Book Review: Embracing Obscurity


[amazon asin=1433677814&template=wishlist&chan=default]


I received an advance reader’s edition uncorrected proof in advance of publication in exchange for an honest review.

Most people have the desire to be known and be somebody. Our society celebrates those who are able to produce an audience. The holy grail of our culture is to be known. This desire gets played out in the social media scene with the fixation on collecting friends and followers. We act like being known, or being “somebody,” will give us the significance we desire.

The author of Embracing Obscurity argues that the way of the culture does not reflect the way of Jesus. This book, by an anonymous author, calls followers of Jesus to imitate the way of Jesus by embracing obscurity and humility. A book on obscurity seems out of place in a world that applauds celebrity and leaders whether those leaders are secular or Church related. I am glad the author had the courage to create this work because it is indeed a fresh wind of the spirit.

Through an introduction and ten chapters the author outlines why obscurity is important to one’s spiritual life and how obscurity and humility emulate the life and character of Jesus. Chapters explore the life of Jesus, significance, true success, servanthood, suffering, the mystery, the spotlight, and hope.Through focusing on Philippians 2, the author uses Jesus as the prime example of one who, though great, became a servant and was obedient even to death.

The book maintains that significance is not gained through celebrity or followers, but embracing the one who humbled himself. Our significance is found in the one who loves us and died for us.

Overall, the book makes a strong case for embracing humility and obscurity. Yet, I feel the author weakened the argument in a couple of areas. This was evident to me in one of the final chapters where the author asserts that embracing obscurity now helps one gain more rewards later (in heaven). However, embracing obscurity now for a payoff later seems to be the very motivation the author discourages. My concern may only be nitpicking, but I wish the author would have made the case to choose humility because of one’s love of Jesus rather than one’s hope to have rewards later.

I also would have liked to see more material from the spiritual classics. The spiritual masters speak strongly to the importance of humility in one’s life and could have been a wealth of inspiration and insight. I felt the author had a few “go to” authors who, while good, were mostly recent. Ignoring the rich history of the church in regards to this topic, I feel, leaves the book with a weaker foundation.

It is time for followers of Jesus to imitate Jesus by embracing humility and obscurity. I welcome this book and would encourage anyone to take time to read it, answer the discussion questions, reflect upon one’s own sense of significance, and choose to embrace obscurity.

One Reply to “Book Review: Embracing Obscurity”

  1. I am currently going through a period of spiritual obscurity. I confirm 1 Kings 17: 1-24 about the prophet Elijah who was sent by God to declare a famine to King Ahab and his wife Jezebel of Samaria when Israel and Judah had divided after the death of King Solomon. God told Elijah to hide himself in the cave, brook, a widow of Zarepath during the three and haf years of famine on the land of Samaria. King Ahab of Israel had worshipped Baal with Jezebel and he has turned away from the Lord. So Jezebel want to kill all the prophets of God. Elijah was hiding in obscurity until God sent the rain after three and half years of famine. God is storing and preparing you a bigger battle for you to conquer under God’s anointing. So amen, praise the Lord for Him obscuring you. Embrace it. Be patient. Hang in there. Don’t give up!

Leave a Reply