10 Days Without: Daring Adventures In Discomfort That Will Change Your World And You, by Daniel Ryan Day
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/WaterBrook Multnomah Press in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is an example of the social gospel side of contemporary Christianity in the best possible way that can be said. With its passionate concern for justice and the well-being of marginal groups and the oppressed both at home and around the world, this book is an enthusiastic appeal for believers (presumably those who are socially conscious to begin with) to do more than talk about justice and to act. As the first book by its author, a fellow child of Appalachia, this book is full of practical insight, humorous stories (including from blog readers ), as well as deeply moving accounts of the causes that he went without for in periods of ten days. This is the sort of book that would appeal to those looking to move beyond mere “slactivism” to taking concrete action in any of the many serious problems that we can tackle.
The heart of this book, after an introduction and before a conclusion that ably introduce and connect the story together, are eight challenges with different causes, all with appropriate biblical references. The author goes without shoes for ten days to address disease, without a coat for ten days to help the homeless, without media for ten days to address distractions, without furniture for ten days to address global poverty, without legs for ten days to address disabilities, without waste for ten days to address environmental causes, without speech for ten days to address contemporary slavery, and without human touch for ten days to address orphans, widows, prisoners, and other untouchables (like thirty-something bachelors). All of these causes have reputable organizations with a personal touch that the author establishes to build up compassion for those who suffer, and all of these chapters are designed against our tendencies for excess and complacency in contemporary society.
What makes this book even better than it knows is the fact that the symbolic actions taken in this book highly resemble the symbolic actions of prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah, in bite size form. Given the similarity between the general social justice mentality of the Hebrew prophets and the mentality of the author, it is surprising that there are not more direct references in this book to the prophecies whose actions would provide a sense of legitimacy to the symbolic behaviors of the author and those who follow his example. Those who read this book should find much to ponder, much to act on (going ten days without human touch sounds almost like my normal life, but going ten days without speech would be extremely difficult), and a socially conscious approach that manages to show God’s sense of justice in a particularly appealing way. This is a worthy book, an easy read, and worthy of emulation. There is, additionally, a subtle undertone of the results of broken families and sexual abuse that runs through this book as well. There is a lot we can do to help improve the world, and starting with those who are around but often forgotten is a good way to start for this worthy addition to socially conscious approaches to Christianity .
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