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The Contents * A Word Before * Dedication * The Word of a Friend Section One The Manly Stuff The bane of a metro-sexual society * Chapter One the rather awkward word * Chapter Two scratching that itch * Chapter Three why can?t you be more like your sister * Chapter Four blood, dirt, bugs, and mess * Chapter Five the two hands of truth Blueprint Where it begins Section Two An Ode to Homer a study in incorrectness and irrelevance * Chapter Six of dying horses and shotguns * Chapter Seven Carl vs. Jane ? a losing proposition * Chapter Eight mean ol? Pastor Carl Blueprint The ground rules Section Two Curb Appeal silicone saints and botoxed believers * Chapter Nine the secret sauce * Chapter Ten presentation, imitation and abdication * Chapter Eleven metro-theism * Chapter Twelve dressing up Jesus Blueprint contra-mundum . Section Four Mind Wide Open standing for nothing, falling for everything * Chapter Thirteen emerging with the truth intact * Chapter Fourteen stretching the truth * Chapter Fifteen the paralysis of infinity * Chapter Sixteen wishful thinking is no thinking at all * Chapter Seventeen just be real * Chapter Eighteen faith or fear - choose your master * Chapter Nineteen the new atheist and the manly stuff * Chapter Twenty the emergent Christian Blueprint living martyrs Section Five Sleeping with the Enemy The unfortunate and unholy alliance * Chapter Twenty-one a mysterious mixture * Chapter Twenty-two the profane renaissance Blueprint coal-touched lips Section Six The Bliss of Unknowing Cultivating ignorance to evade obedience * Chapter Twenty-three avoiding truth to become like God * Chapter Twenty-four eric, the interpreter * Chapter Twenty-five wikibiblia Blueprint canon-mind Section Seven The Artful Dodger Playing Johnny Cochran with God * Chapter Twenty-six miranda * Chapter Twenty-seven a face without eyes - a face without tears * Chapter Twenty-eight the new legalism Blueprint solo deo gloria Section Eight The Job No One Wants After all, who really wants to end up nailed to a piece of wood? * Chapter Twenty-nine the fellowship of the hated and despised Blueprint engraced A Word Before Everyone seems to have an opinion about how this book should be written. ?Eric, I like you so I?m going to give it to you straight. You have to be careful not to come across like one of those Fundamentalist types!? ?You can?t sound too preachy, otherwise people will just slam the book shut!? ?You better not say it the way you just said it to me, or else, people will be doing book burnings with this thing!? ?Oh, and Eric, just have fun when you write this!? The goal of every book is to not just be written, but read. There are many ways in which this book could have been written, but few that would lend it that much-needed magnetic charm inherent in every truly engaging read. You see, this book is about uncomfortable things. And, I must admit, uncomfortable things are much more difficult to write about than ideas that scratch the back and massage the ego. Whereas, this book has loads of magnetic charm to me, I honestly don?t know if others will feel the same ?charm? as they venture through its rough terrain. You, dear reader, must decide if I handled this topic well. For I?m certain you will have an opinion in the matter. There will be those that will criticize me for being too soft as well as those that will consider criminal charges for me being too hard. Frankly, my goal is to handle this topic with the loving dexterity of Jesus Christ. I wrote this book because I had to. I just couldn?t hold it in any longer. I sat down in front of my laptop on June 4th, 2007 with the intent of writing a completely different book. I stared at my computer screen for two straight days and agonized over the reality that God was pointing at something different. I?ll never forget the conversation I had with Leslie (my wife) as I shared with her the burning compulsion to write a book on 29. ?You have to write this!? she said simply in response. ?And when you do, you need to write it like a man!? So please know, it was none other than a sweet, ultra-feminine girly girl, named Leslie, that infused the necessary steel in my spine to actually do this. Whereas, the irony of that might not be fully appreciated at this moment, it is certainly still worthy of being mentioned here. This book has ?boy? scribbled all over it. To use a paraphrase of Alan Marshall Beck?s famous quote on little boys, this book is ?Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair, and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.? But don?t be fooled into thinking that this is a book about manhood. This is a ?truth? book, and I would like to think that ?truth? books can cross the gender barrier, even though they may speak in a man?s tone, with a man?s zeal, and a man?s grit. The ?manly voice? has been separated from ?truth? for far too long and so, even at risk of speaking too loudly and too brashly inside the hushed church sanctuary, this book is going to inject a serious amount of muscle back into the Gospel life. Girls, I?m going to say this up front, because I wish to be perfectly clear on this point. This book may very well sound like the tribal war cries of a bunch of painted men, but it is not a man book. The truth of 29 is without equivocation a truth that must be adopted into the feminine heart. As much as a great man must learn to listen, cry, be sympathetic, and allow compassion to ebb in his being ? so a great woman must have 29. She must have the grit, the growl, and the gusto of God drilled into the bedrock of her soul. This message is literally burning a hole in my heart. It is everything the modern church is needing and not realizing it needs. It is historic Christianity brought back to life, an invigoration of that ancient power and potency that once steered the early church. Like many of you, I?ve grown up amidst a sterile, weak, North American Church. We talk a good talk, but when it comes down to living it out in the real world, we?re nearly impotent. We talk about love, joy, peace, victory, and blessed happiness, but few in our ranks actually exhibit these basic evidences of the Christian faith. And what is disconcerting, is the fact that even fewer within the church even show concern over this gross hypocrisy in our global presentation of Jesus Christ. As a group, we Christians are soft, mushy and lax. There seems to be a serious shortage of the majestic, intrepid, daring, just, and durable qualities the Church once possessed. The steel of a man is strangely lacking. For instance: Whatever happened to the idea of sacred honor; unvarnished nobility; and unwavering allegiance to a King? What happened to the quake-in-my-boots Fear of God; the lay-it-all-on-the-line commitment to the cause of Christ; and the die-if-I-must attitude toward defending truth and Scripture? Where did the radical abandon to seek and save the lost disappear to; or the once glorious idea of martyrdom? Or how about the burning need to stand against evil, to break the jaws of the wicked in order to ransom the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed and the enslaved? Where is the holy boldness, the courage, and the daring needed to birth the Truth of Christ into this God-forsaking culture? What happened to the once noble idea of preaching with both authority and conviction? Where has the vanguard, the mighty men, the fiercely loyal regiment of King Jesus vanished to? Because we need them, and we need them now! I have named this book 29 for a very specific reason. You see 29 is not merely a number, it is an attitude and a lifestyle. 29 is not something I invented. Rather, it comes straight out of the soldier?s handbook from Heaven covered in blood, sweat, tears, and glory. And if I may be so bold, 29 is the ?manly stuff? that the modern Church is missing, and if it were to be found again, this world might be turned upside down within a single year. 29 is gritty living, the stuff of martyrs and saintly saints. Its bravado meets brains; its ham-like fist meets poet-like heart; it?s forehead of flint meets tender, love-inspired soul. 29 is muscular zeal meets helpless orphan ? sacrificing life and limb to rescue her. 29 is spine of steel bending to embrace the urine-stained outcast ? giving up everything in order to see him brought through heaven?s gates. 29 is not mushy logic, its concrete Truth. It?s not post-modern or modernistic thinking, its historical living ripped straight from the pages of Scripture. It?s not soft with sin and it?s not hard on sinners, but rather 29 is the giving up of everything to see sin trumped and the sinner rescued. 29 is pure adventure; a life of nuclear-joy and hallowed ecstasy. It?s the hard way to live and yet the most satisfying. And, God patiently waits to once again infuse 29 potency back into the bloodstream of the Body of Christ. Ironically, it is you and me, and a million other ?Christians? that often stand in the way. So, what is 29? Answering that question would be like cracking a joke by starting with the punch line, or like serving desert before the appetizers. 