Have we tried so hard to avoid being holier-than-thou that we’ve forgotten how important it is to be holy?
Authenticity matters. Transparency matters. Being open about our shortcomings, misgivings, and failures matters. Yet holiness also matters.
This book is a timely reminder not to lose the old priorities as we take on the new, albeit noble, ones. Millennial author Tyler Braun helps us understand that holiness is not just some fine ideal destined for generations past; it’s the unyielding pursuit that defines every Christian life.
The beginning of our calling toward a holy life is the challenge of loving God more deeply. Holiness is not found in strict rule keeping alone; it is found in our desire of the Holy One. Holiness is not new behaviors. Holiness is new affections.
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About the Author
TYLER BRAUN is a 20-something worship pastor. After graduating from college with a business degree, Tyler decided to pursue a life of serving God through church ministry. When Tyler isn¿t playing music or writing, he enjoys exploring the city, training for distance running races, and biking around town. Tyler lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Rose. You can connect with him online at www.manofdepravity.com or follow him on Twitter @tylerbraun.
Read an Excerpt
WHY HOLINESS MATTERSWE'VE LOST OUR WAY-BUT WE CAN FIND IT AGAIN
By TYLER BRAUN
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2012 Tyler Braun
All right reserved.
I don't remember when, but at some point in middle or high school it became very clear that innocence wasn't cool. In order to be cool, boundaries had to be stretched and broken. Like playing quarters during lunch, or smoking after school, or sneaking over to a girl's house to spend the night with her.
Innocence wasn't just looked down upon at school, but also at church. As authenticity became a trendy goal for churches, the value of innocence decreased. The "Innocents" were the students who never skipped class, never cussed, never missed a Bible study, and certainly never stayed out late.
Most people today walk around wearing their "lack of innocence badge" with immense pride. Within the church itself, authenticity about our failings is now the highest prize awarded for pastors or congregants—even if it means the pastor bleeds all over us. This lack of impotence means many have lived real life and they're better for it. After all, what would life be if we lived with a bunch of regrets?
Growing up, I looked differently at the Innocents in the youth group at my church. I figured it was only a matter of time before real life blindsided them and they were left scrambling for help. As I grew older, innocence was a social death sentence. People either wanted to take advantage of them or make fun of them. To most people, living the life of an Innocent appeared boring.
During this time, I was always looking for whatever way I could to lose some of my sheltered, growing-up-in-a-Christian-home innocence. I wanted no part of the innocence my parents and lay church had pushed for. Certainly I wasn't trying to sin, but I was looking to test the boundary between sinning and losing my innocence. As the oldest child in a pastor's home, I soon realized many people had an expectation that I would be a rebel, like popular singers Toni Braxton or Katy Perry. (Both are pastors' kids.) Parents usually teach their kids to first obey the rules and then love God, but my parents instilled in me a desire for God, which resulted in me obeying some helpful but not overly strict rules. I had seen the innocent and rules-based lives many of my Christian friends were living, and I wanted no part of that. Later, though, I came to see losing so much of my innocence as a major regret.
Many years ago, I found myself making decisions in various relationships that were based more on physical affection than on healthy relational choices, hl these relationships I preferred to rely on physical intimacy rather than having to engage the holes in my life. What I wanted was to love and be loved, but in the process I never allowed God's love to be enough—I was greedy for more.
As the oldest kid of a senior pastor who had memorized all the right Bible verses, I knew I was crossing lines that were not supposed to be crossed when I decided to attend some parties despite knowing I was throwing myself into compromising situations. This conscious decision to begin partying began the slow fade of my life into sin. Soon enough I was comfortable drinking enough to become drunk. And the fade didn't stop with the drinking and the parties either. I quickly found myself losing control in physically intimate moments with women. Once the momentum of physical affection begins it's almost impossible to stop. And suddenly, my virginity, something I had previously cherished as highly as anything I owned, was gone. Just like that.
During this time, I struggled with knowing how to approach God. I felt immense guilt, and I had no idea who to trust with these parts of my life. Deep inside of me was a calloused heart, raw from my own self-inflicted wounds. Part of me wanted to feel emotion and let God into my pain, but I had convinced myself that a holy God would only judge me for my mistakes.
With no one to turn to and sensing I couldn't go to God, I waged a battle within myself to determine what direction my life was going and what needed to change. At times the intensity of this battle was unbearable. I became quite skilled in hiding the shame, not letting anyone close enough to see the battle I was waging within myself. I had to choose whether to be vulnerable with God and those around me, or to continue down the path I had started.
Years later, telling my future wife,, Rose, about my mistakes in relationships was the hardest conversation I've ever had. She had so much purity and innocence to bring to our relationship, and I felt I had come with nothing to offer but the baggage of poor decisions in my past. It's easy to lose innocence in order to gain life experience, but it's a painful process to look back at that loss, allowing God to heal as only He can.
I often wondered how I, of all people, willfully walked into all these traps. I was the worship leader guy with a Christian education whose dad was a pastor. I've wondered whether innocence and purity are even attainable in our culture today. Our churches and pastors think we just need to preach on purity more often. Or maybe we just need to tell people how much God hates sin, and then they']l avoid it. I don't think those are the answers, or at least they did not work for me. What I didn't value enough was the gift of purity to God and to my future wife. What I didn't value enough was innocence.
