This book is a great way to start the holiness conversation, because it's centered around a couple of questions: what is holiness, and why does it matter?
Ideally, we recognize that holiness is about waaaay more than following the modern Evangelical modes of approved behavior, but sometimes we forget, and we make holiness about us.
Think about the way we categorize things-
Gambling in Vegas? Unholy use of money.
Donation to Billy Graham? Holy, of course.
Various peculiar body piercings? Unholy!
True Love Waits ring? Very holy.
Why do we come to these conclusions? Are conservative choices automatically more holy than progressive ones?
Does holiness accumulate like dust does, guaranteeing that older traditions have more of it?
How do we steer toward holiness, if we don't know where it stems from?
Tyler Braun's book points us to this truth: holiness is the nature and ways of God himself. He is Holy, and he showed us his holiness on earth in his Son. So, if we're talking about personal holiness for you and I, then we're talking about drawing close to Christ.
When we say that a person has the quality of holiness, we're (hopefully) speaking about the way they seem to reflect the heart of God.
We're speaking about the way that grace upholds that person, and the way that they work that grace out in fidelity and self-giving.
What does this "holiness-is-given-from-God-as-he-brings-you-near-to-him" approach mean for us, practically?
It means that when we make choices, we're saying as much about God as we are about ourselves.
That's how holiness comes into every arena. There's always something to say about God.
So after walking us through chapters titled Innocence, Shame, and Love, Tyler takes us to the out-working of holiness, in Community and Artistry, and Mission.
This book's only 176 pages, but it's got big concepts to think about. And it's worth reading more than once.
I thank Moody Press Newsroom for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.