29 is both the substance and the mystery of this book. And as an author, I am required to guard it with great discretion until the perfect moment beckons it forth from my literary pen. As far as Leslie is concerned I?ve given far too much away already in this introduction, so it?s pursed lips moving forward. After all, what?s a good movie if someone exposes the twist before that perfect moment when the twist was designed to be unveiled? Or how about the ballgame that you TIVO that you desperately wanted to watch only to have your buddy stick a note on your television screen that reads, ?24-21 Raiders ? you should have seen it!? That?s no fun! So, please show a little self-control by not paging through the book visually scanning the chapters for a hint. Authors write books from page one to page three hundred for a reason. If we wanted you to read page three hundred first, we would have put it on page one (Susie, you know I?m talking to you). So, what is 29? It?s a secret. And after you read this book, I trust that you will not stick a note on your friend?s copy that says, ?You won?t believe it, Andy, but 29 is blah, blah, blah!? Now, I want to let you in on a few things. First, one of the themes I am going to be weaving throughout this book is the concept of nobility. It is an idea that has been all but lost in our modern North American culture. But I am convinced God is desiring it to make a return to center stage in our Christian attitude and practice. Therefore, in order to assist this more noble manner of thinking and behaving, I would like to do something in this book which is somewhat risky. I would like to use the old King James translation and its majestic, poetic, and high tone, whenever I quote Scripture throughout the upcoming pages. For those of you, like me, that have grown up on the newer translations of the Bible, I think you will find it to be an enchanting, graceful, and a refreshing take on ideas that otherwise may have grown a bit stale. Yes, it?s a more difficult translation, but when you get past its strong cologne, I think you will find, as I have, that it speaks with a lion-like voice. Second, in all my previous twelve books, I have made the disclaimer that names have been changed to protect individual?s identities. However, in this book, whereas that is true for some of the names used, there will also be a few names that I will actually say plainly without veil. I have contemplated this move for quite some time. But I feel that, in this case, it is necessary to help you as the reader better understand the specifics of what the modern Church is facing. When everyone speaks in generalities, often everyone agrees, but true change and true illumination often demands specifics. I pray to God that whenever I do choose to be specific in naming an individual in this book that my thoughts will be offered with the utmost respect and presented with humility and grace. Also, at the conclusion of each of the eight sections of this book you will find a special chapter entitled ?Blueprint29?. It is here that the manly stuff becomes practical and real. And it is here, that I will give you peeks into what this extraordinary idea of ?29? is all about. To understand 29, you have to understand the mind, the heart, and the attitude behind it. And since we, as the modern Church, have strayed quite far from the historic moorings of the 29 life, we consequently have a long way to go in order to get back to the grand and stately bearing of 29 Christianity. I hope and pray that this humble literary offering will play a role, by God?s grace, to help lead us home. I?m a man in the defining season of my life. There are males and there are men. I beg God daily to be counted among the men. But, even as one of the men, there are multiple grades of honor a man can achieve throughout his life. And I must admit that I am still at the lowest rungs. I have merely just begun this journey of sacred honor and in no way do I yet deserve to be associated with the noble idea of 29, let alone have my name on the cover of a book with such a regal title. But there is one thing I possess that allows me to enter these sacred halls and speak about these lofty and princely ideas ? hunger. I hunger for these truths more than I yearn for anything else; I esteem them; I passionately desire them; and I want them planted into the bedrock of my soul and integrated into the fabric of my being, no matter the pain and no matter the cost. If I were to write this book ten years from now, I?m sure I would write it differently, and I?m sure there would be things I would add and things that I would remove. For all those things that I should have added, forgive me. And for all those things I should have removed, please kindly try and overlook. I pray that this book will serve to acquaint you, in a more intimate way than you ever thought possible, with the great power and great love of our King Jesus. This book isn?t about me, so I pray you look away if ever it seems like Eric Ludy is poking his head up too high within the text. This book is about my Jesus, for my Jesus, and to my Jesus. And as Luke wrote unto King Theopholus, so now I write unto my precious King. For the Kingdom and the Glory, Eric Winston Ludy Windsor, Colorado October 1st, 2007
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Christianity and culture.