Author: Daniel Ryan Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.
Review by: Jason Isaacs
In his book “Ten Days Without”, Daniel Ryan Day challenges his reader to go ten days without certain comforts in order to increase awareness about social problems in our world. Specifically, the challenges are designed to address the issues of disease, homelessness, distraction, poverty, disabilities, environmentalism, slavery, and social “untouchables” (widows, orphans, prisoners, and other neglected people). Day shares eight challenges that he completed and how each of the challenges transformed his attitude, increased his awareness, and affected his behavior.
An example of the ten day challenges, Daniel decided to go ten days without shoes in order to “provide shoes for children around the world who don’t have any.” He maintained his normal daily schedule as closely as he could and noticed the ways that not having shoes made his day more difficult. He learned how much we take having shoes for granted and what the consequences are for people around the world who do not have shoes. He used this challenge as an opportunity to organize a shoe drive and raise funds to buy shoes for children.
These challenges grew out of Day’s frustration that “I enjoyed sitting with friends and talking about problems that we saw in the church or the world. But for some reason, I was a lot better at talking about problems than doing anything about them. I would end up getting too busy or too distracted, or I just wouldn’t care enough.” He wanted to do more to understand these problems and use these experiences as a catalyst for action.
Day tells us that the personal result of these challenges was that he became “more aware and more motivated, and I believe the same thing will happen in your life.” He also says that these challenges will keep people from falling into what he calls slacktivism, which he describes as “the idea that you have somehow contributed to the greater good without actually doing anything.”
I recommend reading the last chapter first as I think this is the strongest chapter in the book. This chapter made his goals and intentions much clearer, and provided some cohesion for the various challenges. Day shares that he wants to experience a transformative journey in response to the work that God has done in his own life; he also shares his desire to go from self-centered faith to an others-centered faith. He wants to put feet on the work of spiritual maturity, and he provides his readers with a similar call to action.
If friends told me that they wanted to do more to grow in the ways Day describes in the final chapter, these experiments are not what I would recommend. I would suggest that they simply ask God to help them have a deeper understanding any of these issues and trust that God will bring people and circumstances in their life to accomplish the same goals. By doing so, I believe God will provide each of them with an adventure of obedience and transformation they could not otherwise plan or anticipate.
While I would not recommend these experiments, I would encourage everyone to learn how to understand our role in a broken world, which spurs us to love people who are often overlooked and how to be a good steward of all that we have been given. I am glad for the spiritual growth that Daniel describes in his book. At the same time, I challenge everyone that God will transform you when you decide to surrender to His work, ask Him for wisdom, and decide to obey Him moment by moment. You will certainly be invited to experience an adventure of obedience.
I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review