Book Review: Dangerous Wonder

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

I finished the book Dangerous Wonder earlier this week, and just wanted to say a few words about it, and again, highly recommend the read. It’s actually a very short book, and full of very cool stories of people living life recklessly, irresponsibly, and altogether fantastically.

You might not think reckless and irresponsible would lead to “fantastic” but in this case, they do.

Mike Yaconelli presents a case for living life like a child. The last chapter kind of surmised the whole thing: be like a little kid. Jesus told us that we wouldn’t see the kingdom unless we did, and it’s so true. When we lose our kid-ness (and become “grown ups”) we forget what it’s like to trust, to play, to enjoy the moment, to be excited about the ordinary, and to be able to ask for help. All of those things are essential parts of life in the kingdom of God. And all are far too easy forgotten.

There were a few great, real-life stories of unabashed, unashamed grace and love shown to people – who did not deserve it. Usually from a child to an adult. You really need to read the book, but let me give you a couple examples.

He told of a type-A dad who had a very set routine every day when he came home from work. It was so set that his three-year-old son knew it by heart as well. One day, when he came home, the son came up to him and told him he had something for him. So he went over to the counter where the cookies were, climbed up (almost knocking down all the glasses) got a cookie… spilled the rest of them, but put them back… even poured a glass of milk for his dad – spilling a bunch on the floor in the process.

The best part of the story — the dad just smiled, and accepted the gift of love from his son! It would have been easy to criticize all the mistakes, and the mess… but in a moment of greatness, he just let his son love him. What a great story!

The other story was near the end of the book, and featured the author himself. He and his wife had taken in a teenage boy for a time who had an abusive, drunken father. He eventually went on his way, but as “luck” would have it, a couple years later, the author and his wife needed to have some flooring installed, and the only contractor available to do it was the “drunken father!” They protested, but the supply company insisted, it was him or a very long wait. They chose the drunken father, but kept a very careful eye on him, assuming he would somehow try to cheat them.

As the work progressed to the final stages, Yaconelli came in to inspect and said that he’d be in his office, so the contractor could come get his payment there. Drunken father replied, “Oh yes, I need to talk with you about the bill.” Yaconelli was infuriated and was certain that the man would try to weasel more money out of them – but he would hold firm!

When the man came in, finished with his work, he sat down and began writing out the bill. Yaconelli said he was quite ready to take on anything this guy had to dish out. But when the contractor finished writing, he looked up and said, “A couple years ago, I was a drunk, and I abused my family. You guys took in my son at a crucial time in his life, and saved my family. I’ve been sober ever since, and it has a lot to do with what you did for our family.” Then he handed them the bill marked “Paid In Full”.

That is just a perfect picture of grace. The unloveable was the one doing the loving. So cool.

Lots of great moments like that, and a reminder to live life to the fullest – like Jesus said he came to bring us – and definitely worth the read! Click the book cover above to buy a copy, or just check it out at your local library.

Next, in the queue… CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, as well as In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.


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