To start off, this book was previously released as The Barbarian Way. You can basically summarize this book with saying that it is all about getting back to the adventure of the Christian walk. Erwin says it this way, “The reason this metaphor (of the barbarian way of faith) so resonated with me is because I saw how faith had become too civilized and its application too sanitized.” (XIV) According to Erwin, this book is truly about unleashing that barbarian within you that seems to be saying that there must be more to life than just routine and mundane activities.
This was the second book by Erwin McManus I have read but I also subscribe to his Podcast from Mosaic, the church he pastors in Los Angeles. I am familiar with his style and I am able to both enjoy it and disagree with it at times. The message behind this book is solid. He shares plenty of stories from his personal life and also gives plenty of Scripture to back up what He is saying. One reason I feel he might have re-released this book with this title is because that is probably what many Christians struggle to do, unleash their faith. We have “faith” but many of us have gotten comfortable with where we are in life and do not take regular opportunities to unleash it and allow God to move how He desires within us who supposedly bear His name. This book challenges you to allow God to do just that, take a different look at your life, a look through God’s eyes. Are you truly living a life of faith? Or have you allowed your faith to be tamed? The other part of this book that stands out to me is how often he mentions his own children and how he attempted to raise them in ways that constantly taught them to live out their faith and allow God to move them as He desires. This resonated with me because that is how I desire to raise my daughter and any other children that God gives my wife and I. We attempt too often to tame our children from the child-like faith that they have in God and try to calm them down. In many ways, we are doing a huge disservice both to them and to ourselves. We need to allow their faith to be unleashed. The only way to do that is by unleashing our own.
One story that really stands out is one where his son asks him a pretty straight-forward question. His son asked, “Dad, would you purposefully put us in danger?”
“Yes,” I answered, “Of course.”
Without blinking an eye his response was simply, “That’s what I thought. I was just making sure.” (p. 107)
Erwin McManus then goes on to relate this story to how we interact with God sometimes, or should I say, fail to interact with God. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would not want to ask God this question because if we read the Bible, we see more often than not, those who followed Jesus wound up in pretty dangerous and life-threatening situations. It seems we try to ignore that though and try to live as civilized as we can and try to keep our families out of harm’s way. But is that truly unleashing faith?
That is what Unleashed is all about. It is an easy book to read and can be read within a week and yet you will put it down challenged and inspired.
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