In a Christian culture that does not value innocence, it is no wonder our generation is often indistinguishable from the culture around it. We've simply been taught by our culture that life experience is the most valuable thing a person can have.
When we first met, my friends thought of Rose (my future wife) as a good woman to marry, but not a fun woman to date. She had a reputation for being an innocent girl and when we first started dating I found out she had never kissed a guy. Imagine my fear of whether she would want to stick with me because of my past. For instance, on the wall of my Christian college dorm room, my roommates created a list of all the different girls I had pursued over the period of a few months. They called it "The Braun List." There was a different girl listed for every week! Rose had her own emotional baggage from previous guys, but I was dragging a lot more weight than she was and it was obvious as we first started dating.
I second-guessed myself and constantly worried about whether my past was enough to push her away from me. One of the greatest gifts Rose gave me was her innocence. Her innocence was a constant, harsh reminder of all I had given up in order to lose mine.
Dating and marrying Rose showed me the other side of pursuing a life of innocence and the benefits definitely out-weighed the supposed lack of life experience. Rose had a love for God that allowed her to worship Him freely to pray with anticipation, and to love others without holding back.
* * *
The innocence I lost through life began to spill over in how I related with God and I began to approach God with an expectation that He would let me down. I had convinced myself that a holy God would be unwilling to have His best in mind for a person who walked down unholy paths. My sin slowly convinced me that God could be holding out (m me. Deep down, I believed God couldn't love me or be pleased with me. Whatever bright-colored glasses I saw the world through before had been replaced with a deep-gray filter. The age-old question of "how can a loving God cause so much pain?" has been felt and lived through my innocence lost. The combination of sinful behavior, and seeing God put me in seemingly impossible circumstances, convinced me for a time that God could not truly have my best in mind, and He certainly couldn't love me. I wouldn't deserve His love and He's proven He doesn't give His best to people like me.
As a kid, I enjoyed watching the TV show Boy Meets World. The main character in the show. Cory Matthews, had a best friend (Shawn) who grew up on what viewers always sensed as the other side of the train tracks. Shawn never had much; his mom left home when he was young and his dad had little involvement in his life. Being at Cory's house gave Shawn a nice break from the tough circumstances he was growing up in. Shawn was the kid who hardly paid attention in class, had a different fling with a girl on each episode, and had the mentality of every rule needing to be broken. No question, innocence was not something the writers of the show valued in the character of Shawn (though he was never shown as sexually involved). As Shawn grew older, lie had a difficult time maintaining relationships with girls. His insecurity, lack of commitment, and no-regrets mentality meant Shawn walked away from relationships when they got difficult. He pushed girls away by his constant wavering in whether the relationship was worth the effort.
The lack of innocence in Shawn led hint down a destructive path that culminated in a scene when his dad left town and Shawn began a conversation with God out of desperation:
Don't blow me off, God. I never asked you for anything before and I never wanted to come to you like this, but don't take Turner [his teacher] away firm me: he's not done yelling at me yet. God, you're not talking but I know you're here, so I'm gonna talk, and you can listen.... God, I don't wanna be empty inside anymore.
Shawn saw no value in innocence when he had it, and never realized what he gave tip by losing it. The emptiness he felt inside and the question he had of whether God was truly listening to him or loving him came through the letdown of losing his innocence.
In many ways, I was like Shawn as I related to God. Deep down I was extremely insecure and viewed my life's experiences as the prime reason for why I wasn't close to God. I figured He's the one who has let me down. He's the one who has acted as if He was never listening. It was a lot easier to place the blame for my problems on God than myself. He was the one who didn't show up in my time of greatest need.
Rarely do we take the time to think through the repercussions of our actions. In losing innocence, I gained life experience, an awesome "lack-of-innocence badge," possibly even a better understanding of how to handle difficult circumstances, but I never considered all I had given up in the process.
Those of us with an innocence lost "know" that God rarely answers our prayers on our time. We "know" God can't solve the problems we Face or the past hurts we have. Our innocence lost threes us to ignore the voice telling us we can come to God with our loss and pain. We're too hurt to let His love in.
* * *
I regularly endured the questions of whether I was going to become a pastor like my dad. I always answered with an emphatic "No!" because that was his life, not mine. College was my first opportunity to decide whether I wanted to go to church or if I even wanted to open my Bible or pray. In high school I had my parents and my youth pastor encouraging me weekly and sometimes daily to make it a priority. I had every intention of becoming more like Christ while at college, but ultimately I went the other direction. I finally had the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. On the road of life, I now had the opportunity to run the roads how I wanted to, but the decisions I made put me down a path in my life where I no longer liked myself.
In pursuit of sin I had lost my innocence, my hope, and my relationship with God. I needed a new direction, but felt too lost to find my way.
So one night I decided to go For a run and took off toward the outskirts of the small town where I lived. I needed to get away and to clear my head. I preferred to run without music and lose myself in the empty space of the dark night. It gave me that Freeing feeling that no one could see me, that I was all alone. I needed the empty road and the blackness to think and to feel, to seek God and to figure out whether I had messed up everything that I called my life. I ran to the town's edge, wrapped inside the tog and mist, the flicker of city lights in the distance.
