Mini Book Review: The Year of Small Things

The Year of Small Things
“radical faith for the rest of us”
by Sarah Arthur & Erin F. Wasinger

“… if you get nothing else out of this book, we want you to get this: radical faith is not about being übercommitted. It’s not about being überspiritual. It’s about discernment.”

I identify with Sarah and her husband, Tom. They lived in a radical community for a time, before moving to the suburbs and having kids. Six years into their new life, they knew they had begun to ‘capitulate to suburbia’s vision of the good life’. How much of their life was different from their neighbours’? Sarah and Tom, along with their friends Erin and Dave, came up with an idea. ⠀

‘The year of small things: an experiment in small but radical changes, to embrace the way of Jesus, right where we are. The challenge: to discern one small change in each of the following areas that we can embrace or reclaim over course of the next year. Covenantal Friendship, Hospitality beyond Martha Stewart, Radical Finances, Reclaiming Spiritual Habits, Stuff, Holy Time, Vows, Planted in the Church, Kid Monasticism, Sustaining Creation, Unselfish Self-Care, Just Living.” ⠀

My only criticism is that the book suffers from Americentrism and is perhaps overly focused on the chaos of having a young family – I hope this wonderful book finds a wider audience than American moms! ⠀

People are often put off by monasticism because of it’s seemingly unattainable ideals. This book is a wonderful introduction to the concepts of new-monastic spirituality and how these values are interwoven with an ordinary life. Just one small change a month, now even I could do that! Check this book out at The Wandering Bookseller to buy yourself a copy for the New Year. However, stay tuned because this week I’ll be revealing my 16 month experiment inspired by this book!

“Mine your faith tradition, or the traditions of our spiritual ancestors, for practices worth adapting. Experiment with other spiritual disciplines within a community, whether it be celebration, fasting, confession, service, or another unfamiliar or forgotten practice. Feed yourself in solitude; feed your tribe in community. Grant grace.”

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