Virtual Voices

Review: Veneer

Books

In Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society, authors Timothy Willard and Jason Locy take a step back from the language, demands, and expectations of modern culture and expose the veneer under which we often live our lives. Like the coating of polish that covers fake wood to make it look like hardwood oak, cherry, or walnut, the authors point out how a veneer can coat our lives with a lie that says we have it all together when we don't.

Willard and Locy place their fingers squarely on the pulse of the problem of culture: people. They describe how, as sinful human beings, we grasp for greatness in all the wrong ways: through worship of fame, worship of wealth, worship of progress, and worship of self. The authors say this idolatry blinds us to our own veneer and causes us to speak the language of culture instead of the language of God. In order to return to the language of God, in order to experience the wonder of whale stars and the magnificence and terror of encountering the God who made them, Willard and Locy say that we have to be willing to strip off our veneer, humble our selves before our God and our neighbor, to tell the truth, to acknowledge our deep flaws and God's scouring grace.

The authors explore a number of themes within the larger concept of exposing veneer, yet never once does their treatment seem shallow or contrived. Readers can tell these two men have thought deeply about these matters and have encountered radical grace in their own lives. Veneer's heftier content needs to be taken in small bites, but the writing style encourages perseverance, and the thought-provoking message rewards the patient reader with something to chew on for a long while.

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