Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything  -     By: Anonymous
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Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything

B&H Books / 2012 / Paperback

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None of us want to be forgotten. If we're honest with ourselves, we crave to be recognized by our peers for the work we do, or the children we're raising, or the church we're leading. It can be indredibly difficult to lay our ambitions aside and go unnoticed for our efforts. But is this how Christians should live, or have we bought into a worldly notion of success and acheivement? What would happen if we set aside our craving for recognition and instead embraced obscurity?
One Christian author chose to do this, and remained anonymous in writing this book. They hope to inspire others to choose the way of humility as well. Throughout the book, the author calls for Christians to stop imitating the world's formula for success, and consider again the example of our Humble Servant King, who had the most right of anyone in creation for respect and recognition, but gave it up for us. Discover the unsurpassed peace and pleasure of becoming nothing in light of God's everything.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X 0.59 (inches)
ISBN: 1433677814
ISBN-13: 9781433677816
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

No matter how famous someone might be, the fact remains; most of the other seven billion people on Earth wouldn’t know him or her from the next person. Add this reality to one’s shrinking recognizability among the multiple billions down through history, and the worldly emphasis on standing out really falls flat; we’re all in this obscurity thing together.

Ironically, the trouble with me and you and the rest of humanity is not a lack of self-confidence but that we have far too much self-importance. To live and die unnoticed would seem a grave injustice to many. It’s all too easy to think we’re somebody if our portfolio is strong, there are a few letters after our name, or we’re well-known at work, church, or school.

As pride creeps in, we are tempted to want more: more recognition, more admiration, more influence, more, more, more. Few have ever given thought to wanting less. That’s why we need Embracing Obscurity.

Putting the premise into immediate action, an established Christian author electing to remain anonymous writes about living and dying in simplicity, contending that true success, as modeled by Jesus, starts with humility, service, sacrifice, and surrender. Such a life involves mystery and banks on the hope that today is just a dress rehearsal for eternity.

When we stop imitating the world and instead choose to embrace obscurity, real life -- chock full of significance, purpose, and renewed passion -- begins.

Author Bio

Anoymous is an experienced author who shall remain anonymous given the topic of the book at hand.

Editorial Reviews

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. And let’s be real, the church isn’t all that different. In fact, in the church we often make the case that influence is something to be pursued; the greater our influence, the greater our impact for Christ. Yet, what does it mean to make much of ourselves in order to make much of Him, instead of trusting Him to make much of Himself—despite us. Embracing Obscurity is incredibly powerful as it reminds us to question whether we are building our own self-importance or finding it in Christ. Are we willing to be obscure so that Christ is exalted? How can we say no?

—Jen Hatmaker, author of Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess


Our lives can exalt only one person. This book challenged me to consider who, for me, that one person was. Am I willing to embrace obscurity for Jesus? If only one person can receive attention in my life, is it Him? This book helped me marvel again at the Christ who embraced obscurity for us. His humiliation led to our exaltation. When we understand that, how can we not say, "He must increase, but I must decrease!"

—JD Greear, Lead Pastor, the Summit Church Twitter: @jdgreear @summitrdu


In an age where value is often determined by the number of Twitter followers and Facebook "likes" a person has, the idea of embracing obscurity seems about as outdated as an old rotary dial phone. Not to mention, social networking has made it possible to broadcast the details of our day down to what we had for breakfast and the playlist of songs we listened to on our lunch break. It’s all beginning to be a bit too much. I applaud whoever wrote this book for reminding us all of our ultimate purpose: To make much of God and less of ourselves. This book is an absolute treasure that should be on every Christian’s nightstand. Permanently.

—Vicki Courtney, a fellow author, who would have rather gone unnamed to embrace obscurity

Embracing Obscurity may change the way you view the authentic Christian life. It pierced my heart with the simple truth that I do not suffer from a lack of self-confidence but from an abundance of self-importance. Can I be content with relative obscurity so that Christ may be made more famous?! A haunting question to be sure. A worthwhile question no doubt. So, be prepared to be made uncomfortable in a good way.

—Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


It is a paradoxical sign of the times that a book advocating the virtues of anonymity yet requires named endorsements in order to be properly marketable. Thus, it is with some sense of irony, if not incoherence, that I commend this work. We live in an age where self-promotion is the norm and where even many sincere Christians have bought into this culture with enthusiasm. Yet the message of this important book is that such self promotion is not simply a neutral cultural tool but is in fact antithetical to biblical Christianity. This is a timely call to modesty, privacy, and humility. It is painful but necessary reading that is likely to be hated, disparaged, or simply ignored by the very people who most need to heed its message.

—Carl R. Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary

Many of us are drunk right now, intoxicated with a desire to be respected, honored, and widely known. And yet this intoxication derails our ability to give God the respect, honor, and renown that He so rightly deserves. For this reason, the author of Embracing Obscurity argues that we must renounce his desire to build our own kingdom and, in so doing, we will find unspeakable joy and freedom in Christ. If you are fighting the temptation to build your own kingdom—like I am—you need to buy this book and take its thesis to heart.

—Bruce Riley Ashford, Dean of The College Research Fellow, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Embracing Obscurity is a tremendous challenge to the greatest hindrance to fulfilling the Great Commission, namely PLEASURE. I must get this book into the hands of all the people I lead.

—Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia

Embracing Obscurity challenges us to cultivate a joyful sense of contentment in the truth that the One who matters most already knows you. Being known by Him is enough.

—Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project, author of Counterfeit Gospels and Holy Subversion

If American evangelicalism is like a football team, with different positions and players, Embracing Obscurity is the 300-pound linebacker lurking over the middle. It hits hard. There were sentences in this book that stopped me cold. Conclusions from its provocative critique will vary, but the book is prophetic and needed. I’m not anonymous in recommending this text, but I’m definitely stirred to embrace the gospel that knocks us down like Saul, frees us from sin and death, and turns vainglorious somebodies into glorious nobodies.

—Owen Strachan, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History; coauthor, Essential Edwards Collection

Pride is the plague of the human heart, and like most people, I long to be known. I long to enter into the kingdom of heaven riding the white horse, crown on my head, sword in my hand. I want to be the self-sufficient Christian. The gospel call, though, is a call to enter the kingdom on my knees. It is because of this that I am deeply grateful for the unknown author who not only embraced obscurity, but who lovingly calls us to do the same in this book. Please reed, weep, and walk this way.

—Micah Fries, pastor, Frederick Boulevard

A man who won’t put his name on his book greatly authenticates his thesis "All for His glory, none of mine." Only the cross has the wondrous attraction. Not me, not my church, not my glory. America’s Christians and their leaders need no message more than this, "He must increase; I must decrease. Completely."

—John Bisagno

 

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  1. North Dakota
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    OMG....all believers need to read this book!!
    February 15, 2014
    North Dakota
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What an amazing truth that this book reveals in this world of titles, position and riches....even in our churches! No wonder our churches look no difference then the world. Read it....chew on the meanings that God might have for you and your life. This book is thought provoking, indeed!! It magnified my awareness of the simple message of the Gospel and what Jesus commanded, "Love God and love others as yourself"... Allowing God to examine our motives and owning what comes out of that examination is nothing short of life changing. Exalting Him in all we do....out of the love we have for Him takes a lot of surrender & decreasing in "worldly status". Loved it and will order many for friends and family.
  2. ruthhill74
    Yelm, WA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Intriguing
    December 23, 2013
    ruthhill74
    Yelm, WA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Well, I think the name of this book honestly does speak for itself. And it is indeed a "stroke of genius" that we don't even know who the author is. It fits the very thing this book proposes--do not seek any glory for yourself. True humility is what is expected of the Christian, and this book certainly made me think. This is not an easy nor popular lesson, but it is vital to the Christian walk.

