Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: Embracing Obscurity

Books that unsettle

I read a lot and glean at least a kernel of useful information from everything I read. Perhaps a snippet of information that might someday be useful, perhaps a way of seeing things that is new to me and helps clarify my vision.

Sometimes I read a book that shakes the walls of smug complacency that delineate my life. I have written about two such books in the past and will mention them again at the end of this post.

Another is The Power of Weakness by Dan Schaeffer. He tells us that most of us have it wrong when we think of what it takes to be useful in the kingdom of God. God wants to use us to glorify Himself, but we think that it is God’s plan to glorify us. That seems ridiculous at first, but if we examine our unspoken ambitions, we are apt to squirm at the realization that Schaeffer has identified the root of our ineffectiveness.

The book that really makes me uncomfortable is The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. Let me admit from the start that I was put off by the intense emotions that pulsate through this book. I have spent too much of my life stifling my emotions to welcome a book that invites me to be vulnerable, that tells me that admitting my brokenness is the key to the abundant life. But she is right.

These four books are an antidote to the smugness of so much modern Christian literature. I believe it is good to read books that shake us up. I don’t endorse everything that is said in these books, but may they be a means of refining our motives for serving our Lord and Saviour.

The four books are:

Humble Roots, © 2016 by Hannah Anderson, published by Moody Publishers

Embracing Obscurity, © 2012 by Anonymous, published by B & H Publishing Group, Nashville

The Power of Weakness, © 2014 by Dan Schaeffer, published by Discovery House Publishers

The Broken Way, © 2016 by Ann Voskamp, published by Zondervan

Book Review: Embracing Obscurity, by anonymous

There’s no end to the amount of good a person can do, if they don’t care who gets the credit for it.   I presume the person who said that doesn’t mind that I don’t remember who he or she was.  I aspire to be a person such as this sentence describes.  Or do I?  There is a tenacious longing within me to get the credit, without the cost of actually doing anything difficult or risky.

Someone has finally written a book about my ailment.  Here is the way he introduces the book:

“What do you, me, a student, a musician, a stay-at-home mom, a laid-off blue-collar worker, a pastor, and a successful entrepreneur all have in common?

“We’re drunk.

“In our defense the epidemic is so common that most of us don’t even know we’re under the influence.  We’re confused, blinded, and wandering around like sailors at dawn; but, then again, so is everyone else, so why should we be alarmed?  But this unsuspected poison is simultaneously numbing us, diverting our attention from the kingdom and undermining the gospel of Christ.

“We’re drunk all right.  We’re intoxicated with a desire to be known, recognized, appreciated, and respected.  We crave to be a ‘somebody’ and do notable things, to achieve our dreams and gain the admiration of others.   To be something – anything – rather than nothing.”

The writer does not equate obscurity with mediocrity.   The book is well-written, on target, and quite merciless in pointing our how we have become polluted with pride.

Our purpose on earth is to make God’s name great, advance His kingdom, and serve others.  None of that requires that we become rich and famous or exalt ourselves above others in any way.

This is a book to read over a couple of times to fully absorb its impact.  then it should move us to abandon the pride that hinders us from being effective in working for the advancement of the kingdom of God.

Embracing Obscurity – becoming nothing in light of God’s everything, copyright 2012 by Anonymous, published by  B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee.  ISBN 978-1-4336-7781-6

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