A few years back, I showed a DVD to my college group called The Devil's Playground. It is a documentry of an Amish practice called "Rumspringa". What the Amish do is raise their children the Amish way until they are 16. Then for a period which may be months or years, they live whatever way they like. Many experiment with drugs, alcohol & sex, but the fascinating thing is that something like 85-90% of those who participate in the Rumspringa return to the Amish faith!
Last week I was talking with Fritz Dale director of National Ministries at the EFCA & he mentioned a statistic that once they hit college, 80% of kids raised in the church fall away from the faith...rarely to come back. The difference between these two statistics & outcomes is staggering.
This is a piece of what Mr. McManus talks about in his book, The Barbarian Way. Mr. McManus convincingly calls for followers of Jesus to quit playing it safe, to throw caution to the wind & risk big for the Kingdom. He believes that we are not employed to change the culture so much as change people. We get lost in trying to write legisation that would cause people to act like good Christians should. Instead we need to go (in the spirit of the Great Commission), we need to go & challenge people to live passionately.
(He doesn't go on to say the following, but I believe that it would be a logical conclusion). If we challenge people to live their lives with passion for one thing (regardless of what it is), they will eventually become disillusioned with it, unless that one thing is Jesus Christ. Too often, we live so that we won't get hurt, thinking that God wouldn't let us get hurt. Not even to serve a greater purpose. Mr. McManus believes the opposite, that we know what love is, what joy is, because of suffering, because of hurt. (God didn't even spare His Son of hurt, should we expect any less?).
How does this have anything to do with Rumspringa? Although Mr. McManus does not mention the movie or practice, I think he would appreciate it. He speaks of not allowing his children to be raise out of fear, but out of love. To allow them to come to their own conclusions about the faith & to allow them to a passionate love for God by risking, not safely.
I was suprised by this book. I went into it not expecting much, but came out with a new appreciation for my faith. Check out The Barbarian Way for yourself & leave the comfort of your safe Christianity.