Read Runaway Radical: A Young Man's Reckless Journey to Save the World by Amy Hollingsworth Jonathan Hollingsworth Online


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.ThereTravel 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 thatRunaway 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....

Title : Runaway Radical: A Young Man's Reckless Journey to Save the World
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ISBN : 9780718031237
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 214 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Runaway Radical: A Young Man's Reckless Journey to Save the World Reviews

  • Nicole Tera
    2019-05-19 19:28

    I didn't think writing a simple book review would be so hard to do. Usually I can't write fast enough when I read a book that strikes a chord with me. But I read this book, Runaway Radical, the day it came out and it's been over a week since and I still feel unable to write a review on it.I think that's because Jonathan was so honest, and so truthful, and his story so closely mirrors what I have experienced, and felt, that I feel as if he's told a piece of my story I did not think I could ever tell — although silence seemed unjust, unbearable.Jesus never sugar-coated or edited His message to get more followers when He invited people to walk with Him. He told the truth — if you want to follow Me, there will be pain, and there will be hatred, and there will be loss, and there will be death — but there will be Love.On the contrary, most Christian writers want to "sell" something to you — to as many people as possible — so they will talk about their faith but not their doubts and their convictions but not both the failures and successes of actually attempting to live out those convictions.This book is different.Jonathan Hollingsworth did as the rich young ruler was unwilling to do — he sold what he had and traveled around the world to give to the poor. But the result was not what you might expect.We're often told there's some sort of vending machine equation to Christianity. Insert the currency of sacrifice and you will be rewarded with miracles, success, fame, etc. The more you give, the more you will be blessed.But what about when that doesn't happen?What happens when we give up everything to live the radical Christian life and — unlike the advertisements we've read in the form of best-selling books — we get crushed, shut down, crucified?Think about it, have you ever heard a modern-day story like that before?Read this book and you'll know why you haven't. It's not because it doesn't happen.You might think that if abuse were truly happening, you would know. But if you've ever been a victim of any form of abuse, you will know that is not true — abusers are often very, very good at what they do.The signs of spiritual abuse are often subtle. There are no bruises or broken bones. There is no test that can be administered and sent off to a lab. There is often no "proof" or "evidence" at all.But it is no less damaging than any other form of abuse. In fact, because it is done in the name of God, the name of "church" and "ministry," and such an easily silenced secret, it is uniquely destructive and often fatal to the victim's faith.Yet here is a story from a man who has been knocked down, crushed with hopelessness, silenced, and has risen again to speak hope.I believe that as a result of Jonathan giving his heart to God, unrestrained, God shared His heart for the abused with Jonathan. I do not believe what happened should have ever happened, but I also do not believe Jonathan's sacrifice was in vain — was a waste.He did not fail, just as Jesus did not fail when they hung him on a cross. The religious leaders hated Him, too. But the lies weren't true. They can strip and beat and spit on and shame and hang and kill. But there is a resurrection after the crucifixion. The truth will set free.And isn't that the original radicalism — true "radical Christianity" lived out — love crucified to set the prisoners free, to make the dead alive, to show a grace that is not counterfeit but real and costly and encompassing and for those of us who have realized most that we are in need of it?Yes! God's grace is not for those who earn it, but for those who have realized at last that they cannot earn it — by shunning evil or by doing good — and yet are in desperate need of it. And so we ask God to take us up in His arms, like a father would take up a helpless infant, that we might rest our head against the heart that was pierced and broken for us, and know such a love.Even when we cannot believe such a love exists, for us — because that is what abuse does.Abuse says that we are unlovable. But it is a lie.Abuse puts victims in a prison that they're told will get smaller and smaller until they are crushed, if needed, if they try to escape or ask for help.Abusers tell us this lie because what they have imprisoned us with, essentially what they have built their empire with, is so fragile, in the big scheme of things, and the truth we have is so powerful actually, that they are living in constant fear and feel they have to make others more afraid to retain their illusion of power, their success.But one courageous person in the possession of truth, like Jonathan, or Amy — or you, or me — could make it all crumble, set free all the prisoners and destroy forever all the prisons they've used to build their empires.Because one person, no longer silent, could begin a revolution of truth-speakers, of victims who no longer believe whatever lie, whatever fear, once kept them silent.Thank you for your courage, Jonathan. Keep speaking hope and truth. When you tell your story, you tell a bit of mine — a bit of all of ours. And, one day, I believe, we will all be free. And whole.

