VENEER: LIVING DEEPLY IN A SURFACE SOCIETY
Our lives are full of scars, quirks and insecurities we have learned to hide in favor of a more glamorous veneer we hope the world finds more acceptable. This is the modern tragedy. We have forgotten that like the stress-lines and fractures of antique wood, these imperfections in our lives make us beautiful.
Abundant living is more than a wall-post existence. Rich relationships are more than trends, status updates and group invitations. But neither are possible until we allow ourselves to be fully known, imperfections and all. Only then will we come to experience the life we are meant to live.
As authors Tim and Jason explain, the Creator’s idea of humanity is quite different from the world’s. It is also far more rewarding. This life begins when we dare to strip away our veneers and enter a life of freedom, honesty and rare beauty.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Tim and Jason met in 2004 while collaborating on a project for the Catalyst conference. It took about two minutes for them to realize they we were both Pearl Jam fans. They started listing their favorite songs and the various concerts they had attended and quickly realized they both attended the same Pearl Jam concert in the fall of 1996 and probably sat no more than ten yards away from each other.
Over the course of the next several years, they became fast friends; their conversations moving from music to culture to church. It was a natural conversational progression since Jason worked in the world of design and branding, and Tim worked in the church world.
Jason’s work at the studio kept him busy trying to make clients look “good,” while Tim worked as a freelance writer for church leaders.
Their late-night discussions with friends at the pub seemed to revolve around the serious flaws they saw in the world. As Christians, Tim and Jason could not escape the reality that society seemed to be influencing the church instead of the church influencing society.
The original notes for the book were nothing more than a handful of thoughts that read like an angst-filled, distorted guitar, grunge-rock middle-finger “we’re not gonna take it” anthem that they scratched out in their Moleskines. But over time, their immediate reaction evolved to a more thoughtful interaction on the topic.
As Tim and Jason debated ideas, sought counsel, and read, they discovered that these societal issues were by-products of the human condition. They couldn’t separate their Christian faith from the solution—their view of God shaped the entire discussion. Their response became less about their anger toward the world, Christians, and the church, and more about their wanting something different for the world, Christians, and the church.
So the idea for Veneer was born. For Tim and Jason, this book was a project of introspection. It forced them to re-examine their lives, artistic expressions and interactions with culture. The process of writing the book sparked conversations with friends and family as each dealt with the effects society was having on their own lives. They had to wrestle with insecurities and shortcomings and hang-ups. They had to find ways to kick back at a world that doesn’t seem to let go.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“Bold, intelligent and convicting. Even as culture rewards our masks, Veneer urges us to rip them off. The life we ought to live is identified on these pages. Only read if you are ready to shed your façade.”
—Gabe Lyons, founder of Q and author of The Next Christians
“Our culture wants an ‘app for happiness’ and the church too often imitates that ‘app culture’. Veneer contains the best exposure of our ‘Celebrity Me!’ culture I’ve seen and, once Willard and Locy have peeled back the veneer, they take us on a journey into knowing God. A must read for parents and leaders—I’ll be putting copies of this in the hands of my students.”
—Scot McKnight, author of One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow
“When I put down this book, I felt seen, heard, and not crazy. That’s about the highest compliment I can give. Veneer asked me to look at the truth about myself—consumerism, celebrity-gawking, the temptation to give people a curated-and-manufactured Facebook profile version of myself. And then it reminded me of a better way: deep relationships, intimacy, face-to-face connections, honesty even when it’s ugly. It reminded me how I want to live.”
—Shauna Niequist, author of Bittersweet
The more I read Veneer, the more I wanted to keep reading. The writing is refreshingly winsome and artful. Willard and Locy draw from masters, past and present, to offer an incisive cultural theology that drives us towards the knowledge and magnificence of God as the antidote to the superficial cloak of self love and image management so common in today’s world. Compelling, fascinating, challenging—Veneer gives you permission to be you.
—Chip Ingram, author, and president of Living on the Edge
“In a time when so many Christian books offer a lot of sizzle and not much steak, it’s satisfying to find one that defies the trend. Willard and Locy artfully diagnose the shallowness of our culture and call those belonging to Christ into deeper waters. Rather than emulating our society to win wider approval, they encourage us back to scripture and a more profound communion with God.”
—Skye Jethani, senior editor of Leadership Journal
“In a culture commonly driven by consumption, many long for a deeper level of connection that is missing in our busy, lonely lives. Willard and Locy begin to address the questions you’ve only dared to ask in the quietness of your soul. This book will help in the too-often futile search for significance; the significance that shallow success, cheap celebrity, and surface-level acquaintanceships could never provide. Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society is timely and powerful; a deeply compelling work that will surely resonate with this generation.”
—Kevin Palau, president of Luis Palau Association
“Veneer is an insightful book for the times that we live in. Willard and Locy have pulled back the layers as to why the church fails to thrive, and the importance of going deep in a surface world. A compelling, informative, and timely read.”
—Jon Tyson, lead pastor of Trinity Grace New York City
“The message of Veneer is one that every leader needs to hear and adapt. Willard and Locy have provided a much needed ‘reset’ on how we should all think, live, and be.”
—Brad Lomenick, director of Catalyst
“Willard and Locy take a hard look at our society and then provide a gentle and persuasive nudge into a new perspective. A pleasure to read; Veneer will challenge us all”
—Darren Whitehead, teaching pastor at Willow Creek