My third book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, is officially out today, September 30, 2017.
To write a book is to pour much of oneself into a singular thing for many months and often years. And so to release a book, to send it out into the world on its own for the first time, is both exhilarating and unnerving. One prays that it connects; that the words and ideas in it resonate widely.
And in the case of a book called Uncomfortable, one hopes it leaves people feeling jostled, provoked and challenged (in a good way!).
I wrote Uncomfortable to remind Christians of this: that in spite of the awkwardness, the challenges and the discomfort of local church life, it is worth it. The discomfort of it is how we grow, as we lean not on ourselves but on the Holy Spirit at work within us, supernaturally doing things in and through churches that by all fleshly accounts should not and could not happen.
However hard it gets, however bleak its future may at times seem, God's church will carry on because God is its shepherd. The work will continue until Christ returns for his beautiful bride.
In the meantime the bride is imperfect and not always beautiful! Indeed, she is quite ugly at times. The question for you, and for me and for every Christian, is whether we give up on her or love her faithfully in spite of her flaws, as Christ loves us. I am choosing the latter, however frustrating and costly that may be. And I hope you do too.
Uncomfortable is meant to stretch and challenge readers, but also (ironically) to comfort them. Because to give up the consumeristic expectation of a “perfect church” that “fits me and my particular needs” is to find new freedom and joy in Christ and a deeper reliance on the Holy Spirit.
As I write in the book, on the other side of discomfort is delight in Christ.
If you read this book, thank you. I pray the discussions it prompts and the comforts it challenges are edifying and fruitful for the kingdom.
May we be a generation that trades in consumeristic comfort for the costly cross of Christ.
The best trade we could possibly make.