When I passed the grass fields and empty plots of farmland ready to be planted for the coming summer, I had a sense of God being near. No, I didn't hear an audible voice from heaven, but I sensed a glimpse of light out of the darkness of my life. I continued these runs out of a desperate need to hear from God. And I continued to listen.
A couple thousand years ago, a man named Saul, a well-respected Jewish leader, gained permission to travel to Damascus to hunt down the Christ Followers. But as he made his way along the road he encountered Jesus and fell to the ground blind. He stayed blind For three days, inside a darkness, neither eating nor drinking, until Ananias came to him with instructions from God. Saint John of the Cross expressed a similar time in his life as the "dark night of the soul." For him and For Saul and for me, this darkness describes a difficult journey from sin and toward union with God. I needed to spend time in this darkness and allow God to work through my broken life because I couldn't begin to rebuild the pieces until I knew how Far I'd walked into my sinful patterns.
I recognized this massive gap between God's holiness and my life. I had a newfound desire to understand the Father's majesty, power, and holiness, all things I had little desire for previously. Before, I had ignored the call God had on my life, choosing to pursue a life where I could call the shots and find my own enjoyment and fun. But now I heard anew God's call for me to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). It's an impossible calling, but its pursuit is how He shapes us to be more like His Son. I just wanted to find my way back to the Holy One and His light.
* * *
To truly understand this calling to be holy, we must first understand the holiness of God. The holiness of God is central to His character. This holiness, this completeness, this action of being whole, is not something we can fully understand. People have been writing and debating for centuries about what it means that God is holy. First and foremost, holiness is not something from us—it is part of God and something only God can give. John puts strong emphasis on this in Revelation 15:4 saying, "Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy." In her prayer after giving birth to Samuel, Hannah said, "There is no one holy like the Lord" (1 Samuel 2:2).
Truly, God's holiness is something beyond us. Since none of us has met our Savior face-to-thee, we have only small glimpses of the extent of God's holiness.
First John 3:2 paints a picture of our time meeting God face-to-face being the time when we are made like Him. In essence, our lack of being like Him is our lack of knowing fully about Him (in a relational sense, not a scholastic sense). God says to Isaiah that His ways are not ours and our ways are not His (Isaiah 55:8–9). Paul says in Romans, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?'" (Romans 11:33-34). This is an important distinction for us. We do learn about who God is through His Word to us, but a gap exists between who God is and who we are. We can discuss and describe the incredible color of tropical ocean waters, but we'll never know hove bright the blue water is until we stand at the shore's edge ourselves. So it is with God: we can (and should) spend time exploring who God is and what He means for us, but who God is will always be difficult for us to quantify because He is not like us. Until we see Him face-to-face as fully sanctified people, our pursuit of His holiness becoming our own continues.
Many years ago a pastor asked me if I thought I could go without sinning and live perfectly for one minute. He then asked, if one minute were possible, if I could go one hour without sin. And of course, if it was possible to go one hour, then it must be possible to go one day living perfectly, without sin. The danger in this line of thinking is that if we could just try harder we could be like God. This is where the mystery of who God is—the otherness that He is in comparison to us—is vital in our understanding of God. The mystery of God's holiness has often been described in the Latin words mysterium tremendum, which depict God as the fearful or awe-full mystery. Holiness, as the Bible describes God, shows that God is completely other, above our comprehension and beyond our imagination in au awe-inspiring way. We see this awe-full side of God in His interactions with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, while some of the mystery of God is shown in His interactions with Moses in Exodus 3 and 33.
Excerpted from WHY HOLINESS MATTERS by TYLER BRAUN Copyright © 2012 by Tyler Braun. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What's Holiness
Epilogue: A Eulogy for Life
An Addendum: Ernest and the Great Stone Face
For Parents, Grandparents, and Mentors
What People are Saying About This
At the center of the universe is a God about whom the angels repeatedly cry, "Holy, holy, holy." Rather than being entranced by holiness, however, many younger Christians have ignored it altogether. Why Holiness Matters is an honest, refreshing, and wise book that avoids stunted visions of holiness while graciously and firmly calling younger Christians to pursue a more Christ-like life. It's a very helpful and challenging read.
—Matthew Lee Anderson, Author, Earthen Vessels and Lead Writer at Mere Orthodoxy
Boldly articulating the four-letter word his generation has avoided—HOLY—Tyler Braun is a piercing voice rising from the Millennial wilderness. Why Holiness Matters is a must-read for people of all generations. It is a clarion call for those seeking spirituality over the most Holy God.
—Karen Spears Zacharias, Author, A Silence of Mockingbirds
Tyler Braun is a voice for this generation and those to come—pursuing holiness is a timeless quest. His honesty is refreshing and his passion for God and people is revealed in every word he writes.
—Anne Jackson, Author, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic and Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace
When you say the word "holiness" you may as well spray a can of conversation repellant on the crowd around you. It seems that many current day Evangelical Americans would much rather talk about slick content than how to be like Christ.
This is and will be the downfall of the current church. Tyler Braun brings us back to the conversation closest to the heart of Christ. This book has already gotten me to dig deeper into my relationship with God and I know it will do the same for you.
—Carlos Whittaker, Blogger, Musician, Coach
Tyler Braun is a clear voice in a world of white noise and clamour. He writes with unusual vision, honesty, and wit. Read his book, you'll be glad you did.
