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Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different

Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different

4.5 10
by Tulllian Tchividjian

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Tullian Tchividjian remembers the Sunday morning he woke up hung over, still dressed in the clothes he'd worn until passing out during a night of partying. After five-years of hard living, Tullian had come to the end of himself. He got up and went down the street to church. What he found there shocked him--a community of Christians who joyfully and radically lived


Tullian Tchividjian remembers the Sunday morning he woke up hung over, still dressed in the clothes he'd worn until passing out during a night of partying. After five-years of hard living, Tullian had come to the end of himself. He got up and went down the street to church. What he found there shocked him--a community of Christians who joyfully and radically lived out the Gospel in ways he’d never seen before. The encounter showed him a new way of living in the world–and he came to personal faith in Christ. // Tullian's experience convinced him that young Christians today don’t want a faith community that tries to come off as appealing and trendy. Christ followers are called to embrace a standard that’s "out of this world.” Why? Because the only way to make a difference in the world is by being different. // To help his listeners re-imagine a radically "unfashionable” lifestyle, Tullian examines what Gospel-infused priorities would look like in relationships, community, work, finances and culture. Listeners will come away with a clear picture of what it means to live subversively–and redemptively–for God.

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Christianaudio Seed
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Read an Excerpt

From the foreword to the book by Tim Keller:
“Here you will learn how we must contextualize, how we Christians should be as active in Hollywood, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, and Harvard Square (if not more) than the halls of Washington, DC. And yet, there are ringing calls to form a distinct, ‘thick’ Christian counter-culture as perhaps the ultimate witness to the presence of the future, the coming of the Kingdom.”

1 A Cry for Difference

One of the great attractions of Christianity to me is its sheer absurdity.

I wish everyone could have had my upbringing. I come from a line of devout Christians who have been used by God in various ways to change the world. As far back as I can trace, strong Christian conviction
and devotion to Jesus Christ have been defining marks of my family legacy—a gracious gift to me from God, something I neither asked for nor deserved.

That heritage goes beyond my maternal grandparents, Billy and Ruth Graham, faithful servants of the kingdom of God for the last sixty-five years. It also includes my dad, a respected psychologist, who has always put service to God and others before himself. And it includes my mom, a Christian writer and speaker whose ministry to women, especially to mothers and wives, has spanned the globe.

With a large family entrusted to them (I’m the middle of seven children—five boys and two girls), my parents worked hard to create a home atmosphere that encouraged us kids to take God seriously but
not take ourselves too seriously. The flavor of Christianity they cultivated in our family was joyful,warm, inviting, hospitable, and real, not legalistic or oppressive. We laughed hard and often, mostly at ourselves.We were trained to think deeply about God, to feel passionately for God, and to live urgently in response to God. The gospel, according to my parents, needed to be understood with our heads, felt with our hearts, and worked out with our hands. Anything short of this was a less-than-balanced expression of true Christianity. They taught us to think, to read, to pray, to sing, to cry, to love, to serve.

Growing up,my brothers and sisters walked the straight and narrow for the most part, rarely giving my parents any real trouble. And then there was me. Different story!

Maybe it was because, despite my healthy upbringing, I found it difficult being the middle child. There’s a large age gap between my three older siblings and my three younger ones, and I couldn’t figure out if I was the youngest of the older set or the oldest of the younger group. I was in the unenviable position of being both a youngest child and an oldest child. Faced with this tension, I should have “cast all my
anxiety on the Lord,” as I was taught. But I didn’t. Unsure of where I fit inside the family, I set out trying to fit outside of it.

At sixteen I dropped out of high school. Then, because my lifestyle had become so disruptive to the rest of the household, my grieving parents decided to kickme out of the house. But I refused to go quietly.On thatmemorable, dreadful afternoon, I was escorted off my parents’ property by the police.

I’ll never forget sitting in the back of that police car and looking out the window at my crying mother. I felt no grief, no shame, no regret. In fact, I was pleased with my achievements. Having successfully
freed myself from the constraints of teachers and parents, I could now live every young guy’s dream. No one to look over my shoulder, no one to breathe down my neck, no one to tell me what I could and
couldn’t do. I was finally free—or so I thought.

My newfound freedom had me chasing the things of this world harder than most othersmy age. I sought acceptance, affection,meaning, and respect behind every worldly tree and under every worldly rock.The siren song of our culture promisedme that by pursuing the right people, places, and things, I’d find the belonging I craved. If I could look, act, and talk a certain way, my deep itch to fit in would finally get scratched.

