This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling

by Christine and Adam Jeske

 Intervarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426, 2012, 206 pages, $15.00.

Reviewed by Amy Rozko, director of mobilization, International Teams.

After finishing the first chapter of This Ordinary Adventure by thirty-something married couple Christine and Adam Jeske, I decided my husband should read this book as well. By the end of the second chapter, I was reading it aloud to him every time we were in the car together for more than a quick trip to the store. As someone who is also thirty-something, married-with-kids, and who has seen my own passport gathering dust over the past few years, the message of this book struck an emotional chord. The Jeske’s explore what it means to lead a life full of mission and meaning in contexts that are far from glamorous and encourage us to find extraordinary moments among the ordinary hours of life.

In twelve chapters, the authors address “ordinary” issues such as work, identity, parenting, and money. Christine and Adam take turns writing each chapter in their own unique voice, reflecting on the years they spent living abroad in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa and describing the process and related angst of putting down roots in Wisconsin and giving up their “radical” lifestyle.

Through their honesty and vulnerability, you truly meet Adam and Christine Jeske. There is nothing ordinary about the zest for life and passion for adventure that characterize these two individuals. Their atypical approach to life likely simultaneously inspires and infuriates the average suburban Christine. Reading this book, it can be easy to judge their past choices and question their motives—are they thrill-seekers putting their family at risk just for a rush of adrenaline and a good story to tell? Further reflection might indicate that pursuing this ordinary adventure may mean embracing a bit more risk for the average North American, even if it means embracing a bit more stability for the Jeskes.

Although most readers will probably not be able to relate to their stories of malaria and motorcycle mishaps in strange and exotic locales, through their raw honesty they touch our heartstrings and remind us that, as followers of Jesus, we were made for something more than the American Dream—and that following the radical call of Jesus, whether in Johannesburg or Madison, is always an adventure. This book is about seeing life through a different set of eyes and making choices based on a different set of values than the culture around us dictates.  

Whether your passport, too, is gathering dust on the shelf, or you’ve never left North America, Christine and Adam will grab your heart with their stories and challenge you to embrace the ordinary adventure God has for you. 

Check these titles:
Jeske, Christine. 2010. Into the Mud: Inspiration for Everyday Activists. Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Claiborne, Shane and Tony Campolo. 2012. Red Letter Revolution: What if Jesus Really Meant What He Said? Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Clawson, Julie. 2009. Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press.

Lee, Helen. 2009. The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home and in the World. Chicago: Moody Publishers.

EMQ, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 252-253. Copyright  © 2013 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS).  All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.

 


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