I recently sat with Josh and Marilyn Kelley in their nearly empty living room, chatting about Josh's new book, Radically Normal, and the ten-month promotional trip they plan to take.
Josh spoke with ease about his own struggles as a "squeaky clean" kid growing up in a Christian home, a young man who earnestly loved Jesus and strove to follow him. But he struggled with just what it meant to be spiritual. Take the witness of Radical Randy, for example. A street preacher, Radical Randy was other-worldly in every way. Even his greetings oozed of Jesus -- in response to a simple, "How are you?" his answer was always, "Blessed, brother!" Josh was confused by Radical Randy and others who seemed to be super-Christians. Admiring their zeal, he was uncomfortable with their obsessiveness. Was that really a requirement for living all-out for Jesus?
Years of life lessons, including the closing of the church Josh pastored for several years and an 18-month stint as a Starbuck employee, helped him come to understand the joy that comes from when one becomes radically normal.
What does it mean to be a normal Christian? This is the thrust of Radically Normal. How do we avoid the extremes of Complacent Christianity on the one hand and Obsessive Christianity on the other? Is it really possible to pursue radical obedience to Christ in our normal, everyday lives? And just how do we do that? These are the issues that Josh Kelley addresses in Radically Normal. Filled with stories and a readable, conversational style, it's the book he wished he'd had when he was younger.
It's the book I wish I'd had too! I found myself identifying with what Josh had to say. Memories flashed to my mind of my trying so hard to live for Jesus that I couldn't see how to just let him live through me. It's an easy trap to fall into.
So how is it that a guy who writes about how to be a radically normal Christian without having to sell your house and become a missionary has now sold his own house and is setting out on a nearly year-long trip? Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?
It's all of matter of one's intention, Josh told me. Do you want to do something because you feel called to it or because that's what you think others want you to do? "For us, it's not a radical choice. We've always talked taking time to travel around the country," Josh said. "When our church closed and the book came out, we thought it was time to take that trip we'd always wanted to take!"
|House sold, van packed; heading out on a grand adventure!|
The Kelleys' things have been packed into their van, put into storage, or disbursed to friends, and their grand adventure has begun. Marilyn will be homeschooling the girls along the way, as well as blogging about the trip. The girls are doing 4th and 6th grades, great ages for exploring the country and meeting lots of new people. She's also working on a book of her own to encourage pastors' wives.
They plan to head south, through the western states, and then travel to the east coast through the southern states, up the east coast, then back through the central states, arriving in Washington State next summer. They'd love to meet you. If your church or college or other group would like to have them stop in to share the book, preach, or just hang out, please get in touch with them. They'd especially appreciate places where they could stay for a couple of days or more. Asked how we can pray for them, Josh and Marilyn said their two biggest needs are speaking engagements and places to stay. Add to that safety on their travels and growth and development as a family.
Click here to learn more about Radically Normal and how you can get a copy of the book for yourself. Follow the Kelleys on Josh's blog and on Marilyn's blog. Their grand adventure just might change your life!