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God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath

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Discover a different way of seeing and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, an approach drawing on Scripture, Christian history, and the way of living, thinking, and praying revealed to us by Jesus. What are we supposed to think about the Coronavirus crisis? Some people think they know: "This is a sign of the End," they say. "It's all predicted in the book of Revelation." Discover a different way of seeing and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, an approach drawing on Scripture, Christian history, and the way of living, thinking, and praying revealed to us by Jesus. What are we supposed to think about the Coronavirus crisis? Some people think they know: "This is a sign of the End," they say. "It's all predicted in the book of Revelation." Others disagree but are equally clear: "This is a call to repent. God is judging the world and through this disease he's telling us to change." Some join in the chorus of blame and condemnation: "It's the fault of the Chinese, the government, the World Health Organization…" N. T. Wright examines these reactions to the virus and finds them wanting. Instead, he shows that a careful reading of the Bible and Christian history offers simple though profound answers to our many questions, including: What should be the Christian response? How should we think about God? How do we live in the present? Why should we lament? What should we learn about ourselves? How do we recover? Written by one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars, God and the Pandemic will serve as your guide to read the events of today through the light of Jesus' death and resurrection.


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Discover a different way of seeing and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, an approach drawing on Scripture, Christian history, and the way of living, thinking, and praying revealed to us by Jesus. What are we supposed to think about the Coronavirus crisis? Some people think they know: "This is a sign of the End," they say. "It's all predicted in the book of Revelation." Discover a different way of seeing and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, an approach drawing on Scripture, Christian history, and the way of living, thinking, and praying revealed to us by Jesus. What are we supposed to think about the Coronavirus crisis? Some people think they know: "This is a sign of the End," they say. "It's all predicted in the book of Revelation." Others disagree but are equally clear: "This is a call to repent. God is judging the world and through this disease he's telling us to change." Some join in the chorus of blame and condemnation: "It's the fault of the Chinese, the government, the World Health Organization…" N. T. Wright examines these reactions to the virus and finds them wanting. Instead, he shows that a careful reading of the Bible and Christian history offers simple though profound answers to our many questions, including: What should be the Christian response? How should we think about God? How do we live in the present? Why should we lament? What should we learn about ourselves? How do we recover? Written by one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars, God and the Pandemic will serve as your guide to read the events of today through the light of Jesus' death and resurrection.

30 review for God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath

  1. 5 out of 5

    Justin Wiggins

    This afternoon I enjoyed a good cup of tea in my favorite mug and finished Anglican theologian N.T.Wright's new book God And The Pandemic A Christian Reflection On The Coronavirus And It's Aftermath. I believe everyone should read it, whatever their worldview. The book was very challenging, convicting, encouraging, and left me with a great sense of hope about how even in such a strange and dark time we are facing, The Great Artist is making all things new through acts of kindness, compassion, jus This afternoon I enjoyed a good cup of tea in my favorite mug and finished Anglican theologian N.T.Wright's new book God And The Pandemic A Christian Reflection On The Coronavirus And It's Aftermath. I believe everyone should read it, whatever their worldview. The book was very challenging, convicting, encouraging, and left me with a great sense of hope about how even in such a strange and dark time we are facing, The Great Artist is making all things new through acts of kindness, compassion, justice, and mercy, through many different people, through the liturgy, sacraments, and also through the beauty of Nature, and the healing transcendent power of music, literature, art, and poetry. One great and prolific poet Wright quotes is poet, musician, and priest Malcolm Guite. Here is the poem below, "And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day? Not lost in our locked churches, anymore Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre. The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away, And he is up and risen, long before, Alive, at large, and making his strong way Into the world he gave his life to save, No need to seek him in his empty grave. He might have been a wafer in the hands Of priests this day, or music from the lips Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips Away from church, shakes off our linen bands To don his apron with a nurse: he grips And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope, Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope. On Thursday we applauded, for he came And served us in a thousand names and faces Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces Of that virus which was death to him: Good Friday happened in a thousand places Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them That they might share his Easter in their need, Now they are risen with him, risen indeed." Malcom Guite

