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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  44 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Brazos Press (first published January 2017)
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Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 ...more
Anna Moseley Gissing
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Tim Otto
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was inspiring, interesting, and very real. I admire the authors and their families and I admit, I actually felt tired, reading about their work and struggles, just in time for the chapter on the Sabbath and the reminders on grace and who the Savior really is.
Alice Fugate
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Cara Meredith
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
New Monasticism is a movement within Christianity that embraces communal living as expressed by the church in Acts 2 and within monastic communities throughout church history. It is most popularly expressed by Shane Claiborne. Essentially, New Monasticism has twelve core tenets (or "marks"):

1. Relocation to the "abandoned places of Empire" [at the margins of society]
2. Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
3. Hospitality to the stranger
4. Lament for racia
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
Very interesting and thought-provoking. A great book to go through with an accountability group or close Christian friends.

Some of the gist of the book, from my perspective:

Covenant Friendship
You can’t pull true community together through a book or a movement...

It begins and ends with God, who is the One who heals you and allows you to see others the way God sees them. To paraphrase theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer ... if you’re seeking community for the sake of community, you will simply find dis
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well. I feel apologetic for rating this a 2, but...Let me start by saying how much I love Sarah Arthur’s books. I have read At the Still Point, the Lenten and Advent readers and have given multiple, multiple copies away. I find Erin Wasinger a delightful writer. Oh, and I’ve read and loved (though sadly) The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher.

However, something didn’t gel for me here. Maybe it’s all the “in” words bantered about in the religious arena, such as “radical,” “intentional,” “mindful,” “n
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I heard about this book on the renovare podcast. Often when I read a book by Christian women, it is about domestic things: child rearing, marriage, relationships, etc. When I read these other female Christian writers, I feel decidedly squeamish. Their words and the vision they cast have a Stepford Wife quality to them. They are all too often saccharine and shallow. They sell the life affirming vision of the kingdom of God short.

Enter Sarah Arthur and Erin Wassinger and The Year of Small Things.
Kathryn A.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s been just over a year since I received my first copy of “the year of small things: radical faith for the rest of us” by Sarah Arthur and Erin F. Wasinger. I note “first copy” because I’m on my fifth. I keep giving it away to friends as a “must read.” It’s that good!

From feeling that I’m soaking in advice from a wise mentor to laughing out loud —like giggling with girlfriends— at particularly witty bits of honest, raw writing about a messy life, to full-on face-plant, prostrate in prayer —
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book follows authors Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger and their families as they embark on a year of covenantal friendship and small things that are in line with the new monasticism movement. The problem is that everything about the book and their experiment feels forced.

Right from the start, they acknowledge they undertook the project with the intention of writing a book. I appreciate that candor, but it definitely made the entire year feel less authentic. I don't understand the idea of new
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though this book was a bit outside of my comfort zone theologically (I wasn't super familiar with the concept of new monasticism, though I found it really interesting), it was a good read and inspiring in many ways. I particularly felt moved by the injunction to reach out to my community in ways that may not seem easy or reasonable, and by the reminder to spend less on myself in order to be able to give more to others (not just the obligatory 10% tithe to the church, but giving *generously* beyo ...more
Carter Hemphill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm a big believer in small things. I am also intrigued (inspired, challenged, moved...) by the movement of new (and old!) monasticism but have found that so much that is written about asceticism, prayer, fasting and generally living the Christian life, is written by men, and often single men, particularly in the case of the early monastics. My days are spent with and often dictated by 3 small people so this book co-authored by mums had great appeal. And I wasn't disappointed. Both authors write ...more
Nick Jordan
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this one fairly slowly, as a devotional, really. And it is just great, better written and just plain better than at least some Shane Claiborne. (I *am* a big fan of Wilson-Hartgrove, including his prose.) The only critique I would offer is that this year of “small” things is actually pretty overwhelming if you think about just taking it up as your own set of practices. A slower pace might work better, both for reading and for developing new habits.
Susan Hartung
I read this as part of a book club pick. It wasn’t my favorite.... It felt extreme to me and I was not comfortable with some of the suggestions. I could get on board with incorporating small changes into my family but a lot of their ideas and suggestions were large changes, things that I am not interested in incorporating or am uncomfortable doing. Perhaps I was just not their target audience 🤷🏼‍♀️
Joy Fayard
Loved this book. Very well written, full of humor and transparency. Excited to read it again, maybe with the husband.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: inspirational
I thought the book was well written and probably useful for those who are trying to live Christianity with a small accountability group. However that is not me today.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provided me with some needed encouragement to make changes, no matter how small, to live a life that is more reflective of Christ.
Hannah Carlson
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was SO good, and just what I needed to read at this time in my life. I am inspired. Now all I need are friends who are willing to do this alongside Josh and I. Hmm.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Incredibly compelling & thought-provoking!! ...more
Brandon Rathbun
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I ended up skimming most of it because I couldn’t connect well to the book.
Could have been a series of blogs.
I love their journey, just not their book
Mary Foxe
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not bad, but did not quite work for me.
Ashlee Cowles
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first put this book on my to-read list because I thought it would describe a year of focusing on the little things in life that are really the big things (family, friends, etc). I was surprised to discover that it instead described a year-long experiment in New Monasticism - which, while it does focus on the important small things in our lives, also calls its adherents to more. I enjoyed reading about the marks of this particular trend in Christianity, and about how these two families embarked ...more
The two authors take turns sharing their experience with new monasticism. I thought the concept of this book was interesting, but then the book didn't hold my interest.

I received an ARC from NetGalley.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good and ...

Good and challenging. A good introduction to living the new monasticism as a family, with the realities it brings. Worth the read.
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Sarah Arthur is a fun-loving speaker and the author of numerous books, including "A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time" (Zondervan/HarperCollins, Aug 2018). Sarah specializes in the intersection of faith and literature, particularly the role of imagination & narrative in spiritual formation. Her first books were the bestselling, award-winning yo ...more

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