But it didn’t work out that way.The more I pursued those things, the more lost I felt.The more I drank from the well of worldly acceptance, the thirstier I became; the faster I ran toward godless pleasure, the farther I felt from true fulfillment; themore I pursued freedom, the more enslaved I became. At twenty-one I found myself hungering for belonging more than ever.

The world hadn’t satisfied me the way it had promised, the way I’d anticipated. The world’s message and methods had, in fact, hung me out to dry. I felt betrayed. Lied to. I desperately needed to be rescued
by something—or Someone—out of this world.

Punctured Roof

One morning I woke up with an aching head and a sudden stark awareness ofmy empty heart.Having returned tomy apartment after another night of hard partying on Miami’s South Beach, I’d passed
out with allmy clothes on.Hours later, as I stirred to a vacant, painful alertness, I realized it was Sunday morning. I was so broken and longing for something transcendent, for something higher than anything
this world has to offer, that I decided to go to church. I didn’t even change my clothes. I jumped up and ran out the door.

I arrived late and foundmy way to the only seats still available, in the balcony. It wasn’t long before I realized how different everything was in this place. I immediately sensed the distinctiveness of God. In the music, in the message, and in the mingling afterward, it was clear that God, not I, was the guest of honor there. Having suffered the bankruptcy of our society’s emphasis on self-fulfillment, I was remarkably refreshed to discover a place that focused on the centrality of God.

I didn’t understand everything the preacher said that morning, and I didn’t like all the songs that were sung. But at that point the style of the service and what people were wearing became nonissues. They
could have all looked Amish or all like hipsters from Brooklyn; they could have been singing old songs or new songs—it didn’t matter.

Why? Because that morning I encountered something I couldn’t escape, somethingmore joltingly powerful than anything I’d ever experienced, something that went above and beyond typical externals.

Through both the music and the message, the transcendent presence of God punctured the roof, leaving me—like Isaiah when he entered the temple—awestruck and undone. I was on the receiving end of something infinitely larger than grand impressions of human talent. God was on full display. It was
God, not the preacher or the musicians, who was being lifted up for all to see. It wasn’t some carefully orchestrated performance (which, believe me, I would have seen right through). Rather, the people of
God were simply honoring God as God.

In the Bible the glory of God is God’s “heaviness,” his powerful presence. It is God’s prevailing excellence on display. That’s what I encountered that morning. I met a God who is majestically and brilliantly in command.

I was a seeker being reached, not by aman-centered, trendy show, but by a God-centered, transcendent atmosphere. I was experiencing what Ed Clowney, the late president of Westminster Theological Seminary, used to call “doxological evangelism.” It was, quite literally, out of this world.

Here, finally, was the radical difference I’d been longing for.

After the service I couldn’t leave. I had to stick around and find out who these people were. As I talked with some of them, I was struck by how different they seemed from the group I’d been out with the
night before (or any other night, for that matter). The people here seemed more solid, less superficial, more real, more grounded. They asked me questions. They listened. They genuinely cared about one
another—andme.They were indisputably peculiar, in a refreshing way.

Back in my apartment that afternoon, I thought long and hard about what had made my experience that morning so magnificently satisfying.What stood out most was just how refreshingly different it was, compared to everything I’d come to believe was cool and in style. In fact, according to the culturally fashionable standards I’d come to embrace, everything I had encountered in church that morning was
delectably unfashionable. I had not only encountered radically different people, but through those people I had encountered a radically different God—and as a result I could sense that I was being pulled in a radically different direction. The profound difference I had experienced that morning had already made a profound difference in my life—a difference that would last forever.

I couldn’t wait to go back the next week.

Looking for What?

It’s been many years since that riveting morning in church. Now I’m a pastor trying to reach the kind of person I used to be. So I reflect on that time in my life and ponder, What was I looking for? And why?

My experience in church that morning convinced me that serious seekers today aren’t looking for something appealing and trendy. They’re looking for something deeper than what’s currently in fashion.
The point I want to drive home in this book is that Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same.

This is critically important, because in our trend-chasing world it’s tempting for Christians to slowly lose their distinctiveness by accommodating to culture. But by trying so hard to fit in, many Christians risk having nothing distinctive to say to those who feel, in Walker Percy’s memorable phrase, “lost in the cosmos.”

In contrast, I’m asking you to embrace the delicious irony Christ demonstrated in bringing a message of God’s kingdom that subversively transforms both individuals and the world. Only by being properly unfashionable can we engage our broken world with an embodied gospel that witnesses to God’s gracious promise of restoration, significance, and life.

As you’ll come to see in the pages ahead, by unfashionable I’m not talking about what you wear or how you look, the lingo you use or the music you listen to. I’m talking about something deeper,more significant— and much more demanding.