    I found myself not connecting with the book as well as I normally do, and I think the main reason is that this issue is not one with which I normally struggle. I'm not trying to hold myself up as one who never struggles with the issue of pride, but this is not as a big issue for me as other Christian issues (that I won't detail here). I also felt that some of the book was a little one-sided, but I understand why. So often, Christian books do focus on the "Joseph principle" and that suffering leads to reward. I think it is important that the concept that possibly God's desire is for Christians to serve in obscurity is detailed in this book no matter how unpopular that topic is.

    I love the fact that this is written as a small-group Bible study, and I think this is the best way to go through this book. Countless Scripture and personal stories are provided as evidence and proof of the blessings of living the way this book suggests. I completely agree with this often over-looked subject, and I think every Christian could stand to read this and determine how God would have him/her live. And although I do not currently struggle with this issue, it is good to bear in mind and watch that I do not veer off my current path and find myself looking for recognition in the wrong places.

    I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
  3. Designer
    Alberta Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Typical Christian pap and dribble !!
    July 17, 2013
    Designer
    Alberta Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 1
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    Unfortunately this small book does not live up to its title. Written by someone who admits to not having many of their own troubles in life but somehow feels like it was necessary to write on such a topic as this. It is full of an emotional type of pleading and void of any real substance to 'take home'. If one aspires to write these types of stories then it would be of greatest value for them to suffer terribly then write out of the emotion that comes from that state.

    Finally, the study questions are as hollow as the main body of the book.....typical self centred naval gazing questions that seem to produce no real results. It all seems to be wrapped around the person who wants to 'experience' more for the sake of their own thinly disguised spiritual ego.
  4. Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Radical message but very real problem
    October 10, 2012
    Bob Hayton
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    I don't remember the last time I saw a recently published book with the author's name given as Anonymous. In Christian circles as much as in your average secular bookstore or website, nothing seems to be as prominent as the author's name. The more well known the author, the larger space is devoted to his or her name on the book cover. But with a title like "Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything," the absence of an author name seems appropriate. Still, I searched through the book looking for any hint of the author's identity, half expecting it would be there somewhere. My search was in vain, as the author of this challenging book has embraced its controversial message heart and soul.

    The back cover of the book encapsulates its message well with these words: "I hate to break it to you, but you're not one in a million. In fact, you're more like one in nearly seven billion. Just one. One life, lived in relative obscurity." The next line is even more challenging: "Are you okay with that?" Everything about the American dream with its make-your-own-man, you-can-be-anything, do-it-yourself "gospel," screams the opposite. You are special. One of a kind! And even Christian leaders and authors trumpet the self-esteem, "be your best self now" message. I imagine many who are reading this right now aren't so sure Mr. Anonymous is making any sense. Doesn't the Bible teach that we are all God's special and unique creations?

    Anonymous is aiming at the pride and self-reliance which lurks just under the surface of our outwardly Christian lives. The author points out the role that "sub-titles" play in our lives: you know, the extra details we use to fill in someone's understanding of us when we introduce ourselves. "Hi, I'm Bob, a well-known Christian blogger and father of six." Such sub-titles function as a way to: "[M]ake others think I'm a somebody. That I matter. That I'm going places. I'm itching for admiration, respect, and yes, jealousy" (pg. 21). The point is not to eschew any titles but rather to not let worldly pursuits define you, or pride rule you.

    The book hammers away at Philippians 2:5-11 and the example that our humble King set for us, in the way of humility. And it calls us to find our true significance not in what we can do, but in who we are by grace. Our significance is in being able to make much of Jesus as his creation, his joint-heir, his bride, etc.