  2. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    N.T. Wright’s short book God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and its Aftermath is the perfect response to Christian conspiracy theories about COVID-19. Wright’s central argument is that Christians need a “time of lament, of restraint, of precisely not jumping to ‘solutions’” during these turbulent times. Wright is responding to two conspiracy theories promoted by some Christians that the coronavirus pandemic is: 1. a sign of the End times, or 2. a special moment to ha N.T. Wright’s short book God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and its Aftermath is the perfect response to Christian conspiracy theories about COVID-19. Wright’s central argument is that Christians need a “time of lament, of restraint, of precisely not jumping to ‘solutions’” during these turbulent times. Wright is responding to two conspiracy theories promoted by some Christians that the coronavirus pandemic is: 1. a sign of the End times, or 2. a special moment to have a worldwide revival to convert non-believers. Wright tackles each theory by using the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. He shows in the Bible where people of faith lamented and took their concerns to God when bad or evil things happened rather than ask whose sin cause this turmoil to occur. He uses the words of Jesus to address whether we are in the End times and whether this is a worldwide event for people to repent. The simple answer is “No” and Wright explains why. This book, in my view, is a big “slow your roll” moment to conspiracy minded Christians. It may not cause these theories to go away but it does end with a call for what Christians are supposed to do in this season. They must do what they are always called to do: help those in need. Wright’s book may only be 80 pages but it is packed with alot of wisdom for Christians to ponder in our current moment. Review first published on Interfaith Now: https://medium.com/interfaith-now/rev...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Colvin

    A few good points, including a wonderful retranslation of Romans 8:28 that rings true to this Greek teacher. But on the whole, there’s a lot of Moltmann-esque reduction of God to a lamenting, hand-wringing deity whose “being in control” is only ever in scare-quotes. I esteem Wright more than any other theologian or Bible scholar today, but this book is full of the things that his critics fault him most for: caricature of opposing positions, hand-waving, recycling his past greatest hits. I read it A few good points, including a wonderful retranslation of Romans 8:28 that rings true to this Greek teacher. But on the whole, there’s a lot of Moltmann-esque reduction of God to a lamenting, hand-wringing deity whose “being in control” is only ever in scare-quotes. I esteem Wright more than any other theologian or Bible scholar today, but this book is full of the things that his critics fault him most for: caricature of opposing positions, hand-waving, recycling his past greatest hits. I read it with high hopes. I came away disappointed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Funston

    For a time such as this N.T. Wright’s new short book is a great read for an afternoon. With a mix of great scholarship, interesting text criticism and hopeful looks into the future, Wright commends Christians to be prayerful, thoughtful and active active in the midst of the pandemic. Essentially a very specific book about theodicy, Wright re-casts some of his favorite themes including dismantling the misunderstanding that Heaven is the ultimate goal of the Christian life (explores in significantly For a time such as this N.T. Wright’s new short book is a great read for an afternoon. With a mix of great scholarship, interesting text criticism and hopeful looks into the future, Wright commends Christians to be prayerful, thoughtful and active active in the midst of the pandemic. Essentially a very specific book about theodicy, Wright re-casts some of his favorite themes including dismantling the misunderstanding that Heaven is the ultimate goal of the Christian life (explores in significantly more depth in 2007’s “Surprised by Hope.”) While it is especially focused on our present moment, I can see a future when I recommend this book as a primer for some of the Bishop’s theology and style.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. This is an insightful book focusing on the current worldwide pandemic we are facing and relates it to God and Jesus and what Jesus taught us and wants us to see and understand about ourselves and our world. This book has been well researched and a lot of work has obviously been done by the author to put it all together.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    Wright counters those who would claim that the pandemic should be viewed as a sign of God’s judgment against the sins of those afflicted, or those of a particular people group, or as a harbinger of the second coming. Wright contends that it is not the job of the church to answer the question of why this suffering is occurring. Instead, our job is to focus on reducing the suffering, to lament, and to grieve with those who are suffering. I can’t resist quoting him at length since he’s a much bette Wright counters those who would claim that the pandemic should be viewed as a sign of God’s judgment against the sins of those afflicted, or those of a particular people group, or as a harbinger of the second coming. Wright contends that it is not the job of the church to answer the question of why this suffering is occurring. Instead, our job is to focus on reducing the suffering, to lament, and to grieve with those who are suffering. I can’t resist quoting him at length since he’s a much better writer than I am: “The point is that God‘s kingdom is being launched on earth as it is in heaven, and the way it will happen is by God working through people of this sort. After all, so often when people look out on the world and its disasters they wonder, why God doesn’t just march in and take over. Why, they ask does he permit it? Why doesn’t he send a thunderbolt and put things right? The question is that God does send thunderbolts — human ones. He sends in the poor in Spirit, the meek, the mourners, the peacemakers, the hungry-for-justice people. They are the way God wants to act in his world. They are more effective than any lightning flashes or actual thunderbolts. They will use their initiative; they will see where the real needs are, and go to meet them. They will weep at the tombs of their friends. At the tombs of their enemies. Some of them will get hurt. Some may be killed. That is the story of Acts, all through. There will be problems, punishments, setbacks, shipwrecks, but God’s purpose will come through. These people, prayerful, humble, faithful, will be the answer, not to the question Why? But the question What? What needs to be done here? Who is most at risk? How can we help? Who shall we send? God works in all things with and through those who love him.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Pershey

