Year of Small Things takes over Instagram

Small things — 12 small but radical faith practices — are much more likely to grab my imagination than big stuff at this stage, amiright?

But I lose my mind when files take too long to download.

Here’s the problem: discernment, community-building, and growing ever closer to Jesus take time. Like a lifetime.

So — here’s one of my favorite phrases: incremental progress.

One of my (Erin’s) favorite things to do is witness with my own eyes incremental progress over time in my Instagram feed (Erin: @SomeWonderland & Sarah: @HolyDreaming). Last year my youngest was a chubby 3-year-old; my third-grader was missing her top teeth. We forget how far we’ve come when we only look at where we are now. And that’s just physical growth: if I scroll back to 2014, I sense my own anxiety over things I now see God’s hand in. Whoa.

I’m telling you, social media can be deep.

So. Join me in documenting incremental progress. Take our Small Things photo challenge.

We invite you, advance readers and fans, to join other Year of Small Things fans in posting pics on Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook (using the hashtag #yearofsmallthings) as you reflect or are inspired by the book.

Use your own ideas of stuff to snap a photo of, or simply follow some prompts we’ve suggested below. (Post as often as you’d like — no pressure. Only fun.) We’ll feature some #yearofsmallthings photos on here as we’re underway!

One more small reminder: #yearofsmallthings. 

 

 

 

 

Year of Small Things: Graphics to share

About a month from now The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us will hit bookstores and mailboxes (eep!). To celebrate, we present this — our first set of shareable graphics for you to paper the Internets in.

Send these graphics whirling around the Twittersphere, bloggosphere, Facebookland, or wherever else you cool cats are hanging out nowadays. Heck, print one and tack it on your fridge. Or your church’s fridge. We have faith your creativity will guide you.

We appreciate your help spreading some of our words. May they spark conversations and imaginations in others as we start to think about our 2017s.

To use: Click the image you want to share — a new page will open with just the image you chose. Right-click and save. Share. Repeat!

Remember to use the hashtag #yearofsmallthings wherever you’re posting! 

 

Thanks for sharing the Small Things love!

Erin & Sarah

Preorder, watch trailer for ‘Year of Small Things’

Preorder, watch trailer for ‘Year of Small Things’

The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us — releasing Jan. 31, 2017 — is almost here! Want the book in your hand or on your Kindle when it releases? Preorder your copy from a favorite retailer and The Year of Small Things will be yours on the same day it’s released into the wild.

Preorders also make great Christmas gifts — and to give someone something to unwrap on Christma295583_yearofsmallthings_calendars morning, we’re offering an incentive.

BONUS: Those who already have or will preorder our book receive in January a free download for a printable, artistic-quality calendar! Simply fill out the form with your purchase information below.

Consider the calendar our invitation for you to embark on your own Year of Small Things in 2017!

(At right is a “conceptual preview,” meaning the image and typography might be slightly different.)

Watch our book trailer above to hear more about the authors’ year of small things — and start imagining what God might have in mind for your small things!

 

Year of Small Things: 10 things to know

Year of Small Things: 10 things to know

Where did the idea for The Year of Small Things come from?

As Sarah tells in more detail in The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us, when she and Tom transitioned from a “new monastic” community in the inner city (a Christian household that included homeless guests) to a suburban parsonage, they struggled to translate their former “radical” practices into their new not-so-radical setting.  

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Mapping out the Year of Small Things

Mapping out the Year of Small Things

Early summer, two years ago:

I (Sarah) pitched an idea to our two families: what if we all took some of the “radical” Christian practices touted by folks like Shane Claiborne and his community The Simple Way and spent a year growing into them? Can downward mobility for Jesus actually happen with debt and diapers and dishes–in suburbia?

Here’s what this looks like on the ground:

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How to find other “ordinary radicals”

How to find other “ordinary radicals”

During my husband Tom’s final year (my first) in seminary at Duke Divinity School, he sent out an email to our ethics class. We knew that once I graduated we would be leaving Isaiah House of Hospitality and everything we had learned in community; Tom would become a United Methodist pastor in Michigan, where we came from. Within Methodism’s appointment system, we would not get to choose our zip code, much less our community. And we could be moved annually thereafter.

So Tom’s email was both a question and an invitation.

The question: How do we live out a vision for community, downward mobility, and radical hospitality within the itinerant (and sometimes subtly upwardly mobile) system of mainline denominations?

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Let’s change the world! But first, naps

Let’s change the world! But first, naps

We had found our church; we had met Tom and Sarah and a slew of other friendly folks there.

But it took us a while to get from acquaintances to deeper friendships.

See, The Year of Small Things’s backbone was a relationship between our two families that went beyond a friendship based on mutual interests. After months of figuring out what to even name this relationship, we settled on “covenantal friendship.”  Covenantal because we actually ratified a document between our families. The piece of paper bound us to uphold, support, and challenge each other. Covenantal is serious business.

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How to find your people (Hint: at church)

How to find your people (Hint: at church)

Dave and I didn’t have a lifelong mission statement, unlike some other people.

We married and had three kids in rapid succession. Since 2008, our lifelong ambition has been to hide the frozen yogurt from the kids.

On the spectrum of radical faith — with Jesus on one end and a bag of marshmallows on the other — Tom and Sarah have been edging ever closer to Jesus since before they were Tom and Sarah. On the other hand, Dave and I simply lived in a succession of beige-walled apartments and one cute single-family house, from Toledo to Lansing by way of Wisconsin.

We spent weeks at our newspaper jobs; weekends doing laundry and watching TV. We have never been arrested for demonstrating outside the Capitol. We haven’t had anyone stay at our house longer than a week or so.

Well, except our children. Do they count?  

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This was new monasticism before ‘The Irresistible Revolution’

This was new monasticism before ‘The Irresistible Revolution’

Lunch. Simply lunch, spurred into being by that announcement at Asbury Temple UMC.

Innocuous enough, and yet life-changing for the Arthurs. I won’t go into how we fell in love with not only the household but the vision, how we prayed, and talked, and came over for more meals. Suffice it to say, by fall semester we did not renew our lease on the one-bedroom near Duke.

We moved into the ‘hood–and stayed. For three years we shared a household with other community members committed to simplicity, hospitality, sustainability, and reconciliation—as well as with women and children in transition out of homelessness.

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One lunch, one mission: desegregate ourselves by race and by class

One lunch, one mission: desegregate ourselves by race and by class

You know that feeling of regional vertigo, when you’ve been traveling so long that when you climb out of the car or step off the plane you can barely remember your own name, much less what state or country you’re in?

Maybe you’re hungry, and you think, “I’ll just grab a burrito from Cosmic Cantina on the way to the hotel,” and then you realize that Cosmic Cantina is roughly 867 miles away, and you haven’t a clue where to get food around here. Yeah, that. In addition to the bodily weirdness of traveling so far, there’s now a mini existential crisis, a spiritual displacement, as if your very identity, including the God you worship, is now up for grabs.

All because you walk on unfamiliar ground. Which is another way of saying that place matters.

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