Timothy Willard and Jason Locy introduce their new book Veneer with the hope of showing how people can live deeply in a superficial society. Willard and Locy take a strong stance on many societal flaws of our time and work to display how our human condition is the reason for our culture’s downfall. They also offer ways to see how God can change our world to be back in line with His kingdom.
These two authors benefit from having a great storytelling style. Most chapters, and many sections within the chapter, begin with a vivid description of an event or a place. Their style draws the reader in and creates an almost tangible feeling for some places. Their description of the Four Corners in America is particularly visual. They don’t just rely on a strong voice; they also have many thought-provoking and convicting ideas. Points are backed by both solid biblical evidence and various authors who share their views. Veneer is supported also by various other reading sources in each chapter.
There are some down sides to Veneer. Whereas the storytelling is deep and engaging, the points of some sections are lost. The authors sometimes transition from story aid to topic with little connection between the two. The chapters are also extremely long. It may seem daunting to have one chapter that takes half an hour to read. This would be less of a problem if the authors kept a consistent idea throughout, but often they hit a variety of loosely related ideas instead.
Another issue that arises is that a good deal of their teaching comes off with a superior tone. Their writing sometimes seems like their teaching is something that can only be grasped if their readers are intellectual, or if they break it down enough to be understood. They never reach the point of sounding insulting, but it can come off as pretentious.
Veneer is a solid book that offers intelligent ideas in an interesting way. Willard and Locy ask many questions that Christians should be considering. Their insights are not the only answers, but they are definitely thoughts to ponder. Veneer serves well as a beginning to what could end up being a much more in-depth study. I would recommend it to an audience that wants to reexamine its views on how Christians see the world, and how they let the world see them. – Todd Naevestad, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Would you frequent a store with the motto “We don’t offer perfection but, rather, the beauty of imperfection”? If you were in the market for wood flooring, you might almost demand such an outlet! Beautifully aged and authentically distressed wood possesses a quality and character than is unable to be duplicated in a manufactured laminate product. The best laminate veneer holds no comparison to the patina of the original.
Authors Timothy Willard and Jason Locy draw a skillful comparison between valuable flooring and authentic Christian living. It is their belief, and the premise of Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society, that life is richer and more appreciated when the veneer is removed and the character of the material is allowed to shine through. Like skilled woodworkers, they carefully strip away the highly regulated and manufactured veneers of “good Christian living” and then tenderly restore the underlying material – one’s character –so that the uniqueness of the individual shines through. Just as each board tells a different story, so each life should have its unique characteristics.
Throughout this process, the reader is challenged to examine their own thoughts and decisions against the character and person of God. Willard and Locy masterfully display the simplicity of life in a way that highlights the greatness and majesty of God while revealing the flaws and garishness of what passes for “acceptable societal norms.”
Although a voracious reader, I rarely read a book in one sitting. Veneer stands out in that regard. I literally could not put it down, and devoured the 260+ pages while waiting for my sons to complete their swim team practice! My eyes raced from page to page, my heart responding to the truths found within God’s Word as explained by the authors. More passages were highlighted and pages turned down for further contemplation in this book than in any other of similar size.
Perhaps the largest concept to grab my attention dealt with the difference between experiencing God (a popular phrase in some Christian circles) to the desire God has for His creation to encounter Him. Experience focuses on a past action – you know what a roller coaster experience contains, for example; yet an encounter could be anything – and that is the point God stresses to His children. Life could be anything, but He is there! I can heartily recommend
Veneer to you. I would also recommend setting aside time for reading it, as I expect it will grip you much as it did me. – Charles Eldred, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The world has a love affair—with itself. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, we think of ourselves as mini celebrities, and we use consumption and technology to convince our friends that this facade is who we are. Veneer illustrates that consumption is more than just acquiring more stuff; it is a potentially dangerous mindset—a mindset turning everything, even people, into products. According to authors Timothy Willard and R. Jason Locy, there is evidence of consumption in all channels of culture—even the church. Most Christian commentators suggest that the church should speak the language of the congregants. Willard and Locy suggest the opposite approach: if congregants are steeped in a culture of consumption, the church should not speak their language at all. Veneer encourages the church to become a refreshing voice amidst a veneered world, inviting you to lead an unveneered life of freedom, honesty, and beauty. Taking on an original concept that addresses the potential dangers of consumption and technology, Veneer speaks to many Christians who are unsure how to live with true meaning among the ever-changing trends and technology our culture offers.