    I expected this to be a re-mix of Surprised by Hope with a dash of pandemic context. It’s a remarkably comprehensive biblical, theological, and practical reflection. NT Wright is more orthodox than my denominational/congregational context, yet his orthodoxy remains compelling and beautiful to me. (Usually.) Very worthwhile book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela~

    This is a great look on the Pandemic and us as Christians. How we’re responding to it and others. I agree with the author N.T. Wright about understanding those who don’t want to shut down churches indefinitely. It could lead to a “silent” worship in our nation and the world. But we have to be safe also, because it’s a disease where you can be a carrier of it and not know. So we have to worship at safe distances, but we have to keep in mind to not let the secular world silence us, because they wo This is a great look on the Pandemic and us as Christians. How we’re responding to it and others. I agree with the author N.T. Wright about understanding those who don’t want to shut down churches indefinitely. It could lead to a “silent” worship in our nation and the world. But we have to be safe also, because it’s a disease where you can be a carrier of it and not know. So we have to worship at safe distances, but we have to keep in mind to not let the secular world silence us, because they would like that. Many in the secular world would like to silence us. They’ve been trying to do it for many many years. But God doesn’t work just inside a building. He is everywhere and Christians/and the church need to be too. We need to reach out to the sick, dying, heartbroken, poor, from a safe distance, but do it. We need to keep doing as Jesus said, but safely. And our prayer life should be much stronger than it ever has been. I love this quote from the book “The garden is far less likely to grow weeds if we have been planting flowers” Keep planting flowers safely and we maybe can keep out the weeds that would destroy the flowers if they could. This book says so much more. You just have to read it. Thank you to #NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read #GodandthePandemic and review with my honest opinion.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Hopeful. I appreciate the call to lament as there is so much to lament for, and to pray. It was calming and encouraging, both incredibly necessary right now. If you're struggling with a magnitude of emotions through this pandemic (and who isn't?) this may very likely be helpful. Hopeful. I appreciate the call to lament as there is so much to lament for, and to pray. It was calming and encouraging, both incredibly necessary right now. If you're struggling with a magnitude of emotions through this pandemic (and who isn't?) this may very likely be helpful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina O.

    As one would expect from a book written quickly at the beginning of a global catastrophe, God and the Pandemic is not a particularly profound book, nor did it address the wider social implications that arose because of the virus. That being said, the author writes in a conversational and accessible way while discussing passages from the bible that help our understanding of how to think of and live through hard times—such as the Coronavirus. Although this book addresses the pandemic by name, it r As one would expect from a book written quickly at the beginning of a global catastrophe, God and the Pandemic is not a particularly profound book, nor did it address the wider social implications that arose because of the virus. That being said, the author writes in a conversational and accessible way while discussing passages from the bible that help our understanding of how to think of and live through hard times—such as the Coronavirus. Although this book addresses the pandemic by name, it really is applicable to any catastrophe. As Wright points out, this is the only global pandemic that we have lived through, but humans have short memories and we tend not to consider those things which happened before we were alive. Wright’s book will be helpful for those looking for comfort during this time by simply exploring scripture and dismissing apocalyptic theories, but I imagine we’ll have to wait until the Coronavirus has played out to a get a book that explores it in depth. *Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sutherland

