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ESCAPE TO GOD: A Desperate Search for His Presence
Jim Hohnberger, with Tim & Julie Canuteson
Nelson Books
Spiritual Growth
ISBN: 078521447X

Author and now survivalist (in the truest sense, as both skilled outdoorsman and authentic spiritual sojourner) Jim Hohnberger recognized his fast-paced lifestyle wasn't getting him where he wanted to go. With a wife and two sons he didn't have time for, Hohnberger's search for genuine life-altering faith in God sent him across the country more than two decades ago. In this text, Hohnberger details his early family life, his cursory entertainment with religion, and the various rabbit holes he ventured into before making this momentous decision to sell out and go west.

The author cites that his life before the move to the wilderness in Montana left him stressed, hurried, and so pressed that peace didn't factor into his day-to-day equation. Giving a nod to organized churches as the catalyst to a personal faith in Christ that occurred later on, Hohnberger perceptively acknowledges that for years he lived with the assumption that he was a Christian by merit of an academic belief in certain theological concepts. He realized that this head knowledge left him with little understanding of the love of God. Nor was he a recipient of the power God endows his children with to live sacrificial lives. Responding to the inner call, "...be still, and know that I am God," [Ps.46:10] the Hohnberger family closed a familiar chapter of their lives to enter an uncharted one.

In a miraculous turn of events, the Hohnbergers purchased a 960-square foot log cabin on five acres of land that overlooked Glacier National Park in Montana. Once they paid any outstanding debts, Hohnberger was determined not to work for the next three years. This meant scrutinizing each expenditure and living on a mere $500 per month. Doing without and learning to do became daily life musts for the entire family. Yet the Hohnbergers were determined to succeed and relearn how to be an intimate family unit again. Despite initial setbacks with pneumonia, broken bones, no indoor plumbing, fuel loss and truck damage, they weathered every circumstance as well as the inclement weather itself.

During the early years, Hohnberger describes their experiences living in the wild --- both its triumphs and trials --- with personal transparency and a persistently positive outlook. As he reflects upon his family's spiritual transformation, Hohnberger marvels at God's faithful supply of grace, strength and endurance. Time passes and the boys grow up, Hohnberger takes a job as a wilderness realtor and eventually becomes a world traveler speaking to groups of men and women. Looking back, Hohnberger recognizes that four key principles guided him through these years of uncharted territory. Point one: accepting the Bible as the absolute authority in life. Point two: changing church denominations to ensure what he and his family were being taught aligned with point one. Point three: moving to the wilderness to make previous life commitments real and relevant. And point four: lay aside the business world and enter into full-time ministry.

Hohnberger's text is interesting, yet at times it reads choppy, jumping from topic to topic with little transition. Still, readers interested in such outdoor exploits will find this family's outward-bound experience enlightening and unique.


   --- Reviewed by Michele Howe

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