—John Sowers, Author, Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story
In a time when faithfulness is constantly being confused with perfection, Tyler brings much needed clarity and distinction to the increasingly blurred topic of holiness. As part of Generation X, I found Why Holiness Matters to be a blunt but tactful and fresh perspective of a Millennial who is genuinely striving to embrace the ancient concept of a Christ-centered holiness. I loved it.
—Chuck Bomar, Author, Better Off Without Jesus and Worlds Apart
In a world that encourages a “live for yourself” approach to life, it’s hard to get a meaningful discussion started about holiness even among Christians. In this engaging and hopeful book, Tyler Braun invites us to think differently about holiness—it’s not avoiding the “thou shalt nots,” but living more fully in the holy love of God. Reading this book with a mentor ought to spark badly needed conversations across generational lines about how God shapes our souls. An important book for our time.
—Robb Redman, Robb Redman, Dr. theol., Dean and Vice President of Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Multnomah University, Portland, OR
Millennials want to change the world, this we know. But Tyler has raised a question that may very well determine whether they will succeed: Will Millennials be changed by the Gospel? This is a book written by a Millennial for Millennials, but believers of all generations will benefit from listening in on the conversation and patterning their lives after the One whose love and grace can truly change the world.
—Adam S. McHugh, Author, Introverts in the Church:Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
Why Holiness Matters is a timely and insightful guide to living in the fullness of God’s holy love. While written with the Millennials in mind, this book serves as a prophetic call to Christ’s people of all generations to move beyond compartmentalizing holiness and condoning sinful passions and practices. Filled with personal reflections and practical biblical wisdom, this book inspires us to take up the lost art of holy living.
—Paul Louis Metzger, Professor of Christian Theology & Theology of Culture, Multnomah Biblical Seminary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In a culture that is about appearance and power, Tyler Braun challenges that assertion and calls a generation back to holiness. For most the idea of holiness has been lost and in some ways feels like it cannot return. This book is a challenge and call to return to holiness and how to get back. This book is a must read for anyone looking to be all that God has called them to be.
I am a woman called Elise, which denotes “one who is consecrated, made holy, set apart for God.” Perhaps this is one reason the topic of holiness has always really interested me. Years ago I copied out a page in Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Passion and Purity, where she wrote about the meaning of holiness. I remember reading A. W. Tozer’s books, “The Pursuit of God” and “The Knowledge of the Holy” with joy. Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” and “Still Higher for His Highest” also gave me direction and encouragement to strive to keep my conscience clean, by the great grace of God. I am by no means without fault, but I look behind me and see the constant keeping of my Father and rejoice that He has been so true to His promises. My walk of faith has been long and often filled with pain. I know few people here in America who have had as much pain - physically and emotionally - at a young age. Instead of becoming bitter toward God, it heightened my awareness of His presence. I remember attending a local church youth group meeting at age thirteen or fourteen. My dad had abandoned our family when I was twelve and because our family had a small farm in the wilderness, we had to take on many adult responsibilities at a young age. “Fun” was not the main goal of my life as a teen. I was a serious and shy child, educated at home, and I viewed the young people playing games that night with some degree of suspicion. When the woman hosting the youth group went upstairs, leaving us in a dark room to watch a “Christian film”, my sister and I heard the girls move onto the boys laps and start “making out.” Horrified, I went home and told my mom, “If this is what a Christian is, I don’t want to be one.” A year or so later, my mom was again pressured into having us become more “socialized” with our “peer group.” Again, we attended a “Christian” youth event – a sunset cruise on a lake. My mom was assured there would be plenty of chaperones and safety, not to worry. My sister, I, and ALL the chaperones were the ONLY people listening to the speaker, inside the conference room, on the boat that night. I went outside once, to try to see the stars, and tripped over the feet of the young people who were literally lying on the deck…I asked my mom never to send me to any “Christian” events in the future. I was sixteen when first privileged to meet young people who desired to live holy lives. I remember hearing two young men at a conference, both nineteen, who wanted to become pastors. They got out their bibles and practiced their “preaching”, sharing their lives with those in the audience…I went home and began reading my bible every day because I wanted to “be like” these two young men. Their genuine desire for purity shone. Holiness has the power to change lives. It has been over twenty-five years since that day and I still read the holy scriptures on a daily basis. I’ve memorized, meditated and talked with the LORD on over ninety chapters - eaten, digested them and then repeated this process. The life found through the person of Jesus Christ has tempered and changed me. I don’t regret living this life, in many ways apart from our society. Nor do I hide my head and refuse to relate to a lost and dying world. This is all said to highlight the vital importance of Tyler Braun’s new book, “Why Holiness Matters.” It is a book calling the church to repentance and action. Those who are called brothers and sisters in Christ have a high and holy calling, to be different in a world that longs to see the power and beauty of holiness. Tyler’s book has caused me to re-examine my walk in Christ, how I invest time and question myself on several levels. It is not out of pride that Tyler writes, his humility is quite beautiful. His book reminds me that the cost of losing innocence is much higher than the cost of surrendering our lives to the control of a wise Father, who wants to take us through fire and water, to bring us out into a wealthy place. I recommend you read and meditate on the content of this fine new book, “Why Holiness Matters."