  • Jennifer Wilson
    2019-04-25 15:31

    FTC disclaimer: I received an advance reader's copy of this book from Family Christian in order to provide a review.It was the late 1990s. I was at in a sea of a thousand college students. The index card in my hand felt so obvious. I folded it so no one saw I still had it as the buckets went down the row to collect these cards from other students. I was at a conference and nearly everyone filled out a card saying they pledged one year of their life to full time Christian work. I didn't know if I could do that. Rather than lie and sign my name to something, I didn't return it. I still have that card, unfilled out, and stuck in the Bible I took to that conference. It's stayed in there for seventeen years as a reminder. First it was a reminder of guilt. Now it is a reminder of I'm free to be a Christian without the promises and works.In Runaway Radical, Jonathan Hollingsworth reminded me so much of myself at his age. I recently tweeted to him that his book showed me where I went wrong in college. Yet, in some ways, like the author, I'm still trying to get it right. I grew up in a legalistic church. No movies. No dancing. I became legalistic in relationships with men and gave up dating for God's standard. Yet, the husband I felt God was going to lead to me didn't appear. (As I write this, I am 41 and getting ready to be married for the first time. What would it have done to my faith at age 20 to know I would have to wait another two decades for marriage?) Over time, I began to see the rules as legalism. I began to shed the don't, but in the process, I picked up the "do"s. Go on mission trips. Care for the least of these. I remember feeling called by God to go on a missions trip in college. I remember a few nights before I left I got on my knees to beg God to consider I was willing to do that for Him, and wouldn't it please be enough, did I really have to go? I had to. And it was a very difficult time. These are the missions trips you don't hear about in church. I had a lot of financial support. I returned and spoke in churches of the good parts of the trip, the difficulties swept under the rug. This is why this book resonated so much with me.One of the lines in the book says something to the effect of he learned to be sold out and extreme for Christ, but what about teaching us to be average Christians? I'm sorry to say, I'm still learning that. I'm twice the age of the author, but I'm still figuring out it's okay to be a normal person and a Christian. It doesn't make us any less of one if we have jobs where we work for secular employers. It might FEEL wrong, but I learned years ago that we are to serve God where we are going, not go and serve. Yet, I still heard little about that. Go. What if we stay? Not all missions organizations are the same. Some, like the author of Runaway Radical, would be better if we stayed away from them rather than partnering with them. Not everyone is cut out to be an overseas missionary. You could be allergic to a key ingredient in food of a certain country. What happens when you feel God calling you to something and you fail? Does it mean He failed you? Did you not hear Him? This book wrestles with these questions and more.I can't tell you how highly I recommend this book. It is one of the books that I believe will stand the test of time and become a classic, and hopefully even required reading for future missionaries. God does call some people. I have several friends who are foreign missionaries. But make sure the "Go" is from God and not from guilt because we as Americans have so much and there are millions in this world without the luxuries that we have because we were born into this country. Before you go, read this book. I know I wish I would have.

  • Hannah Notess
    2019-05-11 14:35

    It's been more than 10 years since my not-as-planned overseas volunteer experience, and there's a part of me that still wonders, "What if I'd just done x or x differently? Maybe it would have worked out better?" Reading this brought back that experience and made me see it in a new light - made me realize the weight and expectations I put on overseas volunteering made it that much more difficult. I'm a big fan of stories of faith that aren't usually told, and this definitely falls in that category - stories of mission-trip-gone-wrong need to be looked at in a more complex light. I also want to mention this one moment in the book where the mother likens her son's hyper-spiritual obsessive phase to her own struggle with an eating disorder when she was younger. That comparison really rang true for me, and isn't really a thought I'd heard expressed elsewhere.In a way I think this book jumps too quickly to a single explanation: "I traded one form of legalism for another and that's what went wrong," but then again not that much time has passed since the experience. Still, it's thoughtful and really important story, I think. Definitely worth reading if you've had a mission trip or church experience that went bad in ways you didn't expect, despite all good intentions.

