that this disengagement from “the battle” should not be an utter retreat from the world, but an opportunity to be a source of light wherever we are planted and within the context of a particular community.

    Highly recommended.

    *I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.