Review of “ Why Holiness Matters” The Millennial generation is going to rebel by behaving not worse, but better. (Millennials Rising, 2000) I love this quote! I was born in 1981 so I barely squeak in as Millennial but find that I identify for with this generation than the Gen Xer’s who preceded us. As I started chapter 1 I found myself identifying with much of what Braun says about what is Holiness(a list of do nots) in traditional Christianity in America. I was one who conformed to the list(not really sure why) but I watch most of my peers just walk away from the pursuit of Holiness all-together. I especially like his attention to the issue of Purity and his focus on the obsession in our culture with "experience" - I choose NOT to experience lots of bad things as a young person and often felt left out b/c I was a "prude" turns out that when you grow up missing out on all that crap is BETTER. Thanks to Tyler for saying that instead of glamorizing his sinful experiences as something to be repeated by others. Holiness is a subject that needs to be talked about and pursued. Im glad a young author is starting the conversation that way it doesn't just seem like something "old people' value or believe in. I want to re-read the book and see how I can use the areas he discusses to help me become Holier, so that I can better honor God and have a deeper walk with him. As I read this book I thought of a a friend who desperately needs to hear Tyler's story. It' never too late to turn and pursue Holiness with heart that is hungry for God, not the praise of man.
Tyler Braun is emerging as a great new voice in the world of Christian literature. This book while written for the millenial generation (which I miss out on by just a year or so) is definitely worth reading for people of all generations. It would make an excellent small group curriculum or study. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
I was blessed enough to get in touch with Tyler Braun, and he was kind enough to let me read his book. He emailed me a draft of his book, and I started reading "Why Holiness Matters" as soon as it hit my inbox. I am a 27 year old Christian, Husband, first time dad, and College Basketball Coach who is fighting each and every day to focus my heart on my faith in the face of so many worldly distractions. I challenge young people everyday to focus their discipline and their abilities on becoming the best people possible, but I definetely needed that same encouragement from somewhere also. As I read "Why Holiness Matters" I realized that our pursuit of a connection with our faith has been drowned out by the internet, tivo, and countless movies and shows that make sin and a corrupt heart almost acceptable. Tyler's book is a refreshing and positive view of just how important it is to live a life that brings us closer to God. This is a book that you will stay up late to read, and I found myself taking "reading breaks" at the office for the first time in my career. "Why Holiness Matters" made me slow down, pray, and take a hard look at the way I was approaching my walk with God. This book isn't trying to be the latest trend, and instead it is founded in ideas and encouragement that are simple enough for anyone to apply to their own life. I talked about this book with everyone in my life that I love, and I feel like you will do the same once you read "Why Holiness Matters." This book would be great for a bible study, in home small group, or simply from a father to a son or daughter. There are enough ideas and fresh outlooks in the book to make you reflect and further engage your faith.
So informative and encouraging.
title: Why Holiness Matters: We’ve Lost Our Way — But We Can Find it Again author: Tyler Braun date: 2012 publisher: Moody Publishers Beginning with the April 2009 Newsweek story "The Decline and Fall of Christian America" and shaped in part by Gabe Lyons' differentiating values of the "next Christians" [provoked (not offended), creating (not critics), called (not employed), grounded (not distracted), community focused (not alone), and countercultural (not “relevant”)]; Tyler Braun states that "the upcoming generations are developing a better understanding of cultural engagement with their faith." (10-11) Tyler's perspective on the portrait of holiness that has been painted for Millennials is pretty negative - it sounds like something out of the 1950's: we were taught holiness is something we become by not dancing, drinking, having sex, or watching R-rated movies. If we could avoid those evil things, we would be holy. (11) Tyler is right in saying that "We must grasp holiness not as new behavior, activity, or disciplines. Holiness is new affections, new desires, and new motives that then lead to new behavior." (12) While some of the promotional material points to Tyler looking at what it means to be holy from a millennial (generation born 1980-2000) Christian worldview perspective, I think his audience is much broader than that. I'm a Boomer, but much of what he writes resonates with the reader's desire to live a righteous life, but settling for just living an "authentic / relevant / transparent" life embracing our faults / fears / failures as who we are destined to be. Why Holiness Matters tackles the issues of guilt & shame that impede our growth as Christians. Why Holiness Matters takes us on a journey, revisiting the truth that any holiness that we desire to achieve starts (and ends) with the Holiness of God. "Holiness begins in us by following Jesus and allowing Him to apprehend us through His love, not for the sake of wealth, strength, or power, but for the sake of becoming a reflection of (the imago Dei) of who He is." (158) While this is not an easy or light subject, Tyler writes with an ease that connects with the reader. With references from 90′s-kid-favourite "Boy Meets World" to the film "Good Will Hunting", Tyler's observations resonate with my hopes, fear, and aspirations revolving around living a holistic life empowered by the Spirit of God. Some of the things that Tyler tackles are more specific to some congregations and/or parts of the world than others. His chapter on "Values" which unpacks his thoughts about tradition vs traditionalism and how that pertains to millenials - is unfortunately still an issue for some groups. I was glad for his chapter on "Community", for too many groups tend to make holiness a "personal" (redefined as "private" issue). Tyler writes: "Holiness, as God desires it of us, is only possible through our connection to the body of Christ. Our relational connection to God must manifest itself as a relational connection to His body of believers for us to be whole." (96) “Community” is a word which gets thrown around a lot, it's one of the common buzzwords that church use to self-describe themselves. But in reality is community isn’t easy. "In fact, community is downright messy because it exposes us for who we really are." (103) Tyler Braun gives us a lot to chew on in less than 150 pages. I will highly recommend this book to anyone who might be interested in pursuing life "with God, with others".