  • Jodi
    2019-04-27 15:38

    This is an important story. It should be on every Christian's shelf, right next to the copy of Kisses From Katie. I don't say this because they are doppelgänger experiences of American Christians on the African continent, but because God can be present and triumphant in different narratives in different ways. I applaud truth-telling.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-30 12:37

    Out of the 112 books I've read in the past 6 months, this one's the worst by far. I saw that this was the Patheos book club pick and thought it sounded like something my interfaith book club might like. We might like it in that we can all agree that the main author (the mom, deciding to overwhelm her son's story) is a terrible person. She's every privileged, white, lazy Christian that you've ever met. She starts off just complaining about how terrible it is that her son was so altruistic (because, you know, Jesus was never altruistic). SHE ACTUALLY SAYS THAT YOU SHOULDN'T GIVE MONEY DIRECTLY TO THE POOR BECAUSE THEY'RE DIRTY AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL DO WITH IT. She hates that her son wants to spend time with the needy. Later in the book, she confesses that she and her son were fighting while actually writing the book, and it really colors all the judging she does. Then this horrendous experience in Africa happens, and she blames his radical altruism above even the man who took advantage of Jonathan. Never mind that she raised him in a Christian bubble away from the real world, with Christian homeschooling and Christian colleges. Never mind that the only person who is to blame for exploiting you is the one doing the exploitation. She was happy when he finally gave in to her point of view (and calls it his own original thinking) and blamed his wanting to actually go out and help people instead of staying at home and feeling self-righteous. It's like reading Orwell's book 1984 from Big Brother's point of view instead of Winston's. You can witness a bright, young person who is breaking free from a mold get turned into a brainwashed ordinary Christian with no interest in good works. Now that I have that out of my system, I can say that it's an informative read, but not for the reason I read it. I wanted to know more about how missions can go wrong, but it's only a small sliver of a book. This confirms what I think about a lot of mainline Christians. Not all, but a lot of them. I now know that I will avoid Amy Hollingsworth, most evil psychologist in the world, like the plague.

  • Amanda Geaney (Christian Shelf-Esteem)
    2019-05-16 14:24

    I read Runaway Radical completely in just two sittings. To me, this book was like watching something awful unfold before your eyes and yet lacking the ability to look away. Not that the book was bad, because it wasn’t, but I found it to be completely unsettling. I leave for my first short-term overseas mission trip in two short months. Therefore, Jonathan’s story of a mission trip gone bad weighs heavy on my heart.Runaway Radical is written by the mother-son team of Amy and Jonathan Hollingsworth. Amy’s voice details the story from a mother’s point of view, her son’s desire to serve God, his heart for the poor and downtrodden, and the mission trip that rocked his faith in both God and their church leadership. Much of Jonathan’s suffering stems from self-imposed legalistic standards coupled with the church leader/mission organizations abuse of power. The anguish and helplessness Amy feels in the aftermath of his abuse drips from the page.To me, the authors’ motivation for the writing seemed to be equal parts cautionary tale and healing for Jonathan. The warning against legalism is clear and strong. Having been snared by legalism in my youth, it was easy for me to relate to Jonathan’s desire to be good, do more, and sacrifice bigger in order to please God. Jonathan’s shift towards radicalism develops over time. It seems to me that when he shaved his head, moved into his closet, and started giving away his worldly possessions, the red flags would have been raised for me as a parent. Instead, his parents allow him to pursue his passion all the way to West Africa. Within days of arriving, Jonathan can sense that something is off. Instead of the mission work he went expecting to do, the mission organization uses Jonathan as a spectacle to draw crowds, which enabled them to reach more with their prosperity gospel. When he finally returns home, he is not the same young man that left—he’s broken. The process of co-authoring Runaway Radical was a sort of therapy for Jonathan suggested by his mother. In hindsight, Jonathan shares where his beliefs went wrong, how he was used, and God’s presence through it all.While I did not agree with all that was shared, like the heavy use of dream interpretation, the story was thought-provoking. It was also tragic, humbling, and grace-filled. I give Runaway Radical 4/5 stars.**I received a review copy of this book through the Family Christian Blogger Program. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  • Christie Hagerman
    2019-05-16 14:40

    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 and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  • Deborah Hall-hertle
    2019-05-02 13:22

    Story of a hurting young man's desire to save the world for Christ and the disappointments he experienced abroad and in transitioning back home. Church leaders on both ends didn't know how to help this young man through his dreams of being a missionary and the reality of what he faced. Most missionaries face disillusionment somewhere along the way. Johnathan is very open and honest about his lack of preparedness for the position in a foreign culture and the difficulties he faced when he came back to the USA without a successful outcome. It is a difficult story to read but there are lessons well worth learning as we sort through our own illusions of what life is going to be like and the disappointments we face along the way.

