Confessing to someone that you are daydreaming about writing a book is a vulnerable thing. People might think you are silly or presumptuous. And then when you actually do write a book, you feel quite awkward telling your friends about it (well, maybe not all authors feel this way).
I have just finished reading two books by two of my friends, and I want to do my part as a fellow author stumbling along in this book-writing thing to let you know about their projects.
Both books are excellent. Both are born out of deep, profound frustration with the church trumped only by a deep, profound love for the church. I will be interacting with the material a bit later. For now, I’ll just point them out.
Matt Orth‘s book is genre-bending. Seriously—I am not sure how to label his Questions of a Curious Nature: The Incredible Interviews of Annabelle Farrow. It is part fairy-tale, part action-adventure narrative, and %100 an exposé of the church in the contemporary American context. It is an exercise in prophetic and pastoral imagination, something akin to Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in terms of creativity and revelatory wisdom.
Jonathan Martin has just written Prototype. His entire premise is that Jesus has come to show us a new way to be human—he is our prototype, the firstborn from the dead, the Lord of a New Creation. As loved as he is by God, so also are we. Reading this book made me want to be a better pastor, a better husband, a better friend, a better dad—not because Jonathan slams his readers with accusations that we are not being crazy enough or radical enough to please God. Rather, Jonathan calls us to embrace our pathetic brokenness and daringly believe in God’s crazy and radical love for the broken.
More later. But for now, just know these books are out there. They have both challenged and inspired how I view and treat the church. And, I have to say, both are exemplary works of hopeful realism. They are honest and raw about the state of the church today—their critiques are not cynical jabs but prophetic calls for the Bride of Christ to be who we have been saved to become.