It was a privilege to be able to read Tyler's book and I found myself resonating with a lot of the gaps in this generation's walk with Christ. Particularly in the first half of the book he captures the "behavioral gap" that young people are facing. They're struggling to find what motivates them to live like Christ instead of simply being told that they ought to. Tyler's transparency of his own personal struggle with the issue and his frequent references to the Scriptures are all fantastic.
I am not even close to being a Millennial; but this book challenged my thoughts on who and what God is. I would like to think I know Him a little better after reading this and that for me is the success of this work (although I probably still don’t get God at all ; )). Tyler’s perspective is insightful and thoughtful, and as in most of these books, I would have liked to debate and challenge some ideas. The truth is following Christ and believing in God is a constant discussion, internally and externally. I don’t think it necessarily speaks to the non-believer, but I don’t think this was the point to start off with. I enjoyed the authors honesty about his own struggles, the fact is, we all fall short of God’s glory, I was reminded how easily we get caught up in religion when we should be caught up in relationship which is easier said than done. This is an quick read that gets to the point, well worth it!
This book is a book we can all relate to. It takes real life issues that we all deal with at some point and shows us how we can take the bad times and find good in them. Braun uses direct passage from the Bible to highlight his points. There are also many other allusions to many popular TV shows and movies. Overall, the book will make you think about issues in your life in other ways. While it focuses on the age of Millennial Christians, it is relavant for any age group.
Refreshing view on the re-emergence of holiness as it relates to the millennial generation. Enjoyed the personal stories intermixed with the serious nature of the subject. Well written in an easy to read format. Enough material to offer the reader some great points to ponder and meditate upon. Great read and an important subject to see highlighted for our culture today.
Tyler Braun's new book makes bold statements that most of us have heard before, but will make many of us uncomfortable. Holiness is a quality of God and challenging mere humans to have that same quality is challenging. Braun begins with the reasons for holiness, consequences for lack of holiness, then moves on to establishing holiness and the benefits of holiness. Aimed at "Millennials," Braun weaves his own story with historical and pop cultural references. It is not a how-to manual (although a study guide is available), but a discussion that challenges the reader to examine him- or herself. For anyone who wants to accept God's call to holiness, this book offers an accessible starting point.
As a 20-year-old college student seeking to live in a way that demonstrates the beliefs that run within me, "Why Holiness Matters" provided me the space to look deeper into topics I had heard about but had never been taught about. I appreciate Braun's willingness to be vulnerable as it challenged me to be honest with myself and where I am at in my pursuit of a loving and holy God. In short, a great read that left me with a new perspective on holiness, and I highly recommend it.
I was so happy to read this book. Many times books talking about Holiness and how it relates to the Christian life start in some far off place with hypothetical situations. Tyler Braun starts off the conversation on holiness by revealing his own person struggles and shortcomings with holiness. Through references to his own stories and media such as Boy Meets World that Millennial Christians will not only remember but connect with Braun builds a connection with the reader. The book is not for those who enjoy reading "feel good" Christian books that suggest that whatever way they are worshiping or living is okay. In the book Braun challenges us to focus ourselves back on the holiness of God and how we live into the holiness he has set out for us. It strips down all the excuses and fluff we use to prevent ourselves from having to confront our own failed and broken lives in the sight of a Holy and living God. I was so extremely challenged to review the way I live my life in light of the holiness God calls us to live into because of Braun's book. As a United Methodist, I've read many books on Holiness but this one is especially great compared to others out there because of it's focus on the "close handed" issues that all denominations universally believe in rather than the small issues that divide us. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a great study on holiness and will be giving it as a gift to friends this Lent.
This was like looking in a mirror... Braun's experiences as a 'Millennial Christian' closely shadow those of so many in this demographic. For some, reading this book will be like having someone more well-spoken and well-written exegete their life story (and personal struggle with what it means to be holy) with surgical precision. The interwoven personal experience of the author, layered into the over-arching biblically-backed theme, is more than encouraging; it is moving and thought-provoking for anyone who has even a remotely similar experience. As a Millennial Christians, these stories and struggles provide a framework we can use to view our own journeys as important and unique, while helping us realize we've never been alone in the quest to understand holiness on earth. This shift in thinking, to become aware that there truly IS nothing we can accomplish here to achieve holiness, is world-shifting to one's way of thinking. The author takes the reader into a new mindset, chapter by chapter; exhorting, encouraging and reminding us to fall in love with our Creator, thereby instilling in us a natural desire to grow. The focus on relationship, and our legitimate desire to be in holy relationship with Christ, is refreshing and eye-opening. How freeing to think that what we have struggled with so long as fallen, sinful believers is available to us in a format we never expected! This new outlook will something in the reader, a profound depth of hope and understanding, that we CAN grow into a more Christ-like version of ourselves, without trying to accomplish perfection through our actions. A must read for Generation X, Y, and Millenials alike! Thanks Tyler for this wonderful labor of love. Your "stupidity" in writing on a subject "no one [in this generation] cares about" was faithful obedience, and lives will be radically transformed. "The beginning of my calling toward a holy life is the challenge of loving God more deeply. Holiness is not found in strict rule keeping alone; it is found in our desire of the Holy One. Holiness is not new behaviors. Holiness is new affections." - Tyler Braun, 'Why Holiness Matters'.
