Rise is Trip Lee’s call to a generation that’s coming of age into a new world full of challenges. Much like the Harris brothers’ Do Hard Things, or John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, Rise is a call to “get up and live in God’s great story,” ditching the passing pleasures of youth for enduring joy to come. As the titles show, Rise is the next in a long line of inspirational books geared at teens. But it just may have some redeeming aspects that make it relevant in today’s culture.
Trip Lee is a rapper: he’s great with words, but at the same time, everything is down-to-earth and manageable. I don’t know if that’s the result of his editor trying to make everything approachable for teens (which would be really ironic, given that the message of the book is to inspire teens to stand up and live life), or Trip Lee’s natural style, but the end result is pretty good: everything is clear and nothing really seems excessively dumbed-down.
“Don’t just let life happen to you,” says Trip Lee. Don’t drift through life, stand up and live life, stand up and fight for your faith. Punctuated by honesty and personal stories, Rise comes across almost as an autobiography of sorts. The author cruises through a few hot-button topics relating to Christianity: mostly the expected stuff like sex, Bible, but with a few unexpected gems as well. Where Rise definitely sets itself apart from a book like Do Hard Things is the nuance and wisdom that Trip Lee brings to the table about relating to the culture around us.
Rather than avoid it like the plague, in Rise Trip Lee models a mature, solid Christian approach to culture. He is clearly, as old as the cliché might be, in the world, yet not of it. His ideas are not reactionary, nor are they pale imitations of the culture around us, but rather they are the product of holding the burning truth of the gospel close to our chests in the middle of a world that doesn’t even acknowledge it. In the introduction, John Piper pins Trip Lee’s main point in the book: reverence mixed with relevance.
Everything is solid: there’s God-glorifying truth backing up the whole of this book, and it shows throughout all of it (my personal favorite, the chapter examining a biblical view of church membership, calling twenty-somethings to a hearty involvement in their church). Yet at the same time Trip Lee is relevant: both to his audience of young Christian teens and to those around him who may not believe as he does. Trip Lee does an excellent job of holding firmly to his faith, while at the same time unashamedly wading into the world.
I wish I could’ve recommended Rise to a fourteen-year-old me. Instead, I commend it to any of you who may be out there. Life is beautiful, it’s huge, and God has written a great story for you to live in. It’s a crazy adventure, and there’s more out there than you’ve ever dreamed: more depth than you can see now. Rise is an excellent taste of just that sort of life: like the clicking of a roller coaster on the first hill, Rise lifts you up, rooting you solidly and preparing you for the crazy, loop-the-loop, life that God has prepared for you. Get up and live in God’s story.
Published on 17 April, 2015. Last updated on