Today, after nearly two years of writing, praying, hoping, and dreaming, my first book, Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood, releases out into the world.
It’s an odd feeling. On the one hand it feels momentous and huge and terrifying – and it is all those things! But on the other hand, today feels normal. I woke up, made coffee, took a shower, got dressed, and headed over to the high school to mentor a student like I do every other Tuesday. Today feels just like every other day. Oh, it will be different, there is no doubt about that. Writing this week’s sermon may be one of the most difficult because I will be distracted by the desire to scour social media to read all the tidbits about the book. There will be a low grade anxiety running under the surface as I imagine people getting the book in the mail, starting to read it, and then having thoughts about it. Maybe even not liking it.
Yeah, today will be the same and it will be very, very different.
But I also don’t want it to be just about me and my book. I want it to be about more. Even the book isn’t really about the book. It’s about the message I believe God has given me to steward. For it to terminate on me is to short-circuit the intent of the book which is to turn men (and women!) outward into the world. Working with the Holy Spirit, my hope is this helps release fully human Jesus followers who are willing to risk and love and generously give grace into a world that needs to know that God is near.
So on this day, I want to point beyond myself and my book and my “thing.”
First, in honor of the book’s release I want to do a couple of things. First off, there’s a t-shirt! My friend Micah helped put this together. I love the design, which is a play on the cover of the book. All the proceeds of the t-shirt sales will go to support the Syrian refugee crisis. I’d love it if we could donate $1,000 to the cause. Follow the link, get a killer shirt, and help a great cause.
Second, so many people have helped me in making Man Enough a reality. From my wife, Sarah, who supported the junk out of this project and me writing it; Jenni Burke, my agent; the team at Zondervan; and other writers. Seriously, so many writers out there helped me with edits, ideas, navigating the publishing world, and sharing about the project from their platform. I cannot thank them enough! Thank you!
I’d love to pay it forward. So here are a few books that are releasing in the next few months that I hope you’ll check out.
Coming Clean: A Story of Faith. Seth Haines. Releasing October 27, 2015
Seth is one of my favorite writers. He is a poet at heart, stringing words together in such a way that you don’t just read them, you see them. Sharing his own struggles with alcohol, Seth asks us to consider that we all might be drunk on something. Each of us has something we turn to for solace. For some, it’s the bottom of the bottle. For others, it’s the midnight scour of the internet. But we all have something. Peace comes when we’re willing to come clean.
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith. Sarah Bessey. Releasing November 3, 2015
Sarah’s book Jesus Feminist was such a helpful addition to the conversation around women in the church. In a style that makes you feel like you are sitting at the table over a cup of coffee, Sarah invites us to have conversations about contentious subjects in a way that moves the dialogue forward. In her new book, Sarah is inviting us to engage our faith. All of it. To ask the hard questions, admit our uncertainty and doubts, and feel like we are still holding on to something important. I can’t wait for this read!
Beginnings: The First Seven Days of the Rest of Your Life. Steve Wiens. Releasing January 1, 2016.
I got the privilege to read Steve’s book. It is one of the most creative approaches to the seven day creation story I’ve encountered. With the Genesis 1 account as a framework, Steve helps us to see that God is creating something new in us. Each transition in life is a new beginning if we are open to the possibility that God is still creating. Still shaping. Still saying, “It is good.”
Finding God in the Ruins: How God Redeems Pain. Matt Bays. Releasing March 1, 2016
Matt is a relatively unknown force in the Christian blogosphere. He doesn’t have the biggest following or the most read blog. But dang if he doesn’t have the ability to write and connect in a powerful way! Also, he has become a dear friend. One of the most genuine people I know. His book is going to be unbelievably encouraging and helpful for those who are walking in the valley of the shadow of death. Here’s a promo video Matt made for the book (also, he is a crazy good musician!)
These are books I’m going to be celebrating and reading. Which ones are you looking forward to?