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Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything [Kindle Edition]

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Book 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.

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


About the Author

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 1139 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (December 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433677873
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433677878
  • ASIN: B009EGBR80
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,063 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are a nobody wanting to be a somebody, "Quit!" September 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
There's something about this book that hit's me wrong. But as much as I hate to admit it, it's totally right.

The whole world right now is about getting noticed. If you are in business, just hunkering down and doing the work is no longer acceptable. There must be innovation, transformation and marketing of your idea. This is done in the boardroom all the way down to the boiler room.

Social media is all about standing out. We try to write clever Facebook status posts, hoping for "engagement" and likes. Twitter reposts are validation and the accumulation of friends and followers is the modern day treasure chest of status. Everyone is trying to be the loudest voice in a noisy world.

Embracing Obscurity is written by Anonymous. Right away I want to know the credibility of the writer, his theology, and his authority to speak truth. Just a few pages into the book and I'm realized that by looking at all of this first, I was missing the point on this book - and maybe my entire existence

Contrast this with Michael Hyatt's book, "Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World."The CEO of Thomas Nelson gives all kinds of advice on how to stand above the crowd.Embracing Obscurity encourages you to fly under the radar, to let others get the attention while you go about God's work.

He admits, "The thought of being just one out of 100 billion people who have lived on this planet offends us."

We all want to be somebody. Whether it's an important opinion in the Bible study, a volunteer at the PTA, an innovator at work. If you are in the arts, you thrive on the cheers and adulation of those that admire your work.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It will make you do some soul searching October 1, 2012
I received an advanced reader copy of this book. The book's marketer found me through my book review blog. I was sent a copy before it was made available to the public. I am proud that as a reviewer I received this book before anyone else.

The above statement makes me exactly the type of person who needs to read this book. It is about overcoming our pride problem. We all have one and this book will help you see that and hopefully overcome it by "Embracing Obscurity."

The author confronts us with the reality that we are "just 1 in 7 billion." By embracing obscurity the author means being content with being relatively unknown so that Christ can be made more known. Our time on earth will come and go but eternity is forever and it is for eternity we should live.

The key to obscurity's embrace is finding our significance in Christ. When we find our significance in Christ "we are freed from our vanity and can instead fulfill God's purposes for us" (p. 66). "To get to the place where we can truly embrace our obscurity, we'll have to sacrifice our dreams of worldly success and instead take on this humble disposition...the disposition of Christ" (p. 85).

The author provides a very helpful contrast between Christ's disposition of humility versus Satan's disposition of pride (pp. 50-51). Modeling Jesus Christ is only way to embrace obscurity.

He warns of falling for "The Joseph Principle." This is the dangerous misconception that
"If I am suffering in obscurity today, God must be preparing me for something greater, better, or more prominent later in life" (p. 116).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Challenge October 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
How do we break free from the embrace of pride? According to the anonymous author of Embracing Obscurity, we must first realize that we cannot do it alone; we must first submit ourselves to God. Second, we must follow the commands we find in Scripture (listed in Chapter Two).

While those two suggestions might seem obvious, this book's strength is in the author's call to intentional humility. Most of us allow pride's subtle tendrils to entwine our lives, never even recognizing their existence. This author forces the reader to take a realistic look at their life: "We are told, 'Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus' (Phil. 2:5). Yet interestingly enough, our current M.O. appears alarmingly similar to another disposition of which we learn in Scripture: Lucifer's."

That section, contrasting Christ's disposition in giving up heaven to enter our world with that of Satan in rebelling against God, was the strongest of the entire book. I read each contrasting pair with eyes wide open, recognizing far too much pride in my own life. Where Jesus did not count equality with God something to be grasped, I too often presume upon His grace. Where Jesus willingly humbled Himself, I too often seek out accolades. This book speaks right into that pride, reminding me that God calls most of us to live lives of humble service.

I recommend you pick up a copy of this book, primarily because it will challenge you to confront your own sin. You will be spurred to confess your pride to God and to commit yourself to a life of greater humility. While I thought the book was short on practical suggestions and became slow in the latter half, those two criticisms are far less weighty than the book's strengths, which are many.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Gospel?
I have to be honest I only read the first two chapters of the book so I could be wrong in my analysis, but in the first 2 chapters I heard no gospel. Not a word about the gospel. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars Great easy read
Great easy read. Very practical and thought provoking to living your life in the shadows of what God wants to do! Read more
Published 17 days ago by Lisa Ulrich
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent thought provoking book! One which every leader or aspiring leader should read
Published 2 months ago by Roger W. Sikkenga
5.0 out of 5 stars this puts a lot into perspective
What a great book. It just helped to remind me that this world is not all there is.
Thank you
Published 3 months ago by Thomas Lotz
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
The call to serve is one of humility grounded in obscurity. This book was a challenging encouragement to live a life of obscurity. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dale Myers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Tremendous book. Insightful. A tremendous motivator for a life of service and humility.
Published 4 months ago by Wm. P. Farley
5.0 out of 5 stars ... it is about obscurity other than it is highly recommended for all
Not much to say since it is about obscurity other than it is highly recommended for all, not just Christians because we all get a little prideful of ourselves which then causes us... Read more
Published 4 months ago by morgan daniels
5.0 out of 5 stars Convicting
I found myself broken time again by the simple convicting truth and transparency of the author. Read at your own risk.
Published 5 months ago by Caroline Mann
5.0 out of 5 stars How Full Is YOUR Cup, and What Is It Filled With?
Ask yourself this questions, "How full is your cup (soul) and what is it filled with? Yourself and your desires, or filled with the embodiment of our Lord and Savior Jesus... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Shawn Kovacich
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought-provoking
THANKS. A VERY unsettling concept. Worth reading and applying.
Published 7 months ago by Roger D. Peugh
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