Death

107 posts

C. S. Lewis on God’s Sovereignty, Free Will, and Suffering

It turns out, judging by the notes in the margin, I had read C. S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain some time ago. I did not remember having done so, but perhaps it impacted my thinking more than it did my memory of the actual reading of it. Or perhaps I had already come to similar conclusions before I read his book. I have no way of knowing. Below are a few quotes from that […]

The Utter Unacceptability of Death

My SEC colleague from Vanderbilt this week graciously gave me the gift of a slim volume by a former professor of his. The book is A Boy Thirteen: Reflections on Death (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), by Jerry A. Irish. Their 13 year old son Lee died of meningitis in 1973, the second of their three sons to die within 4 years. The younger son had been born with a serious heart defect and died before […]

Beautiful and Terrible Things Book Contract

I am very pleased and proud to announce that I have signed a contract with Westminster John Knox Press to publish Beautiful and Terrible Things! The publication date is Fall 2020. I am so thankful for everyone who has and continues to engage with me on matters relating to the biblical theology of suffering and grace. This book is intended for all audiences and your feedback, pushback, and questions are integral to the refining and […]

Permission to Lament

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]

Why did the Son of God Suffer?

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]

Talking About Death

Specifically, how do we talk about it when someone has died? This article was posted on Facebook by my friend Fr. Jody Howard. “People don’t pass away” by Peter W. Marty on Christian Century. The site has apparently been recycling this story periodically since it was published in 2017. It is well meaning. I passed on the chocolate dessert tray in the restaurant last night, tempting as it was. I dread passing through the TSA screening lines at […]

Remembering the Unknown

“It makes me a bit worried about what the next year will bring,” I said. “What does?” asked Elizabeth. “The fact that things are going so well.” It was Christmas Eve 2012 and we were finishing wrapping presents and a glass of port. I was reflecting on the fact that there had been three major areas of concern in the last few months that had been weighing on my mind and now, just before Christmas, […]

To every thing there is a season.

“Where we find grace to help in time of need.”

Proper 23 (28) (October 14, 2018) First reading and Psalm Job 23:1-9, 16-17 Psalm 22:1-15 Second reading Hebrews 4:12-16 Gospel Mark 10:17-31 “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I love comedy. Not sit-coms like Friends or Brooklyn 99, I enjoy those very much, but what I really love are stand-up comics, the British panel quiz shows, and topical humor like NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The latter is celebrating their […]

Walking in Grace

I continue to wrestle not only with the issue of suffering and grace, but also the book I am attempting to write on the matter. What tone should I take? Should it be more academic, more of a personal reflection, or more essay based? The following is part of the latter effort. Walking in Grace On January 18, 2013 I posted this short reflection on my blog.  A poor analogy but the best one I […]