I want to help you reimagine the potential impact of a radically unfashionable lifestyle. I want to show you whatGod-soaked, gospelinfused priorities look like in relationships, community,work, finances, and culture—and how those priorities can change the world. I’mhoping you’ll work your way through this book (and the study guide at the back) and gain a clearer picture of what itmeans to live subversively—
and redemptively—for God and his expanding kingdom. My earnest prayer is that this book will help to mobilize a generation of God saturated missionaries who will live against the world for the world.

So let’s get started.

What People are Saying About This

�Here you will learn how we must contextualize, how we Christians should be as active in Hollywood, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, and Harvard Square (if not more) than the halls of Washington, DC. And yet, there are ringing calls to form a distinct, �thick� Christian counter-culture as perhaps the ultimate witness to the presence of the future, the coming of the Kingdom.�
�Tullian Tchividjian, one of today�s brightest young Christian leaders, makes a refreshing call for orthodoxy. He does not apologize for the Gospel; he wears it like a red badge of courage. Read this book to recover the faith once for all delivered to the saints in fresh, courageous terms.�
� Chuck Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship and author of The Faith

�The modern evangelical movement was launched by the crusades of Billy Graham. It will recover its identity only if it heeds this challenge by his grandson.�
� John Seel, Donegality Productions LLC and author of The Evangelical Forfeit and co-editor of No God but God

�Plainly, powerfully, and pastorally, Unfashionable gives a birds-eye view of the real Christian life�Christ-centered, church-committed, kingdom-contoured, future-focused, and counter-cultural all the way. It makes for a truly nutritious read.�
� J.I. Packer, Professor of theology at Regent College and author of Knowing God

�Tullian Tchividjian is the real deal. His life and his words speak in stereo. I love reading books that challenge the way I think. Unfashionable goes beyond that. It�s counter-intuitive. It�s counter-cultural. And it�s a must-read for those brave enough to really follow in the footsteps of Jesus.�
� Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church and author of Wild Goose Chase

�Love is the most powerful apologetic. It is the essential component in reaching the whole person in a fragmented world. Tullian understands the deep yearnings of this generation and thoughtfully expresses how making a difference as Christians in this world begins with a willingness to engage this world differently.�
� Ravi Zacharias, author and speaker

�Unfashionable is theologically careful, biblically grounded and culturally in touch. It will challenge you and point you to the radically Christ-centered life you were saved by God�s amazing grace to live. Tullian Tchividjian hits us between the eyes when he says, �Christians who retreat into a comfortable subculture are bad missionaries�it�s that simple.� It is that simple, and this book will help you find the way out!�
� Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.

�With the right balance of reproof and encouragement, critique and construction, Unfashionable displays with succinct, vivid, and engaging clarity the relevance of the gospel over the trivialities that dominate our lives and our churches right now. The message of this book is of ultimate importance and its presentation is compelling.�
� Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor, Westminster Seminary in California and host of The White Horse Inn

�Although the Ancient Israelites were called by God to be a �holy nation� they failed to reach their world because they were so much like it. Today�s church is succumbing to the same error. And this is what makes Tullian Tchividjian�s book Unfashionable so prophetic and such a book for this day. May the church take note-- and reach the world!�
� R. Kent Hughes, Sr. Pastor Emeritus, College Church in Wheaton

�It is not easy to stand athwart the tides of the culture and challenge them without sounding either terribly prissy or hopelessly out of date. How can a thoughtful Christian be genuinely contemporary while never succumbing to the merely faddish and temporary? The challenges are enormous�but they are also tied to the most elementary tenets of Christian faithfulness. Tullian Tchividjian is a helpful and engaging guide through these troubled waters.�
� D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and author of Christ and Culture Revisited

�Tullian masterfully articulates the importance of the �both, and��showing that in order for Christians to make a profound difference in our world we must both gain a full understanding of the Gospel and express it practically in our world."
� Gabe Lyons, Founder of Q and co-author of UnChristian

�Here�s what we need�a young, fresh, outspoken voice, calling for renewal and reform in Kingdom language. With a deep appreciation for the Christian past, a powerful grasp of the Gospel, and a voice that resonates with those calling for renewal today, Tullian represents a breed of young church leaders who might just help us navigate our way through the stodginess of tradition and the silliness of much that is emerging as Christianity today. May his tribe increase.�
� T.M. Moore, The Wilberforce Forum and author of Culture Matters