  • Kendall
    2019-05-08 19:30

    Made me think. 😏 am tempted to leave the review there! Haha!Thankfully, there was a definite and clear movement at the end of the book towards the gospel of grace (versus legalistic trying to earn God's love)... but I just kept thinking through the whole thing, "Good, solid doctrine could've prevented SO MUCH heartache & confusion in this entire situation!" 😕One more thought: I'm thankful to have increased awareness of the millennial tendencies towards radicalism and "doing for God" (and the red flags that initially show up!) so as to ask better questions when coming alongside them as they seek to grow in Him... I can see this will actually be very helpful.

  • Sommer
    2019-05-12 12:35

    This book was very interesting and thought-provoking. I haven't read anything like this before and I think this an important story for Christians to read, especially those involved in mission work. I'm sorry that Jonathan had to go through such a depressing situation, but I'm glad he and his mother shared his story. This was definitely a eye-opening read.

  • Tina
    2019-05-13 13:48

    Wow! A must read for all. It's one I actually may read twice

  • Todd Wilhelm
    2019-04-28 13:33

    This is a fantastic book, a much-needed tonic to David Platt's "Radical" or Kyle Idleman's "Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus."I would recommend youth in church high school groups and their parents read this because it is apparent to me that many youth group leaders push the "Radical" lifestyle. It is unrealistic and can be harmful.After reading this book I would then suggest you read Matt B. Redmond's "The God of the Mundane."Here is a great quote about Hollingsworth's (now former) pastor. This is, sadly, a common response of pastors in any situation which they deem will make their church look bad."The secrecy needed for shame to work isn’t tied to a lack of witnesses only. You have to ensure the person being shamed never tells what was said or done in secret. The best way to do that is to make it personal. Start by calling into question his manhood, frame his return as an act of weakness. Then tell him his parents appear crazy, that their intervention in his rescue only escalated things. Tell him that “sin varies from culture to culture,” so that the kind of abuse that’s considered sinful in America may not be sinful in Africa. Tell him that unless there are bruises or evidence of adultery, you should stay where you are and keep your oath. If you don’t feel you’re making progress, you can come up out of your chair and physically intimidate the person you hope to shame, especially if your amplitude overshadows his frail frame. Then once the person’s shoulders sag in compliance (that’s the cue), you use your leverage to control what happens next. Because controlling what happens next is key. The shame you’ve cultivated can’t change anything; it can’t reverse a decision. No one’s getting back on a plane to Africa. But you can channel it into working on your behalf, and you can tell the young man that there is a prescribed list of people who can be told the truth— excluding the truth of this meeting, of course— about what happened to you. And that list includes your father and your mother and your sister. No one else may know. You are to tell non-list people that you had “philosophical differences” with your mission agency. And then when the young man does, in fact, tell someone what you said, when he surprises you and tells his parents you think he’s not a man and they are crazy, you invite his parents in for a meeting and, of course, you don’t repeat anything you said to their son. But you go straight to the catch: no one may know what really happened. And if they and their son don’t agree to silence, then neither do you— and you are free to say whatever you want about him from the pulpit. But that’s not a threat. No, it’s not a threat. And perhaps the young missionary’s parents, because he has already been so traumatized, encourage him to agree to the silence because they want it to be over and they don’t want him hurt any more. And so you’ve won— and you didn’t even need to come out of the chair this time— because of the fear and the pain and the shame. You sit back and you mark the young man off your to-do list, confident that he will never tell."Hollingsworth, Amy; Hollingsworth, Jonathan Edward (2015-03-03). Runaway Radical: A Young Man's Reckless Journey to Save the World (pp. 134-136). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

