It’s always a humiliating task to ask colleagues (and sometimes friends of friends) to read a book manuscript and say something nice about it. It’s basically saying, “Can you read this, but don’t grade it, and then celebrate me in writing?” That’s not weird at all, right?
I was honored by the folks around the world who were willing to do this, some who barely know me or didn’t know me at all. That’s a level of kindness not often experienced in academia and I don’t take it for granted.
My deep appreciation goes out to Karen Prior Swallow, Tim Mackie, Mike Bird, Anthony Bradley, Scott Sauls, Peter Leithart, Jonathan Pennington, and even my own wife for endorsing a book that I’m certain they found some faults with. Not to mention all the people who read rusty and ill-formed drafts, who helped me think about what I needed to say.
I’m especially excited for the foreword written by David Dark, whose work I have admired at a distance. Just the titles of his books indicate his no-nonsense approach to our Christianity—truly a brother from another mother. It’s very good stuff worthy of your reading!
Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious
The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
The Gospel According to America
Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radio Head, The Simpsons, and Other Pop Culture Icons
Here’s a taste of his foreword, which is an excellent piece of writing in its own right:
This is an essential task in our radioactive days, days in which certain rituals seem almost designed to deaden our conscience and rituals of deep attentiveness feel almost like a luxury our lives of high tech haste can no longer afford. Most helpfully, Johnson wonders how it is that certain rituals become “dark and flimsy” tending toward estrangement, denial, and weakened spirit and how we might bring them into the light so that our daily activities can support deep discernment, moral seriousness, and joy. In this, Johnson joins Henry David Thoreau as a voice that admonishes us against playing along with whatever it takes to avoid conflict and get by.