It is my delight to commend to you my friend Tyler Braun's new book, Why Holiness Matters, as well as to give a copy away!
But I'll warn you now, I shall only quote two lines from the book.
Why? Because I believe that there are two key places in the book in which Braun excels and on that commendation alone, I should recommend this book to young, lay evangelicals with gladness.
Why Holiness Matters is a good introductory resource for young evangelicals to engage the modern crisis of pursuing holiness in the midst of a increasingly culturally compromising Church. Braun's writing is crisp, direct, and sound, inviting readers to consider their identify as a Christian to be first and foremost one that is found through the intimacy with God experienced through Jesus Christ, which is ultimately a manifestation of an agented, lived holiness.
I have already told you I shall quote only two lines from the actual text. Here is the first: "For a long time I was quite skilled in knowing all the reasons why certain traditions had no point or purpose."
Then of course, those of you who have been long time readers know, I stumbled into an Episcopal and ultimately Anglican church and started bowing and crossing and genuflecting with the best of them. I still love my Bible and have a civil relationship with Martin Luther, but I want to highlight Braun's important understanding that what we have lost in large part in the modern church is a sense of sustainable tradition. That is, Braun highlights that what has resulted in modern church is parodying of the true meaning these traditions are to hold. Outside of a conversation of holiness they cannot stand, therefore they have become empty to most evangelicals. The crossing, bowing, genuflecting is nothing more than a gesture toward Emptiness. While Braun doesn't ask you to bow toward and altar, he does direct that command toward your heart.
He echoes, well, the words of God: Be holy as I am holy.
Better still is the insight Braun brings to the modern crisis of the journey metaphor: "We are each yearning for something better than what we've lived thus far."
The common evangelical metaphor is journey, so common that we have stripped the word and left it wounded and begging in the streets. We apply it to our inability to have a concrete belief, our methodology for not holding down a job, our reason for parodying the traditions. Braun roots firmly the image of journey in the ultimate vision of the Cross of Christ. He places the teleological end of our redemption not in mere salvation but in the sanctification of ourselves through that Cross unto the resurrection. This yearning, he illuminates, is a yearning for Home.
We come Home only by way of our Lord. We come Home only through our continual sanctification, our desire for His holiness, actively working in our lives.
If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Why Holiness Matters, simply leave a comment below between now and 12:00 AM CST on Monday, August 13th, answering this question: What does holiness mean to you?
UPDATE: It looks like we have a winner, Keli M!