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“As strange as it seems, coming to terms with our limits as dying creatures is a life-giving path.” After five years of research, conversations, writing, and edit after edit, The End of the Christian Life is now out and available! I’m grateful to so many students, pastors, scholars, cancer patients and others who helped to make this book possible. The writing process was a challenging one — as I integrated my theological explorations and questions with the [nonfiction] stories of various friends and acquaintances who have died. Hopefully, the result is a book that has theological substance and existential power. It’s available now in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. The last five years have felt like a quest — often urgent, sometimes winding — and I’ve discovered many wonderful thought-companions on the journey. So, in addition to the book release, today we’re releasing the first two episodes in a six-episode podcast...

I'm thrilled to announce that my next book, The End of the Christian Life: How Embracing Our Mortality Frees Us to Truly Live, is available for pre-order! You can check out the trailer for the book below, along with a few of the endorsements. In addition, for those subscribed to my mailing list, you are invited to apply for the Launch Team – able access to a digital copy of the book in the first week of August! Details are available through this link, and applications need to be received in the next few days. I often ask seminary graduates about their biggest challenge in ministry which involves the intersection of theology and practice. The most common response? Death and dying. Advising families on medical decisions, funerals, comforting parents who have lost a child – the examples are many. In light of this, and some of my own experience as a...

Published in Mere Orthodoxy, April 20, 2020 Our world feels contaminated with disease. And yet, precisely in light of this contagion, perhaps we can learn more about the breadth and depth of Christian resurrection hope. Indeed, our cultural imagination may be more in tune to a reality that has a great deal to do with Eastertide season: the way in which the whole world is in need of healing, in need of a Deliverer. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, a central cultural point of reference for resurrection hope was simply the hope in the afterlife of the individual. Indeed, despite the much-reported increase in Americans who have no religious affiliation, belief in an afterlife seems to be very popular. About a third of those who do not believe in God still believe in life after death. A University of Chicago study indicates that, while belief in God and affiliation with a particular religion have been...

It has been an odd winter here in “snowy west Michigan.” When I walk outside, I can expect a “crunch” when I walk in a nearby park -- but as likely as not, it will be the crunch of leaves rather than snow. For a couple of days, snow will fall and my children will rejoice. But then the sun comes out, the weather gets warm, and it acts like spring. It’s January. I know it's not spring yet. But this weather can be confusing. Is it time to burrow in, to hibernate for the winter? Is it time for the grass to start growing again? When will we start to see the animals come out for spring with their young? My kids have been debating questions like these. Both of them love winter, but the seesaw, back and forth, has left them disoriented...

It was a decade in the making… and so it has been a joy to hear from readers about my newest book, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope: Rediscovering the Gospel at the Lord’s Table. I’ve received quite a few comments from readers who are surprised -- even shocked -- at the multifaceted character of the Lord’s Table for helping congregations move more deeply into the wide breadth of the gospel. If you’ve had a chance to read it, consider joining the discussion of the book with a Goodreads or an Amazon review to share your thoughts more broadly. I’ve also been privileged to join in some broader conversations related to the book. One of those was through a Christianity Today article back in February which focused upon an argument that I made in my chapter on hope. It doesn’t get at the “thesis” of my book, but it’s a section that caught...

After a decade in the works, my book on the Lord's Supper and the gospel is finally out! It's available here at Amazon, and other booksellers as well. The book, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope makes the case for how a renewed theology and practice of the Lord's Supper can lead to a deeper embrace of the gospel itself. Thus, it's not just a book about the particulars of "what the bread means," or "how Christ is present" at the meal. Through the sign-action of the Supper, the book probes the character of the biblical drama of salvation. Here is one aspect of that drama of salvation that is often missed today: Jesus Christ is our true spouse. God has entered into covenant with his people, which both the Old and New Testaments compare to marriage. Specifically in the New Testament, we are betrothed to Christ -- as a people, and as individuals. Our...

"What side do you take on communion?" That's the question some have asked after hearing about my forthcoming book on the Lord's Supper and the gospel. The question is understandable. All too often, this sacrament to celebrate unity in Christ has been the occasion for polemics, squabbling, and dissension. And yet, I didn't enter into the decade-long journey of writing this book as an assault on the various approaches to the Lord's Table with which I disagree. Nor did I attempt to wave a magic "scholarly wand" that would fix all ecumenical problems related to the Table. What I did, instead, was return to the narrative of scripture and seek to inhabit my own (Reformed) tradition in a generous way that can benefit Christians of many different traditions. In the process, I found that Reformed Christians today have much to learn from others, even in the process of rediscovering the Reformed tradition...

The new book, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope, will be out in a few weeks! Here's a meditation from the book on the durable, eternal love that we're incorporated into in the Christian life and worship: "As mind-bending as it may seem, when the Spirit incorporates us into the loving communion of Jesus the Son, we are incorporated into a durable, eternal love that is older than creation itself. This is a love that does not move to and fro like the updating of one’s 'relationship status' on Facebook; it is not a product of Valentine’s Day swooning. This eternal love echoes through the ages in the praise the creation itself sings to the Creator. 'Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.' (Ps. 96:11–12)  In the sign-act of the Supper, God...

A decade in the making, my next book is due out in a month! The book, Remembrance, Communion, and Hope, is based upon a wager that congregations can rediscover the gospel itself through a renewed theology and practice of the Supper. In this and the next couple of blog posts, I'll include a brief excerpt to give you a taste of the themes, with different endorsements featured at the bottom of each. It's available here for pre-order now! "The church is filled with symbols and rituals that can shape our identity, moving us into a narrative that is bigger than we could conjure up ourselves. In the gathering of a people, prayer and praise, proclamation of the Word, the washing with and feeding upon the Word in baptism and the Supper, we taste God’s new world. We will always be “of” the world. Yet, as our imaginations are fired with God’s new...

We like to lump people into categories -- nationality, race, social class, etc. One sociological study after another classifies, analyzes, dissects. But one thing that all of us have in common is this: we are dying. How much do we reflect upon this reality? On a day-to-day level, do we live as if our days will have no end? The Psalmists suggest that many of us do: You have made my days a mere handbreadth;     the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath,     even those who seem secure. “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;     in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth     without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Ps. 39:5-7, NIV)  This last year, I've been honored to lead a group of pastors in congregational ministry through a series of colloquies focused upon this question: How can we cultivate genuine resurrection hope...