Runaway Radical: A Young Man's Reckless Journey to Save the World by Amy Hollingsworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Travel the world, change lives, save souls. (Note: Results not typical.)
A young idealist 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. Books on saving the world abound, topping the bestsellers’ lists, fueling the drive to prove not only commitment to the world but devotion to God.
Now there is a new crop of books starting to emerge, detailing the consequences of trying to save a world that is not ours to save. But none of these books tell the story that Runaway Radical tells; this is the first book to highlight 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.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Amy Hollingsworth is the author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World's Most Beloved Neighbor, based on her nine-year friendship with television's Fred Rogers. She has a master's degree in counseling psychology and a bachelor's degree in English and is an adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she lives with her husband Jeff and their children, Jonathan and Emily. She has written for various magazines, including ParentLife, and was a writer for eight years for The 700 Club television program.
Jonathan Hollingsworth left college at age 20 to pursue a new life as a missionary in Africa. He has since returned to college. This is his first book.
MY THOUGHTS: My heart broke for this young man. I saw him through the eyes of a mother, proud of those steps her young adult is taking out into the big, bad world with a sincere hope to make it a better place. I saw him through the eyes of a missionary, having seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of this giant machine we call Christianity, from the inside out. I saw him through the eyes of one of the leaders who has encouraged young people to "go big or go home," rallying them not to settle for status quo but to run as hard as possible and not look back. I just wanted to go find this guy and give him a big hug, telling him how sorry I am that he went through what he did.
His mother starts the story, leading us through situations no young person should ever have to endure, shining light on what happens when radicalism goes too far. Jonathon's brave but shaky voice joins in, and I can only admire him even more for sharing his story after so many negative reactions he experienced.
This book serves as a warning to Christians leaders, and it brings up questions we may have to struggle to find the answers to. It has definitely caused me to understand why some red flags have popped up for me in the past and why we need to look more deeply into how we are training eager young people to share the Gospel.
I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.