Tyler Braun is a pastor from Portland, Oregon whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released. Learn about an exclusive offer for purchasing the book. You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog, manofdepravity.com.
What inspired you to write the book?
Almost two years ago I began to think about what I lost in not valuing my innocence throughout my adolescent years. I began to think about how Christian culture places such a incredible focus on authenticity and brokenness about sin that we can easily have people believing they need a past in order to fit in.
From there I had a conversation with an author who told me she was concerned about my generation’s lack of desire for holiness. I immediately drew the connection between my lack of innocence to my lack of holiness. And I saw how my own life story of not valuing innocence, getting comfortable with sin, and then waging a war with my shame, was really a story about holiness (or lack thereof). This is what inspired the book.
What has been your experience in the church personally and what are your hopes and dreams for what it could become?
Having been a pastor’s kid my entire life, all I’ve ever known is going to church and being involved at church. Whether it be Sunday morning service dramas where I had to wear make up or the endless amount of youth group all-nighters, I’ve done almost every crazy thing there is to do at the local church level. More than that though, I’ve grown up in the church growth movement where focus was given toward how to do church rather than why to do church.
My dreams for the church are to continue getting the why down right before we ever consider how to do church. The church is the hope of the world as long as the relationships within lead closer to Christ. We need churches that continue to sacrifice themselves for the sake of allowing those without hope to have hope.
What is most frustrating to you about the faith of the Millennial Generation?
We want to do a lot without being anything. I think we’ve gotten the Christian life flipped around. We focus so much on activism and being engaged in the world around us that we can forget who has sent us out. Church becomes unnecessary when the entirety of faith is about what we do. And we’ve seen this reflected in the gaping hole most churches have between the ages of 15 and 35.
Someone recently told me regarding our cultural engagement efforts, the fruit looks great, but we’ve lost the vine, which is Christ.
Allowing Christ’s love for us to push us out into loving others can often become a human effort where we love others in order to impress them and God. Rather than seeing where we messed this up, we instead blame the church for being out of touch. We must come back to Christ and begin by allowing His love for us to shape us.
In college I played intramural basketball with a bunch of my friends and during one game the other team had a girl who decided to guard me. She told me just to play my normal game. I’m a competitive guy so I didn’t think anything of it. I was going to make the team pay for putting a girl on me.
I went off in that game. I’ve had some hot shooting streaks in my day but nothing like this. I made 11 three-pointers that game. It felt as if I was playing NBA Jam circa 1998 in real life. But more than all those made shots I remember this girl guarding me tough when I was in the corner. I weaved the ball around and my elbow just clipped her nose. In the midst of the best game of my life I managed to become the schmuck who elbowed a girl in the face. I think I apologized to her 25 times that night.
But it worked out because that girl became my wife 3 years later.
I assume a follow-up book is planned or you’ve got something coming up next. Fill us in!
I’m going to be releasing an ebook on mentoring tentatively titled, “How to Find and Thrive With a Mentor.” The set up is my own story of going mentor-less for over 5 years, and then I provide some needed principles for a Millennial to seek after and then find someone to speak into their life. I think it’s a practical but needed guidebook for many based on tons of conversations I’ve had with others who want a mentor but can’t find one.
Beyond that, I’m kicking around some ideas for a 2nd book to follow up Why Holiness Matters, but nothing is set in stone right now. I’ll continue to serve diligently at my church, and write as time allows. I believe God calls us to speak into the vast emptiness of our world. That work never ends.
Thanks, Tyler. Looking forward to reading your new book!