This book is a really great challenge to those longing to deepen their walk with God and seek His holiness. Writing about what could be a complex and difficult topic, Braun keeps the challenge plain to see and has produced a very readable, entertaining and above all inspiring book. Well worth reading.
Holiness is like the Christian version of greatness. Secular history records the achievements of great conquerors, scientists and other world changers. Christian history looks to giants of the faith: saints and martyrs. Notable historical figures have a variety of traits, which make them memorable while the Christian figures all share one important trait - they display holiness. Holiness is an intimidating idea. It sounds heavy and legalistic. Tyler does a fantastic job of bringing holiness down from the ethereal level to the practical. After reading his book I was encouraged as a Christian that becoming holy does not mean I have to join a monastery. Rather the changes required are intimately tied to our relationship with Christ – therefore the process is much more inviting than the term itself. Tyler Braun breaks down the book into eight chapters: Innocence, Wrath, Shame, Love, Values, Community, Mission, and Artistry. The break down is logical and works well as Braun moves towards a conclusion. He moves in and out of personal stories which gives the book a comfortable pace. Everything he says is supported well by Scripture, though this was not meant to be an intellectual/academic sort of work. My only complaint is that I had a hard time figuring out who his audience was meant to be. I know the work was aimed at Millennials, but it fluctuated between aiming at those in the church and those outside of it. Which is fine in theory but difficult in practice. At times I found myself skimming because the ideas the author was trying to simplify came out rather boring. At other times I found myself engaged by deeper points or more extensive explanations but I know my de-churched friends would have simply skimmed over those sections. Although a targeted book might have a smaller audience, it will be better received. All that is to say I do recommend the book. Chapter 8 alone made up for the less desirable parts of the work. Tyler has an intimate understanding of what he is trying to say and says it well. The way he describes holiness is refreshing and necessary for a generation disenchanted with dry religion.
Tyler Braun's Why Holiness Matters gets to the heart of the matter of Holiness. As a fellow millenial, I know the struggle in our generation. His age provides him with a unique perspective from an insider view. A much needed book in times such as these, where caution has long since been thrown to the wind. Sin has become just part of "who we are," and innocence is no longer valued. Braun's work reminds our generation that Holiness at it's core isn't about a bunch of rules, but instead about a true intimacy with our Maker, the one true God. His writing is relevant, transparent, and simple. He doesn't bother with the theoretics and instead gets right to the pragmatics.Just what the doctor ordered. The perspective from his own life allows the reader to relate and dig into the shadows of their own shortcomings to explore their pursuit of a relationship with God which really leads to holiness. If you want to know why you should bother with this holiness business, this book is for you. I highly recommend it, it's one I will read again and again.
This is a good read, but I had to read it twice. You have to get yourself into the story and not really be looking for a thesis on holiness. This is a mostly confessional book with a few missional and motivational aspects thrown in. The last two chapters were excellent, more of what I was looking for in a book with this title, but the bulk of the book was also captivating as the author deals with his story and his journey toward...for his sake, I'll say the beginnings of holiness because as he says, we don't get there until we're not here any more. I would have liked to see the author do more than skim the surface of his story if he was going to weave it in that way; the devil is in the details, but so is the grace. Still, you get a sense of how completely average his story of wandering and winding his way back is, and that gives hope to those who don't have the "extreme" stories that we're so used to reading about. Just a guy. Just like us. Just like we can relate to. In an honest quest toward holiness. With enough of a beauty and a challenge thrown in to make this a book a good read.
