This post is a book review…
There are very few books that I read cover to cover in a day or two. And I rarely do book reviews on this blog but I feel like this book The Art of Not Disappearing needs to be read and shared.
From the very beginning Van’s story engaged me in a way that most movies have not been able to.
Van does a brilliant job of being vulnerable with his own journey while at the same time showing us that failure is not final. Regardless of where we have been or what broken identities we have held onto, the pages in this book shine light on the darkest areas of our lives and gently call us deeper into that light. The light.
Thank you, Van, for being willing to go where most pastors and leaders are afraid of going. Into the darkness. And thank you for affirming the reality that we are not called to live and remain there.
A small excerpt from the book…
“…when our story is placed within the narrative of Jesus’ story, then we are no longer consigned to the previous scripts of our lives. It is this discovery which will, I believe, cause each of us to know that the William Wallace cry of “Freedom!” from the Braveheart film can be ours. Yet wonderfully, not at the end of our life, but with every new beginning that God wants to give us”
Through sharing his story and insights Van gives all of us permission to be who we were created to be!
Van is becoming a great friend and has personally imparted so much into my life in the short amount of time I have known him. I have asked him to do a guest post soon. He is currently working on his second book now.
If you are as screwed up as the rest of us but desire to be honest and real on the journey with Jesus, then I suggest you buy his book The Art of Not Disappearing today. You will not be disappointed.
And I would really appreciate it if you gave an honest review on Amazon after you finish.
Here are a few reviews from around the world…
Children’s hide and seek, is one thing….but after a while it’s wearisome. Sadly as adults we imitate these patterns all too often. The challenge to true-self and a pursuit of authenticity is powerfully painted here…… Addressing secrets, shame and surrender excellently in a vulnerable, scriptural and autobiographical manner. A fear of self-disclosure and genuine intimacy causes us to mask our true selves and project an image that either we are comfortable with, or we believe others want to see. True God and true self get powerfully celebrated here.
Love, acceptance and purpose are the new possibilities laid before the reader. This is a fresh and compelling new work. Truly original concerning the Adam-&-Eve pattern first set and a powerful uncovering of theology for the complicated subtext of our lives! A great first write by Van Shore.
This beautifully written book is a perfect balance of the anecdotal, theological and practical. Van’s objective for the book is “to help others become more like Jesus and to understand and celebrate their uniqueness in God”.
His self-disclosures do not detract from the main objective of the book, but indeed point us to God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
Skillfully, Van takes us on a journey into the truly relevant and most important facts of life – dealing with the past, living in the “now” and anticipating an authentic and life-giving future. Van encourages us to be vulnerable, transparent and responsible.
This is not merely an academic work – although it quite rightly does justice to Van’s scholarship. It also honours and reveals the love and grace of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
Dare to read it, and be willing to take risks to love and to be loved by God.
I leave you with a quote from the book, “God’s way … loving people into wholeness and giving them back their true selves.”
A famous anthropologist was confronted with a startling revelation when he spent some time with the Hopi people, one of the oldest indigenous tribes in America. He noticed the dominance of the rain theme in the art and music of the Hopi people. He sat with a tribal elder keen to know why so many of the people’s songs dealt with rain. The Hopi elder’s response was simply, “Water is so scarce in the land where they live.” The Hopi leader asked the anthropologist, “Is that why so many of your songs are about love?”
- Gila: The life and death of an American River.
The above is a passage from The Art of Not Disappearing, a testimonial book about identity from Christian writer Dr. Vangjel Shore. Dr. Shore delves into heavy concepts in a completely vulnerable, autobiographical manner. The premise of the book looks at stripping away our masked selves to reveal our true, vulnerable, God-given selves.
Shore says: “Children love to play hide and seek. It’s the one childhood game we all remember playing. But think for a moment about how we, as adults, often continue this game throughout our lives… a fear of self disclosure and genuine intimacy causes us to mask our true selves and project an image that either we are comfortable with, or we believe others want to see.”
Reading Shore’s very personal journey leaves you with an intimate knowledge of his struggles. Struggles not isolated to any one person. Through Shore’s insight, we gain insight. It’s humbling information that makes you laugh, angry, ashamed and weepy. His truthfulness is a testament to his Jesus-loving character.
After reading the book I was reminded of a John Butler Trio song, Peaches and Cream, a song about Butler’s wife and daughter. The intro lyrics are forever circulating in my tone-deaf head:
“For I wear too many masks, to tell if any of them are wrong or right.”
How apt. Some masks are placed upon us, thrust upon us, or we manufacture masks for ourselves. One can easily get lost in the costume shop of identities we cultivate. ‘Who we are’ is some very perplexing fodder. Shore acknowledges this and offers simple advice: Jesus.
“You have your heads in your bibles constantly because you think you will find blessed life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.” (John 5:39-40, The Message)
Obviously we all want want lives of love. I cannot speak for everyman, but the craving for love and fully disclosed acceptance seems a common (and timeless) theme in our society. In a very minimal, one word nutshell, Jesus preaches our true selves as this… Lovers.
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