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Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society Hardcover – May 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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, Q founder 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--and 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 of 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 toward 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 the 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 the 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

"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 of Willow Creek

"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

About the Author

Timothy D. Willard has written for publications and organizations such as Catalyst, WinShape Foundation, The Prison Entrepreneurship Program, and Invisible Ink. He is also pursuing an MA in Christian Thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He lives with his wife and their daughter, Lyric.

R. Jason Locy is the Creative Director of FiveStone, a multi-disciplinary design studio whose client list includes MTV, Chick-fil-A, Q, and Catalyst, and has won multiple awards for his work. He has also written articles for Catalyst and the Q blog. He lives with his wife and three children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 58714th edition (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310325633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310325635
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This brand new book by Timothy Willard and Jason Locy confronts us with realities so many of us face from day to day - the need to recognize and strip away the many cultural veneers we've applied over the years and to rediscover our personal and collective identity in God - the real me. They do so by helping readers to discern the interplay between the language of culture and the language of God and how the former often silences the latter.

The language of culture beckons us to talk a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way, and ultimately live a certain way. "We all speak this language as we mimic the world of celebrity, buy in to the promise of consumption, and place our trust in the hope of progress." The celebrity world tempts us to put self above all others. Through consumption we search for meaning, while the progress of technology allows us to escape the real. "Our computer screens and avatars simulate the life we want but not necessarily the life we have."

In the chapters that follow, the authors address a number of these concerns:

- The veneer of celebrity causes us to strive after culture's definition of success which elevates self. By focusing almost exclusively on self-promotion, we usually end up leveraging our relationships as a means of gaining notoriety and fame. Jesus, however, calls us to self-abandonment, to promote the `other' and to redefine success as obedience to God.

- We are a culture obsessed with consuming, and every decision we make about what to buy (we believe) makes a statement about who we are trying to become, so that consumption and identity coalesce. We believe that our purchases define us, so we end up buying what culture says will give us meaning.
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Format: Hardcover
I got to a certain point that I could not put the book down aside for the need for a few hours of sleep. When you dive into the carefully crafted supposals and convicting glimpses into the warped consumerist society we live in, you will come up dripping in a desire for authenticity. As the authors state, we have become consumed with a mindset that produces a rapid me first mentality. Our constant diet of meaningless information for the sake of information has dulled our desire for deep genuine relationships. Through the authors voice we are galvanized to a deeper relationship, not only with those around us, but with the creator. In Veneer, we are challenged to engage the world in a concise, beautiful and eloquent manner, and to grab hold of life just as the authors state "The world is a tactile place, not merely to be experienced but to be encountered."
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Format: Hardcover
Jason Locy and Tim Willard have tackled a very challenging topic in this book, one which impacts each of us to varying degrees. I read the majority of the book in two days, as I found myself very intrigued by this concept of "veneer" and their unpacking of it. The fear with any such concept is that I would have to do some self-evaluation, and potentially let down my guard and expose the "real me". I loved the first few chapters. I thought that I had considered most of the reasons behind why I give in to putting a veneer on in my life, but I recognized many new ideas about how I've been letting the world define me and determine my value based on the usual criteria for success and worth. The book helped spur me on to even deeper reevalution of the motives behind my choices and my purchases in everyday life, everything from how I might use Facebook or why I choose Starbucks, etc. I found in the latter half of the book a refreshing reminder of the freedom that comes with being fully known, and fully valued by God, and with that, the ability to pursue authentic relationships with others. I appreciated their encouragement to get off the roller coaster ride of people-pleasing and wondering whether I'm ever quite enough, and to embrace the steadfast, unwavering acceptance of Christ on a daily basis. I love the quote on page 171, "In Christ, we see fear cast aside and we see healing in our lives and in our relationships, and we find courage in the confidence we have through our relationship with him." Initially, it seemed as though Locy and Willard were presenting the veneer idea solely on a more conceptual level, and I was left wanting more specific application of this concept. But, as I came to Chapter 10, it met my desire for more specific application.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Part 1 of this book was the part I expected. In fact, I thought that Part 1 would be the whole book. I thought it would be a sustained cultural critique and an offer of various alternatives for Christian living. Part 2 was unexpected, but, logically and spiritually, the real answer to the deficiencies noted in the first part. In other words, saying for so long that "Culture is surface-oriented and fake at heart" cannot be answered by simply offering surface solutions to the problem. Our cultural problem is deeply rooted in the heart. The authors spend 60% of the book inviting the reader into a sincere, deep love of Jesus and relationship with Him that is the antidote to our surface society. I was personally moved by their Spirit-infused invitation and could indeed very easily hear the voice of Jesus on the beach inviting me to the depths of abundant life found in Him.
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