My new book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christianity Community, is being published in September by Crossway. The book is about the comforting gospel of Jesus Christ that leads us to live uncomfortable lives for him. It’s about recovering a willingness to do hard things, to embrace hard truths, to do life with hard people for the sake and glory of the One who did the hardest thing.
Each chapter of the book explores some “uncomfortable” aspect of becoming the church Jesus wants us to be. Here's a list and brief summaries of the book's 14 chapters:
Part I: Uncomfortable Faith
Chapter 1: Embrace the Discomfort. Christians who seek growth should embrace, rather than fear or disown, the difficult aspects of following Jesus.
Chapter 2: The Uncomfortable Cross. What does it mean that a macabre execution device is the central symbol of our faith? What does it look like to embrace suffering and sacrifice?
Chapter 3: Uncomfortable Holiness. Christians are called to be a set-apart people, pursuing values different than the world around them. This involves the uncomfortable but essential process of pursuing holiness and not settling for mere authenticity.
Chapter 4: Uncomfortable Truths. Following Jesus means accepting truths that are uncomfortable in today’s world, whether it be a biblical sexual ethic, the reality of hell, the idea that the universe was created, or any number of other unfashionable things.
Chapter 5: Uncomfortable Love. Jesus calls his followers not only to love truth but also to love others, radically. Christlike love doesn’t just look like the passivity of niceness or tolerance. It is active, uncomfortable, and unconditional.
Chapter 6: Uncomfortable Comforter. Jesus gives Christians the Holy Spirit as a paraclete, a “Comforter” to indwell us, guide us into truth and grow in him. But for many Christians the role of the Spirit is a source of controversy and unease.
Chapter 7: Uncomfortable Mission. Christianity would be a lot more comfortable if we could just keep to ourselves and mind our own business. But we are called to mission, to tirelessly serve others and evangelize, which is not easy.
Part II: Uncomfortable Church
Chapter 8: Uncomfortable People. People are flawed and weird and self-serving; it’s a wonder any of us get along. And yet for Christians striving to be the church, overcoming “people problems,” and bearing with one another in love is essential.
Chapter 9: Uncomfortable Diversity. It’s uncomfortable doing church with people who are very different from us. But unity amidst diversity is one of the greatest testaments to the power of the gospel. It’s an uncomfortable thing we must strive for.
Chapter 10: Uncomfortable Worship. Everyone has a preference about style of worship music, prayer, liturgy, etc. Yet putting aside personal preferences and embracing unified, God-centric worship is part of what it means to follow Jesus together.
Chapter 11: Uncomfortable Authority. Reluctance to submit to authority is the reason many people abandon church or create their own custom spirituality. Yet Christianity would be chaos without the guardrails of authority.
Chapter 12: Uncomfortable Unity. The challenge and messiness of unity in the body of Christ will be increasingly urgent as the need for partnership and mutual support among the “Christian remnant” becomes greater.
Chapter 13: Uncomfortable Commitment. The perfect church does not exist, but committing to a church in spite of its flaws is essential, and worth it. Churchless Christianity is an oxymoron.
Chapter 14: Countercultural Comfort. There is comfort for those who follow Jesus, but not in the sense that a consumer society defines comfort.
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