Happy Friday, Readers! I’m linking up for another First Line Friday today, and featuring a book that I hope finds a place on my own shelf soon! For now it lives in my local library, where I can revisit it as often as I like (assuming it isn’t already checked out to someone else!).
First Line Friday is a weekly linkup hosted at Hoarding Books. To participate, share the first line of a book of your choice, add the link to the linkup on the host’s page, and check out what others are reading and sharing!
The First Line:
What if the vast majority of our conversations about Christianity are not really about our faith at all?
–Disruptive Witness by Alan Noble
About the Book
Title: Disruptive Witness
Author: Alan Noble
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian Living
Synopsis: We live in a distracted, secular age. These two trends define life in Western society today. We are increasingly addicted to habits―and devices―that distract and “buffer” us from substantive reflection and deep engagement with the world. And we live in what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor calls “a secular age”―an age in which all beliefs are equally viable and real transcendence is less and less plausible. Drawing on Taylor’s work, Alan Noble describes how these realities shape our thinking and affect our daily lives. Too often Christians have acquiesced to these trends, and the result has been a church that struggles to disrupt the ingrained patterns of people’s lives. But the gospel of Jesus is inherently disruptive: like a plow, it breaks up the hardened surface to expose the fertile earth below. In this book Noble lays out individual, ecclesial, and cultural practices that disrupt our society’s deep-rooted assumptions and point beyond them to the transcendent grace and beauty of Jesus. Disruptive Witness casts a new vision for the evangelical imagination, calling us away from abstraction and cliché to a more faithful embodiment of the gospel for our day.
This book, you guys. It is so good, but I have yet to figure out what to say about it. I finished reading Disruptive Witness in early March and, at that time, said on Goodreads that I hoped to write a review “soon(ish).” I think I am going to have to read it again before I can actually formulate a comprehensive review, but suffice it to say that this is truly remarkable and gave me a lot to think about.
As a late-millennial with an affinity for all things vintage, I’m frequently re-evaluating my online presence. Sometimes I find myself spending way too much time online and caught up in internet culture, and other times I pull away completely. It’s becoming more and more difficult to do the latter, because as time goes by, I seem to be connecting with more and more platforms (such as WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, & etc). This book is a useful tool for thinking about the ways that my faith interacts with my online presence and the ways that I interact with each of these platforms and the people who use them. It is especially good for pushing the reader to think more deeply about what you do, in many areas of life but especially with social media and media/Western culture as a whole.
There are several great lines, but I’ll leave you with my favorite passage from near the end:
The gospel is not a preference. It’s not another piece of flair we add to our vest. It’s something far more beautiful and disturbing. The gospel is power to raise the dead, to proclaim the greatness of God in a fallen and confused world. To be a follower of Christ in the early twenty-first century requires a way of being in the world that resists being sucked into the numbing glare of undifferentiated preferences we choose from to define our identity.
The challenge facing us today is not so much the temptation to be relevant to the point that we lose the gospel, but the tendency to unknowingly accept a secular understanding of our faith while believing that we are boldly declaring the gospel.
You would think that since I have had this book checked out from the library since February, I would have been able to read through it more than once. Instead, I spent what could have been prime re-reading time in April reading through the New Testament. I think this is in line with the kind of life Disruptive Witness encourages. Still, I should probably go ahead and buy the book for myself so that I can re-read it eventually (and then give it the full review it deserves).
Don’t forget you can check out other first lines at the linkup hosted by Hoarding Books today!
Until the next chapter,