Author: annalise

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In the fall, I spoke in chapel at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, preaching on Colossians 3:1-4 -- a passage which seems particularly significant in this season of Lent, as we seek to remember that we were created from dust, and to dust we shall return, and yet our true hope which is now hidden will one day be made manifest when the resurrected Christ, who is our true life, will appear! "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. "                                            ...

God's work sometimes leads to strange stories. Last night, I was privileged to hear the whole of Handel's Messiah in a local church. Parts of it are so familiar that the drama of the Messiah can take us off guard. What comes right after the "Hallelujah" Chorus, in a section devoted to the Christian life in light of the resurrection? Is it a song about one victor piled upon another? It is a song of expectation, of waiting, of hope -- like in this season of Advent. "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." But after this line declaring hope in God, the next one is: "And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God." These quotes from Job 19:25-26 remind us that though God's promise is great, and our bodies are very good; yet our bodies...

 When disaster hits, it does not feel or look like God the King is ordaining what is right. The words of Psalm 102 stung, but they were nevertheless my prayer. The Lord “has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days. ‘O my God,’ I say, ‘do not take me away at the midpoint of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.’” My wife and I had just celebrated our tenth anniversary and were the proud parents of lively 1- and 3-year-olds. But then I was diagnosed with cancer. A lethal cancer. An incurable cancer. The psalms of lament soon became a companion to myself and others traveling that journey with me—as all of our emotions of grief, anger, and alienation were brought before the Lord. “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Ps. 13:1). After discovering that the...

Christian Wiman and I have an odd kinship: we were both diagnosed with incurable cancers at the age of 39. Our cancers are very similar, so we can talk shop about chemo, side effects and the bizarre experience of hearing that our lifespan has likely been chopped by decades. We're both parents of young children. And we've both written about our Christian faith in light of our cancer journey -- with Wiman, My Bright Abyss, and with me, Rejoicing in Lament. A few months ago we discussed incurable cancer together as part of an event at Western Theological Seminary. Christian is a poet (former editor of Poetry Magazine), and I am a theologian. In our books, we both turn to poetry in our season of suffering and theological reflection. Christian turned to George Herbert and a score of contemporary poets. I turned to the poetry of the Psalms and Job. Why did we turn to poetry?...

Posted on May 15, with Jonathan Merritt on the Religious News Service website. Click here, for a link to their website where you will find my latest thoughts on my diagnosis and some further theological reflections including responses to religious skeptics....

In this interview by Matthew Barrett on Jan 17, 2012 J.Todd Billings addresses difficult questions related to the theology of salvation as adoption and total depravity using themes from his book Union with Christ. For a link to the article, click here....

In what way is "union with Christ" a sum of the gospel? For an exploration of that and related questions, check out this interview posted December 15, 2011 with Trevin Wax about Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church. For a link to the article click here....