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We live in a distracted, secular age.
These two trends define life in Western society today. We are increasingly addicted to habits—and devices—that distract and "buffer" us from substantive reflection and deep engagement with the world. And we live in what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor calls "a secular age"—an age in which all beliefs are equally viable and real transcendence is less and less plausible. Drawing on Taylor's work, Alan Noble describes how these realities shape our thinking and affect our daily lives.
Too often Christians have acquiesced to these trends, and the result has been a church that struggles to disrupt the ingrained patterns of people's lives. But the gospel of Jesus is inherently disruptive: like a plow, it breaks up the hardened surface to expose the fertile earth below. In this book Noble lays out individual, ecclesial, and cultural practices that disrupt our society's deep-rooted assumptions and point beyond them to the transcendent grace and beauty of Jesus.
Disruptive Witness casts a new vision for the evangelical imagination, calling us away from abstraction and cliché to a more faithful embodiment of the gospel for our day.
"If you want to know what the next generation of evangelicalism could and should look like, look to Alan Noble. Grounded, faithful, and circumspect, he is asking all the right questions and leading us to better answers."
"Building on the work of philosopher Charles Taylor in A Secular Age, Alan Noble deftly describes unique modern barriers to life lived with and for the Triune God and calls fellow Christians to a better, full-bodied witness. Noble’s teaching gives me hope for the possibility of enfleshed Christian witness in an age that is prone to mostly shrug at ultimate questions. It will also leave more than a few of us disrupted ourselves."
"In our current cultural moment where self is at the center, distraction is the norm, and faith is anything you want it to be, fresh formation and evangelistic strategies are sorely needed. Instead of laboring to help friends, colleagues, and neighbors to merely feel safe and comfortable with our faith, perhaps it’s time to consider a return to the New Testament way. For although the world has changed, the human need has remained the same—for grace and truth, for love and law, for a culture of kindness and a call to repent, for provision of comfort and prophetic disruption. In Disruptive Witness, Alan does a terrific job of painting a picture of what this can look like for us. I highly recommend his work to you."
"Alan Noble has written a concise and timely meditation on the conditions under which Christian witness may be pursued in our age and place. This book is real food for real thought."
Part One: A Distracted, Secular Age
1. The Barrier of Endless Distraction
2. The Barrier of the Buffered Self
3. Searching for Visions of Fullness
Part Two: Bearing a Disruptive Witness
4. Disruptive Personal Habits
5. Disruptive Church Practices
6. Disruptive Cultural Participation
Conclusion: Large and Startling Figures