  • M.S. Williams
    2019-05-21 14:23

    I enjoyed reading this book so much I didn't want to put it down. I can relate to the place of pain and abuse dealt by the church as well as my own misguided-ness. My only concerns/issues with the book were that the faulty church that dealt harm was credited with being "radical" Christians. I don't feel they should be called or compared to being a true follower of Christ because clearly by their example they aren't. They cared more about their appearances to man vs being honest. I believe in this present time, especially in American we don't know what it really looks like to be a true follower of Christ in our culture. The Bible provides insight from the Middle East culture of that time and I believe that those core concepts of what it means to truly serve and sacrifice for the name/sake of Christ are still true today. Bottom line is and what I've found in my own quest to find/please God is that everything we do must come out of our love/heart for God. If you never do another good deed on this earth what does your relationship with God look like? I believe what most call 'radical' is what God expects from a true Christian. Radical in third world countries is simply carrying a Bible or meeting where they can to discuss their faith. It can be a small act too. His word does say count the cost of following Him and that we must deny ourselves and forsake all as He did. Now what that actually looks like today I'm researching. Paul argues in 1 Cor. 9 that believers have the right to a decent life too. To do things like get thrown in jail or even a missions trip without it stemming from out of love (for the sake of God) is the issue. Outside of doing good deeds or anything from that place of love tied to God is fruitless and just doing good deeds 1 Cor 13. I believe that if we first offer Him our hearts, all of it, His Spirit guides/convicts us and for each person it's different based on their relationship and experiences. God is real. It's evident in the way life and the world around us exists. But we can't see or completely understand His ways presently and it's something we wrestle with. I like Francis Chan when it comes to pursuing the heart of God. Recommend listening to his YouTube video Stop and Think.

  • Jen Bradbury
    2019-05-13 14:43

    In recent years, much criticism has been lobbied at short-term mission trips and in particular, at their value; At whether they do more harm than good. To that end, books like When Helping Hurts have helped those of us in the church figure out how to do missions well.Much of what's been said critically about short-term missions has been focused on the harm done to those we serve. We seldom hear about the harm that short-term missionaries can encounter themselves.Runaway Radical by Amy Hollingsworth and Jonathan Hollingsworth shines a light into this void. Through excerpts from blog posts, first-person accounts from Jonathan, and reflections from his mother, Amy, Runaway Radical tells the story of Jonathan's failed missionary experience in Africa and the damage it did to his health, pysche, and faith. To be sure, it's a story that needs to be told – of missions gone bad and of a manipulative and some would even argue, abusive church.Runaway Radical is packed with wisdom – especially in its later chapters, when it talks often about the damage that can be done by legalism, which the authors define as “trying to achieve spiritual results with a prescribed set of actions, by being good or by doing good.” According to Jonathan and Amy, legalism is the “enemy of grace”, which is something that “allows for possibilities.” In their words, “God sent the law so that we could define good and evil. But God sent Jesus so that good and evil no longer defined us. And if the burden to not be bad has been lifted, so has the burden to be good.”Despite the wisdom Runaway Radical contains, I fear few will keep reading it long enough to find it. The writing is choppy, overly detailed, and at times, utterly confusing as it alternates between Jonathan and Amy's voices – something that can make persevering through this book difficult. That said, if you're willing to do the work of wading through that, this book will be helpful to those considering working abroad as short-term missionaries as well as to their families.

  • James
    2019-05-20 17:50

    A lot of profound truth about how to overcome disillusionment when your idealism is shattered. A young man falls victim to the "white in shining armor" syndrome (his phrase, which I loved); sells everything and moves to Cameroon West Africa to spread the gospel and teach kids how to play guitar. But he soon finds himself the poster child for a prosperity gospel he doesn't believe in, manipulated by a corrupt and abusive supervisor, and leaves before his term of service is complete. The book alternates between his voice and his mother's, and chronicles his attempt to recover from a form of radical Christian discipleship that turned out to be another face of legalism. The book is honest and raw, painful but also optimistic; realistic about church charlatans and power playing pastors while at the same time deeply Christian in its tone. The passage about how shame works to abuse and manipulate is really enlightening. My main criticism with the writing is that it keeps the reader in suspense for too long about exactly what happened the the young man. The subtitle is "When doing good goes bad." How did it go bad? Was he killed? Did he contract a fatal disease? Was he caught in the middle of a hostile political situation? We don't know until (in my opinion) far too late in the story. We don't know if the chapters written in his voice were from his blog or journals or if he was still around to write them. Maybe you're content with not knowing, but for me, there was a minor let down when I realized just what had gone wrong. Still, it was a good read.Challies Challenge Category: By or about a missionary

