Death By Living

July 15, 2013 — 3 Comments

9780849920097_p0_v1_s260x420Brett McCraken (a man who has good tastes) has a write up in CT on N.D. Wilson’s forthcoming book Death By Living. If you enjoyed Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl it sounds like this is cut from the same cloth. MacCraken says:

N. D. Wilson’s Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent (Thomas Nelson) isn’t exactly an apologetic for YOLO, but it is cut from similar cloth. Technology, globalism, and social media give our contemporary world an especially palpable sense of ephemerality. YOLO, aided by a mortality-denying consumer culture, translates this into narcissistic YouTube tomfoolery, “sexting,” and SnapChat (the new no-paper-trail social media fad). But Wilson wants us to lead lives that lean into time and run toward death, after the model of Christ. Death is not a shadow to be feared or an abstraction to put out of our minds. Rather, it is a part of God’s creational good, a beautiful reminder of the brevity of breath and the urgency of life.

Like Wilson’s well-received Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl (2009), Death by Living is a hybrid of memoir, apologetics, theology, philosophy, and lyrical prose, at once irreverent and worshipful, comical and elegiac. But where Tilt-A-Whirl focused on a way of seeing, Death by Living focuses on “a way of living, a way of receiving life.”

“I am a man attempting to paint another picture of the same wonderful world, but I have turned my easel around,” writes Wilson. “I’ve taken my best shot at the sunrise. Now for the sunset.”

The thesis of Death by Living is that Christians should live fully in every moment, with the horizon of mortality always in view. Live hard. Enjoy every moment. Get blisters. And on your deathbed, receive death as the grace it was intended to be—as the merciful experience of completion, the knowledge that a good race has been run and a good fight fought. For Wilson, “living is the same thing as dying,” and “living well is the same thing as dying for others.”

Sounds like a breath of fresh air. Go out and get this one.

Patrick Schreiner

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I teach New Testament at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. I am married with three children. This blog, against all wisdom, includes anything I am interested in. That includes movies, music, theology, culture, hermeneutics, the Gospels, and politics. Feel free to comment and let me know you are reading or that you have found something helpful. I reserve the right to delete unhelpful or rude comments. Many of these posts are simply things I find interesting and therefore I am not asserting I agree with everything I link to.

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