On Friday, I turned in the edited and revised manuscript for my first book, The Scandal of Holiness: Dirty Hands, Unclean Lips, and the Power of Redemptive Embrace.
It’s the almost conclusion to a journey that began over 2 years ago.
The conclusion will come this September when the book is finally released.
The message of this book is something near and dear to my heart.
I grew up in tradition for whom the call to holiness was (and is) of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, the answering of that call often ended up in legalism and a life defined by what we didn’t do and who we didn’t associate with. But, of course, you don’t have to be a part of my tradition to have experienced a version of the Christian faith that is defined by this sort of legalism and negation.
Even though Jesus embodied a form of holiness which defied boundaries in order to seek out the lost, the least, and the dying, we’ve too often spent the 2,000 years since avoiding them at all costs and rebuilding the walls Jesus sought to tore down.
The Scandal of Holiness is an attempt to recapture the sort of holy life Jesus embodied and to which I think we all share a calling as his disciples, and reimagine it for life in the 21st century.
At the heart of the book is the claim our identity as the holy people of God is not defined by a list of things we don’t do, but the ways in which we actively and sometimes scandalously incarnate the love, grace, hope, and healing of God to a lost and dying world.
I am convinced that this vision of the Christian life is more Biblically faithful than either the legalism so many of us have experienced or the cheap grace that so much of the church peddles to the world in its obsessive pursuit of converts instead of disciples.
Talking about holiness in a world, or for that matter a church, for whom it is usually seen as either impossible or irrelevant, won’t be easy. I’ll need your help to get the conversation started and to keep it going beyond just a momentary flash in the pan. But from the bottom of my heart I believe the sort of holy life Jesus embodied and calls us to live has the power within it to do nothing less than change the world.
So, in the coming weeks in months I’ll be talking more and more the message of the book, its release, and how you can get involved creating a scandal in the church.
It should be fun.
Until then, I owe you all a sincere word of thanks for letting me have a break last week to finish the manuscript and take a moment to recoup. It was time I really needed.
In the immortal words of Elvis, thank you, thank you very much.
Grace and peace,