This week, I’ve had the privilege of being able to read Why Holiness Matters, the new book by Tyler Braun. Tyler is a 27-year-old pastor from Portland, Oregon, and was good enough to answer a few questions about himself and his book.
Give us a little background on yourself and where you’ve come from to get to where you are today.
I grew up as the oldest child of a pastor and have known the church as a home for my entire life. Over the past 12 years I’ve primarily served within the church through music, and over the past 5 years I’ve been studying at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in pursuit of a Master’s Degree (I graduate this December). I’m from Oregon and love the laid back culture of the Pacific Northwest.
What does your ideal day look like?
I never thought I’d say this but it starts by getting up early and spending at least 30 minutes in prayer, meditation, and reading. From there I enjoy a good bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee while I write for an hour or so. I like to go on a run before my day fully begins. But the ideal day would have to include some golfing in the afternoon, and a movie on the couch in the evening.
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
Of all the places I’ve been to, Crater Lake (in Oregon) and Jackson Hole, Wyoming have always been top on my list of most beautiful places. I also enjoy spending time with my in-laws in Alaska during the winter. I’ve never experienced a slower pace of life than Alaska in the winter, which is perfect for a restful vacation. I guess that isn’t just one place. Hopefully 3 works for you!
Why did you write this book?
So other people could begin to experience the abundant life God designed for us all to live. I don’t believe this is possible without a pursuit of holiness.
If there’s one ‘take-home message’ you want people to carry with them after reading it, what would it be?
Holiness begins through God’s love for each of us, and is lived out as our love for Him changes the way we live.
What’s your hope for the church over the next ten years?
I would love to see my generation, with all their zeal for loving people, to also love their God with the same zeal.
Thanks for answering these questions!
The book itself is a brilliant read. It’s just shy of 150 pages which, in my opinion, is a great plus-point. The book doesn’t try to be something it’s not or labour over the same point page after page; instead, it is an easy read, but still packs a punch.
A self-confessed millenial child (someone born between 1980 and 2000), Tyler’s outlook on the world and on people is one that I could easily identify with, even though it’s naturally written from an American perspective. Tyler doesn’t write with any sense of arrogance or superiority; in fact throughout, there is a genuine sense that he is on this journey to pursue holiness as much as the rest of us are, and that makes the book infinitely more accessible.
He’s also refreshingly realistic about the call to holiness, making the point that it’s “not a quick fix”. In a world which offers and demands instant results, the call to a lifelong pursuit of holiness is counter-cultural, but it’s one of the most important challenges we face as Christians.
One of the most important points Braun makes is that holiness is not a new concept, or a new set of rules. Holiness comes out of our relationship with God, and it is that relationship – and the relationships we consequently form with other people – that is central.
Also important is the idea of community, of the pursuit of holiness not being a solo act but one conducted in and amongst groups of believers, with deep relationships. Whilst these may sound like obvious points, they are important ones, and the book makes clear the importance of remembering these crucial foundations.
This book doesn’t answer all the questions you might have about holiness and the challenge of being holy, but then I don’t think that’s what Tyler set out to do.
What he has written is not an instruction manual but a beautiful book which encourages, inspires and challenges the reader to consider what it is to be holy in the 21st century, and why holiness – something which has slipped out of many people’s religious consciences – is so important.
About why holiness matters.