  • Sarah Hyatt
    2019-04-28 14:44

    I'm giving this one four stars for the overall message. It might be overly generous but though overall I felt things were lacking, there were sentences that were spot on.The writing jumps around quite a bit and the changing point of views get confusing. The book is also short, and I think overall it could have benefitted from, oddly enough, either more or less distance on the part of the - write down all of this stuff immediately, but maybe more time would have made it more grounded and more developed. I felt at times like the authors were rushing to get the (important) message out so quickly that ideas weren't explored adequately enough. It's not purely topical, but not reflective/introspective enough to be a memoir. However, any book that wants to challenge the mentality in Christian culture to DO SOMETHING GREAT is a book I will welcome. I don't necessarily agree completely with the authors' conclusions - it is legalism, yes, to define yourself by the things you do, but I think there is a missing piece that is being overlooked which is that Doing Things is a path to fame. Christianity can be a career path, and one that lets people fulfill their desires to be beloved and special and admired. For the author, it seems like these were things he wanted from God (do something big enough and God will notice) but honestly his motives were more pure in that regard than many people.

  • Lucille Zimmerman
    2019-05-09 12:45

    Until I read this book I didn't really understand the new radicalism. As Dr. Anthony Bradly said, "A few decades ago, an entire generation of Baby Boomers walked away from traditional churches to escape the legalistic moralism of 'being good,' But what their Millennial children received in exchange . . . was shame-driven pressure to be awesome and extraordinary..."I'm 50, and I'm disturbed by the younger generations' occupation with adopting foreign children. I believe it's the right thing for many, but I worry that others do so because of the pressure they feel to save the world. I worry they really can't handle the pressure of raising the children they have, plus the two or three they adopt. I don't want to be judgemental, but it seems as if a Pinterest-type of faith pressures the younger set to do what Jesus would do, plus more.This book shows the result of trying to top the behavior of the most sold-out Christians. This type of legalism leaves its proponents broken and burned out.I'm so glad Jonathan is laughing again.

  • Scott Parton
    2019-04-25 18:43

    Rarely do I recommend a book.....but this time is different. This book is an absolute must read for everyone associated with the church. With dreams and aspirations based upon countless experiences, Jonathan set out to change the world. Instead, what he found was manipulation and legalism, both abroad and at home from his own church. This true story will make you smile, make you angry and make you cry. But it is a story that needs to be told because the truth of what happened occurs everyday....and sometimes the victims are left alone...their lives in ruins. While reading, you will find that Jonathan becomes your own child...and all you want to do is wrap your arms around him and try to find some words...just something to bring light to despair. To be able to bear the pain of opening up freshly healed wounds to share this story makes Jonathan and Amy heroes in my book. If only we could all be so brave.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-19 12:39

    Two things--Jonathan is a beautiful soul and his mother is wise to encourage him to write with her. This story had me rereading certain paragraphs and sections of the book. I was incredulous at what I was reading. How can someone so bent on loving the world and "the person in front of you' have experienced such heartache and disillusionment? If Amy and Jonathan are correct, how can legalism and control do anything but cause heartache? It never ends well. This is a book for anyone who has 'come to Jesus' and wanted to give all to him in abandonment, to show their generation that they were the 'real deal' and authentic Christian who would get the job done. This is for all those who tried to do amazing things-great things for God and returned exhausted in all ways. This is for those who have questioned religious authorities and been intimidated to use the narrative that they were instructed to use--to reframe and redesign their own stories.

  • Carmen
    2019-04-30 14:25

    I actually listened to this book on audio when I was recovering from surgery. Since I was on pain meds I don't remember everything.What I do remember about the book I really liked.A mother and son wrote the book together,so you get both of their perspectives. It takes the glamour out of missionary work and missionary organizations, broken fallen people run them so inevitably there is a lot of dysfunction. Just like any church or christian run organization. It also gives you a glimpse into this young mans heart and how he swung the pendulum to legalism and serving in the mission field. It was also interesting how his mom, dad, family, and church discipled him through his journey. Ultimately he finds healing and grace in the Gospel. I really appreciate the transparency of the authors.