    The world's attitude to success contrasts sharply with a Biblical view of true prosperity. Yet too often, worldly standards shape us and even shape the church. Anonymous explains:

    "I don't think we realize how far we've come in imitating the world's tenets of success or just how dangerous that is. I'm shocked at how easily my friends, family, church, and I have swallowed the lie-hook, line, and sinker-that true fulfillment will greet them on the other side of a PhD and a six-figure income, through a romantic comedy-esque love story, or even through leading a prominent ministry. I'm alarmed at how pride and self-promotion are permeating Christian leadership and how it seems to be seeping down the ranks: to you, to me, to our kids, and throughout our congregations." (pg. 75-76)

    He moves on to focus on how servanthood should characterize us as Christians. And how very unpopular this is even among Christian ministries today. He brings up what he calls "the Joseph principle" too, when it comes to suffering. This is the idea that God is using suffering to prepare me for something mind-blowingly big. God has something better for me. But while Romans 8:28 ("All things work together for the good of those who love God_") is true, the notion that God has something tangibly good in a worldly sense for our future isn't necessarily the case. Anonymous asks "Will you still trust God if your ‘good' is to go on embracing obscurity-living in simplicity and devotion to Him-your entire life?_ Would you mind if your ‘good' is only a greater understanding of the suffering Jesus went through on your behalf and mine?" (pg. 118-119).

    He goes on to talk about embracing the "mystery." Our lives and choices should seem crazy to unbelievers. "Is my life mysterious?" the author asks. "Or do I live, love and lust like the rest of the world?" (pg. 129). He brings up the example of NFL running back Glen Coffee who walked away from football after one season, because he wanted to follow God's call on his life. Is that mysterious or what?

    The book ends with a look at how to use public notoriety for Christ, when it comes unexpectedly. And how our embracing of obscurity really earns for us an eternal weight of glory in the age to come.

    This book packs a punch but is written in a conversational, easy-to-read tone. It is chuck full of down-to-earth illustrations and personal vignettes. The stories of numerous individuals give meat to the skeletal principles discussed, and flesh out what it means to embrace obscurity. The book is not overly long, but the message isn't light and trivial, so taking one's time reading and praying through the book would be ideal. Discussion questions are included for each chapter making this perfectly suited for a small group or Sunday school.

    As a Christian blogger, this book is especially convicting. I need to focus more on why I do what I do, and need to also look for the pride which so easily hides behind anything we do. I highly recommend this book and trust it will have a wide influence. The message is radical but the problem is real. "Embracing Obscurity" calls us to reexamine what it means to live life as strangers and pilgrims, just passing through this world on our way home.

    Disclaimer: This book was provided by Brodman & Holman Publishing. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
  5. Chicks with Choices
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Anonymous gained my respect and intrigue.
    October 9, 2012
    Chicks with Choices
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    I was contacted a few months ago from a marketing company promoting a book just released on October 1, 2012 titled, Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything.

    The title grabbed my attention, but the author's choice to remain anonymous gained my respect and intrigue.

    Incognito blows in the face of everything writers are forced to clamor toward today.

    Without sounding too sacrilegious (because the book is surely Christ centered), this thorough consideration on personal obscurity throws a finger at platform building, Twitter numbers, blog readership, speaking engagements, sales; even the importance we feel toward how many "likes" we get on our crafty facebook posts.

    For me, the book is like fresh wind after three hundred and fifty five days of humid filled, back busting labor in an attempt to build a "name" for myself; a nemesis I've wrestled with... a lot!

    Although there are points I would argue with, this book has caused me to pause, wrestle further, question my own intentions and analyze my current walk with Jesus. For me, that is the mark of a good read and so for that alone I give the book four out of five stars.

    Wrestling and analysis brings complexity.

    Convoluted messages get lost, however, in this noisy world. All that I wish to say is too much to unravel within my average 500 word blog, so I'm choosing to spend three days in review of Embracing Obscurity. I am spending this time, not because it was requested of me, not because there is any kind of compensation (see disclosure at the end of my post), but because in everything I write it is my reader I have in mind.
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