I'm thrilled to announce that on September 30, 2017, I will release my third book:
Crossway is publishing the book, and the wonderful Russell Moore (!) has kindly written a foreword. Here's a look at the cover design:
I'll be sharing a lot about Uncomfortable in coming months, but here's a bit about it to give you a sense for the general concept:
A key idea in the book is that discomfort is good for us. Whether in a sport or a skill or in our spiritual lives, we grow most when we are outside of our “comfort zones.” We are more effective when we are on the edge of risk. We hold beliefs more dear and pursue goals more passionately when they are accompanied by a cost.
Uncomfortable applies this idea to the local church, calling Christians to embrace, rather than avoid, the necessity of grounding their faith in a local church context, however uncomfortable/awkward/frustrating it may be. What if we learned to love churches even when—or perhaps because—they challenge us and stretch us out of our comfort zones? This article I wrote last year for The Gospel Coalition, "Church Should Feel Uncomfortable," captures the spirit of the book well.
We are conditioned by consumerism to "shop" for churches according to our checklist of preferences, looking for "the perfect fit." But Uncomfortable argues for a post-consumer Christianity where we give up the "dream church" and "perfect fit" fallacy and ask not how a church "fits us," but how we are "being fit" into the likeness of Christ.
I believe there is a reverse correlation between the comfortability of Christianity and its vibrancy. I suggest in the book that when the church is uncomfortable and countercultural, she is strong. Exactly what shape this "countercultural" posture should take is a current topic of much debate (see The Benedict Option), but my take is that it must be first and foremost grounded in local church communities, however awkward and uncool and seemingly mundane they might be.
If my first book, Hipster Christianity, critiqued the way modern evangelicals idolize cool and look for "relevance" in misguided places, this book argues that the most relevant thing about 21st century Christianity is that it provides a countercultural vision of comfort, subverts the cancer of consumerism and sees the church's oddity not as an embarrassing liability, but as a hopeful possibility. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones says, “The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she ￼invariably attracts it.” ￼
I'll share more about the book soon, including the chapter list, endorsements, excerpts and more. But in the meantime, you can read this new interview I did with Matthew Hosier for the UK's "Think" blog, where I talk (among other things) about the book.