Faith of Leap, The: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage


As Helen Keller observed, "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

To Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, so much of how we have learned to experience and understand the faith has been divorced from the overarching adventure inherent in our God and in our calling. This book is a corrective to ...

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The Faith of Leap (Shapevine): Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage

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As Helen Keller observed, "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

To Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, so much of how we have learned to experience and understand the faith has been divorced from the overarching adventure inherent in our God and in our calling. This book is a corrective to the dull, adventureless, risk-free phenomenon that describes so much of contemporary Christianity. It explores the nature of adventure, risk, and courage and the implications for church, discipleship, spirituality, and leadership.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801014154
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Series: Shapevine
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,259,284
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Frost is vice principal of Morling College; founding director of the Tinsley Institute at Morling college in Sydney, Australia; and a Baptist minister. He is the author of Jesus the Fool, Seeing God in the Ordinary, and Exiles, and the coauthor of The Shaping of Things to Come. He lives in Australia.

Alan Hirsch is founding director of Forge Mission Training Network and cofounder of, an international forum for engaging with world-transforming ideas. Currently he leads an innovative learning program called Future Travelers which helps megachurches become missional movements. He is the author of numerous books, including The Forgotten Ways, and coauthor of Untamed and Right Here, Right Now. Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area.

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Table of Contents

About the Shapevine Missional Series 11

Series Editor's Preface 13

The End of the Beginning: Introduction 15

From the Leap of Faith to the Faith of Leap 17

The End of the Beginning 20

Casting Off in the Midst of Crisis 23

1 The Spirit's Edge: Putting Adventure Back into the Venture 27

The Elements of a Liminal Life 30

Cultivating a Holy Urgency 39

Leading in Liminality 43

The Upside of Down: The By-Products of Liminality 46

The Burning Platform 48

2 Jesus Is My Disequilibrium: Where Friends Become Comrades 51

Communit-eh? 53

Dr. Turner, I Presume … 55

Communion, Up in the Air 58

Liminality-Communitas by the Book 61

The Rhythm of Life 65

Everyday Adventure 69

Embedding an Adventure Spirituality 72

3 A Walk on the Wilder Side: Overcoming Fear in Pursuit of Wild Hope 79

The Faith of Leap 80

Putting Fear into Perspective 82

The Church's Role 86

A Vision Bigger Than Our Fears 87

The Educational Aspects of Adventure 92

Stakeholding 99

Burn the Boats! 100

4 The Hero's Journey: Becoming Who We Were Made to Be 103

The Hero with a Thousand Faces 106

What Did Jesus Do? 110

Myth-Making 112

Reel Communitas 114

You Are a Hero, Now Be One 118

Broadening It All Out 121

The Missional Matrix 122

5 Getting Over Risk Aversion: Extracting Truth from Dare 129

Searching for the Sweet Spot 130

The Remarkable Story of Risk 132

Addressing Our Loss Aversion 136

The Removal of Risk in Contemporary Society 139

Leadership and the Risk-Averse 142

Risk-Taking and the Dangers of Individualism 145

6 Missional Catalysis: Thinking Differently about the Church and Her Mission 153

The Great Divorce 155

Is a Can Opener a Can Opener …? 158

What on Earth Is the Church For? 159

Mission as Catalysis 167

7 The Risk of Neighborliness: An Invitation to Take the Plunge 179

Suburban Homelessness 182

Risky Negotiation 186

Missionary, Grow Home! 193

Bringing It All Home 196

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There! 201

The Beginning of the End: Conclusion 205

Notes 209

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Finding the Adventure of Life God Offers Churches and Individuals

    College professors Frost and Hirsh write a well-reasoned book that must not be read lightly. They challenge people and churches to analyze their status and allow themselves dissatisfaction with a safe and secure life. The writers discuss the deep longing inside every human for adventure and excitement in life. Adventure is exactly what God desires for us. To find excitement with God we must assess where we are and realize the importance of living differently. We need a sense of mission for our lives and for our churches. Jesus said "He who saves his life will lose it." These authors say many churches and church-goers are stuck in that living death. We seek stable lives, free from danger and our government supports that desire. The title stems from the truth that finding adventure with God requires a leap into a different way of living. Faith controls that leap. With quotes from an impressive range of literature, science, movies and human examples, Frost and Hirsch support their assertions that we must risk the danger of an unsettled life or intellectually, emotionally and spiritually wither. The authors examine why we miss the adventures God offers and how to be different. They discuss why we seek sterile, supposedly safe lives. They also know that God's type of change requires a community, not individuals alone. Community satisfies another deep human need, for intimate, caring, committed relationships. The Faith of Leap is an exciting book, although not one to read casually.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Drawing on sources as diverse as J.R.R. Tolkien, sociology, anthropology, mythology and Disney films, authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch take a close look at ideas of adventure, heroism, and risk-taking as a means of both missional outreach and fostering deep community within the church. They outline elements of hero myth to illuminate the desire and need for adventure, for breaking out that lies deep within each person and describe how these yearnings find their source in the life of Jesus Christ who exemplified this idea of adventure and risk-taking.

    In contemporary society, risk is an enemy and we work sedulously to remove it; we have become a risk-averse people, insulating ourselves from many experiences that might otherwise have proven beneficial. The authors predict the end of the Western Church as we know it if it continues to embrace the false idols of comfort and security and is unwilling to get out of its insular building and into the lives of the community in which it is placed. A bold and sobering claim to be sure, but one eminently worth considering.

    Using as an example Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the deep community forged among the members of the fellowship through shared trial and hardship, the authors offer a solution that explores how the church can and must embrace risk and adventure by consciously placing itself in risk situations that foster liminality. Liminality is a place of disorientation due to loss of familiar context, where members of a community must rely on each other in order to survive, thus creating bonds that run much deeper than is the case with ordinary acquaintances or passing friends; in fact, creating the type of community that people long for. Much church community these days looks more like a mixture of sharing, Bible study, and support group. These have their necessary place, but far deeper and more meaningful community can be accessed through shared adventures and risk-taking.

    What does such risk look like? The authors suggest that it is the missional risk of being neighborly, of meeting people where they are in their lives; of being rooted in a community and becoming part of it; learning who its leaders, advocates and outcasts are; working there and living there; saying yes to all invitations; listening. In short, willingly casting aside comfort, being okay with unknown outcomes and casting aside the need to control of such outcomes.

    If you care about the future of the church or creating deep community, I would highly recommend this book.

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