  • Jenny Wells
    2019-05-17 13:37

    A story that exemplifies why, "Doing good" instead of "don't do this" has become the way legalism is disguising itself as how to live radically for Jesus. My heart ached for this mother and son as they chronicle his (and her enabling, thinking she's doing the right thing) deep commitment to "answer the call" and "follow Jesus to the ends of the earth" thinking all the choices he made might save the poor. The foreboding is felt from the beginning. I wasn't as happy with the end as it became more theoretical than continuing in a memoir vein. But it's message is so important. I would encourage any parent who thinks their children being "sold out for Jesus" is the pinnacle that you hope they'll reach as young adults to read this book first.

  • Sandra
    2019-05-05 18:32

    One reviewer of this book describes it as "a spiritual fist to one's gut". For me, it was a familiar story I could have written myself although I did not go to Africa or live in a closet and my story happened more than 20 years ago. Legalism has not changed since Jesus walked this planet and, unfortunately, it is still rampant in many churches.I understand the need for two narrators but it did make the book more difficult to follow as did the back and forth of the time line.This is a must read for anyone who has been hurt by the church. It gives us hope that we will eventually find a healing.

  • Jonathan
    2019-05-20 15:45

    Runaway Radical, by Amy and Jonathan Hollingsworth, recounts Jonathan’s passion for helping those less fortunate, events surrounding his relocation to Cameroon for missionary work, and the aftermath of his subsequent return home. It’s a book which is both touching and disturbing. He arrives with a good heart and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good, but quickly learns that those leading the effort there aren’t quite what they seem. While not my typical read, I found it fascinating and couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it.

  • Catherine Martin
    2019-05-15 13:24

    A young man goes away on a mission trip to Africa to save the world. Unfortunately, he has been taken advantage of by his mission sending agency. The young man comes home early, becomes depressed, and is told by his church that he (not the mission agency) is the problem. Not surprisingly, the young man has a faith crisis. This book is his story, from his perspective and from his mother's perspective back home in the US. It's an excellent book about how not all is hunky-dory in the world of overseas missions. Definitely worth reading.

  • Dave McNeely
    2019-04-29 15:37

    This book was a remarkably co-written journey through a young man's response to calls to live a radical faith. His story (which he co-narrates with his mother) is a tale that could be shared by many young Christians, but what makes it remarkable is its careful unfolding and the introspective analysis that is honest with the challenges, questions, and despair of a radical faith. I would strongly recommend this book to young Christians (and parents) who are wrestling with their own response to such a call and I will be keeping around an extra copy for the college students I work with.

  • Tim Otto
    2019-04-26 13:48

    This book will pummel your heart until you have to put it down. And then, you will gather courage, and pick it up, and keep reading. It is about a compassionate 20 year old who decides to go to the Cameroon to serve the poor. It is about how he gets beaten up by legalism, hubris, naivete, Africa, the church, "radical" Christians, and idealism. It is about how he fails. It is a cautionary tale, and it is well told.

  • Jason
    2019-05-15 18:38

    Beware the leaven of Pharisees both old and new, which is hypocrisy. And ultimately, despair.This book isn't going to make you feel any better about the state of the church. Just don't forget to observe and marvel at the fact that God through Jesus Christ kept his promises to John Hollingsworth and does the same for all his children. No amount of legalistic "radicalism" or ungodly abuse of spiritual authority by alleged shepherds can ever pluck us from his hand.

  • Patti Dickert
    2019-05-03 20:50

    Today everyone wants to do good, help and make a mark in someway . This book was the flip side of a volunteer who got taken advantage of. Having been in those shoes over 30 years ago I can understand how this can happen. A must read for anyone who is going to perform missionary work with in the US or abroad.

  • Donna
    2019-05-05 18:38

    Just finished this book this morning. I only received it yesterday. If you are involved in a mission heavy church, a church that thinks everyone must do good works and save the world, read this. If your child want to go on a mission trip, make them read this first. If you have left your church because they have confused you about who God is and what he wants from you, read this. Read this.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-24 19:26

    The authors -- a mother and son -- relate the son's terrible missions experience to Cameroon with a small missions organization and use it as an indictment of American Christianity's new brand of legalism: radicalism. Sobering and thought-provoking. *Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review through NetGalley.