�In Unfashionable Tullian Tchividjian offers all of us a window into his own life, full as it is of reading the Word and the world at the same time. His vision is theologically rich and pastorally engaging, calling us to join him in thinking deeply about things that matter most, viz. the reality that faith always shapes vocation which always shapes culture.�
� Steven Garber, The Washington Institute, author of The Fabric of Faithfulness

�Tullian Tchividjian persuasively argues that difference makers must be different. This book is an important and necessary reminder that Christians who strive to be relevant end up being redundant, while those who challenge our culture just may change the world.�
� Michael E. Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and author of Heaven is a Place on Earth

�Unfashionable gets back to the heart of the Kingdom mission and the agenda of the gospel message. Striking a balance between being �in� but not �of� the world is not easy. Tullian, however, clearly and convincingly shows the way by telling how we can cultivate a Gospel-centered outlook and lifestyle.�
� Ed Stetzer, author of Planting Missional Churches and President of LifeWay Research

�What does it mean to be in the world but not of it, a question Christians have wrestled with for years? To what degree should we conform to the culture or how should we differ and why? Unfashionable addresses these questions directly and helpfully, pointing the way to faithful discipleship in the Twenty-first Century."
� Luder G. Whitlock, Jr., President of Excelsis and author of The Spiritual Quest

�Fashion is but a phase. If Christians want to see lasting change as the kingdom of Jesus Christ expands, they will refuse to seek the world�s acclaim. Tullian Tchividjian writes with a pastor�s gift for admonition and encouragement as he discerns the church�s failures and opportunities to represent Christ in this world.�
� Collin Hansen, editor at large, Christianity Today and author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists

�As Christians continue to chase relevance like a dog chasing its own tail, the world around us is quietly looking for something more�something deeper, something less self-aware, something unfashionable. With clear, crisp writing, Unfashionable challenges us to stop imitating the world and start working to renew her. Tullian makes it once again �cool� to be uncool.�
� Kevin DeYoung, pastor and author of Why We�re Not Emergent

�The most wonderful thing happened to me as I read Unfashionable: I was helped. There are so many books that are interesting and informative, but few end up being practically helpful. Unfashionable is one of them. As I read this cogent call for the Church to live against the world for the world, I saw several ways that my thinking, affections, and actions needed to be prayerfully addressed. I trust the same will happen with anyone who dares to consider the contents of this book.�
� Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, author of What Is A Healthy Church Member? and The Faithful Preacher

�Unfashionable�unrelentingly orthodox and winsomely written�is a call to follow Christ in being so biblically different from the world that the world can once again see the attractiveness of the gospel. I hope it becomes fashionable for Christians to read and discuss Unfashionable. Reading it made me glad to be a believer.�
� Denis Haack, editor-in-chief of Critique and founder of Ransom Fellowship

�If you are a Christian who longs to see the gospel shape every area of your life so that you make a difference in this world for the glory of the God, you will find Unfashionable a remarkable guide. With penetrating insight Tullian exposes the idolatry of our world and shows how the gospel creates a people who are both for and against the world in a way that makes much of the God who will one day make all things new.�
� Dan Cruver, Director of Together for Adoption

�In Unfashionable, Tullian calls us to a holistic Gospel centered journey that invites us, in a fresh way, to be in the world but not of it. He shows us how to be God�s peculiar people by displaying his Kingdom in the world around us.�
� Rick McKinley, Founding Pastor of Imago Dei Community and author of This Beautiful Mess

Meet the Author

William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is a Florida native, the founding pastor of New City Church just outside of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. A graduate of Columbia International University (philosophy) and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Tullian is the author of The Kingdom of God: A Primer on the Christian Life, and Do I Know God? Finding Certainty in Life’s Most Important Relationship. The author of numerous articles Tullian is a contributing editor to Leadership Journal. Tullian speaks at conferences throughout the US and his sermons are broadcast daily on the radio program "Godward Living.” When he is not reading, studying, preaching, or writing, he enjoys being with people and relaxing with his wife Kim and their three kids Gabe, Nate, and Genna. Tullian loves the beach, loves to exercise, and when he has time, he loves to surf. 

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Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, easy to read, really makes you stop & think. It has so much information I had to read a chapter & make myself stop & let it soak in before I went on. On of the best books I have read in a while.
stormsTC More than 1 year ago
"unfashinable" is the bestseller writtion by minister and grandson of billy graham tullian tchividjian. this is a very amazing bestseller that shows christians through scriptures how they can make a difference in the world with their christian faith in their different jobs and social activitys and with this most indepth book it gives the beliver a a great outlook so they can make a big difference in the world ffor christ. great gift idea for a friend or family member or pastor friend or soldier serving over seas.
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