<i>Why Holiness Matters</i> is a must-read for those concerned about the state of evangelical Christianity and the Millennial generation. If you are not in those groups, this book may read like you are walking into the middle of a conversation at a dinner party - the book is well written and you’ll get a gist of what is going on, but may feel like you missed something. If you are not Christian, the conversation may feel like it's in a different language as the authority of the Bible and Jesus are taken-for-granted ideas. Braun does a great job capturing his search for goodness and meaning, one common of twenty-somethings, with a succinct, clear style of writing. This book is authoritative without being condescending. It also goes by relatively quickly. To answer the question of the book, why holiness matters, Braun argues that holiness impacts one’s relationship with God and the rest of the world. For the sake of context, I am not an evangelical Christian, I am a 26-year-old Unitarian Universalist. Evangelical Christians often focus on their relationship with God as being of utmost importance. Braun, a 27 year old seminary student and pastor's kid, does not diminish the importance of this, but he argues that religiosity (church attendance, abiding by the religion’s rules, etc) has supplanted spirituality as the definition of holiness. He argues that holiness needs to be reconsidered, that instead of defining as successfully abiding by legalistic rules (such as, “don’t have sex before you are married), it needs to be refocused on the reasons for the rules in the first place. He does this throughout the rest of the book using some personal stories and a lot of Biblical ones. This is not like Donald Miller’s <i>Blue Like Jazz</i> , or Anne Lamott’s work. Both make points of their faith using nearly exclusively personal anecdotes; Braun knows the Bible and relies upon it to make most of his points. Fortunately, it does not read like Biblical Quotes Mad-Libs, as many Christian books can, where Biblical citations are thrown around and only someone with a priest’s knowledge of the Bible can understand where the author is coming from. For instance, on page 29, he states how, “Holiness can’t be discussed without looking at the text of Isaiah 6.” He then describes who Isaiah was, describes the passage, gives a brief description of the significance, and ties it back to the anecdote he started with (one of jogging at night). This is how the Bible is discussed throughout the book, and thus I think it would be generally accessible to non-Biblical scholars. Some chapters, such as “Wrath”, “Love” or “Values”, are much more biblically-based than others. The author exposes his own life carefully, and avoids explicit details. It feels polite and appropriate. When he does write about his own sinning, he portrays his struggle so humanly that you want to give the author a hug. (Maybe that’s just me.) Braun’s wisdom shines in “Community” and “Mission”. He insightfully describes struggles of voluntary organizations in being authentic, cohesive, and effective. Until those chapters, I figured the book would narrowly apply to only other evangelicals. Sometimes there are generalizations that seem more like stereotypes than facts. He feels there is wider acceptance of sin among millennials. I am not certain that this is true. Is it more than previous generations? Where is the reference point? He also argues that the United States is post-Christian. This is something that seems to be taken-for-granted in Evangelical circles, but in my faith (Unitarian Universalism), or among Muslims, atheists, and other non-Christians, the perception seems to be that this country is still very much Christian. On page 49, he states, “It is very rare to find a criminal willing to admit his guilt.” Really? How does Braun know? On page 53, he states that, “Will Hunting [of Good Will Hunting] is a perfect depiction of the Millennial’s life. Will has made a series of poor decisions while being dealt an immense amount of hurt and pain through his childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood.” I am 26, one year younger than the author. I could not relate to that at all. I made my terrible decisions despite experiencing love and support. Sometimes my struggle with this book was that I did not relate to the depictions of millennials of faith, despite being one myself. I was also not always certain that these are issues specific to our generation, or just people who hit the early-adulthood phase of their lives. In those cases, context and extra research would have made his arguments a bit more compelling. With that stated, this is certainly worth the read. I think this book is ideal for other evangelical millennials seeking guidance on <b>why</b> it is wise to live according to the values of their faith. It is a book for discussion more than it is for solitary reading. I think this book is also valuable to those who are not evangelicals, as it gives the reader a sense of where evangelicals are coming from.
Holiness. It's something that many believe is an archaic term. It's something that many believe is no longer relevant. The author does an excellent job of weaving personal stories and struggles with God's truths in order to show us how important this issue is. God is calling His people back to a life of holiness. The question is whether or not we will return. I'm thankful that Braun explains that we should return. This book is much needed.
This book is a must read for anyone looking for find something more to what this life has to offer. In this book Tyler explains how his past and the uniqueness of it brought him on a journey to seeing why holiness is so important in our culture today. Tyler being a PK always knew it was important but never knew what that meant for him personally. In this book you will go on a journey through his past seeing how he came to be the person he is today. I would definetly recoment this to anyone! Great Read! - Sean Doherty
Peel back the layers and you will find that one of he greatest fissures in modern Christian thinking lies between authenticity and rule keeping. Most people won’t lead with either of these labels, but they are there. I work with college students and we have both types of students: those who just want the rules, just want a checklist, and those who use the quest for authenticity as a trump card, justification for poor decisions. There is a third way, though, and this way is the subject of Tyler Braun’s strong effort: “Why Holiness Matters.” Braun argues that while most in the millennial generation will resonate with authenticity thinking, there is something better that Jesus offers: holiness. Braun does his best work by taking this old idea and making it new and fresh for his contemporaries (although there’s plenty here for non-millennials as well). I appreciated Braun’s relational approach to the conversation: holiness is not new (or better) behaviors, nor is it something we simply feel (or drift) our way into. Rather holiness begins with new affections. Our relationship, love of, and connection to a holy God leads to holiness. I especially enjoyed the chapters on community and mission. Braun does well to emphasize that holiness is a communal process and draws us into community, it’s not a solo pursuit. But, holiness doesn’t lead us to lock the doors and keep the bad people out. We are compelled back into the world to love and serve our neighbors. A solid effort, and a book I will likely use with students this year. Sometimes we don’t need new words, we just need new definitions and conversations about good, old words.
Tyler Braun takes you on his own personal journey of the great battle every person is in; self-centered vs. Christ-centered; who we are vs. who we are in Christ; sin vs. holiness; pride vs. humility; recognizing our need for God vs. our own evil desires. Read how God continued to love him through the dark night of the soul; that God loves us and desires intimacy with each one of us. God fights alongside of us helping us to find our way. No matter where you are right now with your relationship with God this book will help you find the next step in your pursuit of God's holiness. Learn the otherness of God compared to us and realize that the only good in us is God; only in Him can we do what is right. Humility is total dependence on God. Holiness; find out what it is and go after it with all your heart.