    If you've read or heard N.T. Wright before, there are a lot of familiar elements in this short work--there is a Kingdom where God reigns and His followers are coworkers with Him in "putting to rights" the fallen world. How does that apply to "The Pandemic"? Well, he says, you can handle it like the Stoics: "We're all going to die anyway, so just accept it;" Or perhaps you prefer to act more Epicurean: "It's random and nothing we can do about it, so enjoy the unlimited Netflix and casual clothes If you've read or heard N.T. Wright before, there are a lot of familiar elements in this short work--there is a Kingdom where God reigns and His followers are coworkers with Him in "putting to rights" the fallen world. How does that apply to "The Pandemic"? Well, he says, you can handle it like the Stoics: "We're all going to die anyway, so just accept it;" Or perhaps you prefer to act more Epicurean: "It's random and nothing we can do about it, so enjoy the unlimited Netflix and casual clothes during quarantine." Or you could be like Plato: "This world isn't my home, and there's something better in the afterlife, so it doesn't matter here anyway." Or you could handle it like a citizen of the kingdom of God. Wright lays out the Biblical and historic cases eloquently, but I was struck by the contrasts and the tension--he isn't afraid to not tie things up with nice bows. We need to think globally but act locally, he wrote. We must have a strong vision of what the post pandemic world and our place in it should look like--but it has to be grounded in some level of realism. And we just need to lament with those suffering, but ultimately using the pandemic as a time of prayer which should lead us in the direction of hope.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This is a great introduction to the theology of NT Wright from the perspective of the worldwide pandemic. This was originally written as a Time magazine article, so it really is a great way to jump into Wright if you never have before. He’s been dealing with these issues for a long time. What does it mean that a worldwide pandemic is happening in a world where Jesus is supposedly already ruling as king? What does it say about God’s character that things like this happen? What is a Christian’s rol This is a great introduction to the theology of NT Wright from the perspective of the worldwide pandemic. This was originally written as a Time magazine article, so it really is a great way to jump into Wright if you never have before. He’s been dealing with these issues for a long time. What does it mean that a worldwide pandemic is happening in a world where Jesus is supposedly already ruling as king? What does it say about God’s character that things like this happen? What is a Christian’s role during times of strife and chaos? (If you are interested in what the Bible says about today’s issues, I also recommend the “Ask NT Wright Anything” podcast, which is great.) I listened to the audio version of this because it was read by Wright, but that was a mistake. I kept having to pause it to take notes. Lots of great stuff in here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Crouch

    This is a good, short book that examines not only our current situation with the pandemic but also looks at the bigger questions such as “where do we see God in all this?” and “how as Christians should we respond”. Whilst I don’t always agree with Wright, I so enjoy reading him and he makes me think. I believe there is much of value in this little book for us today. I do think that through suffering we come to see Jesus clearer, and thus see God clearer - and this book makes a good case for this. This is a good, short book that examines not only our current situation with the pandemic but also looks at the bigger questions such as “where do we see God in all this?” and “how as Christians should we respond”. Whilst I don’t always agree with Wright, I so enjoy reading him and he makes me think. I believe there is much of value in this little book for us today. I do think that through suffering we come to see Jesus clearer, and thus see God clearer - and this book makes a good case for this. I also appreciated the emphasis on lament, as we need to give more thought and time to this biblical practice.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Holli

    Wright, as usual, gets right to the center of the pain, and all in a 75 page work no less: “There is a time for restraint, for fasting, for a sense of exile, of not belonging. Of defamiliarization. A time for not rushing to judgments. It is all too easy to grasp at quick fix solutions, in prayer as in life. It can be hard, bitter anguish to live with the summons of lament. To share in the groaning of the Spirit. But that is where we are conformed to the image of the Son.”

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hiram Kemp

    4.5... Very well done...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Conrade Yap

    The year 2020 will be best remembered as the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the earliest books reflecting on a Christian response is John Piper's "Coronavirus and Christ." In that book, Piper offers six answers; that we should remember God is still at work; that he rules; that we ought to repent while we can; and that we should not lose hope. Our hope is not in odds or in healing but in Christ alone. However, as a reader, I sense that book seems to be written in a hurry to be published at The year 2020 will be best remembered as the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the earliest books reflecting on a Christian response is John Piper's "Coronavirus and Christ." In that book, Piper offers six answers; that we should remember God is still at work; that he rules; that we ought to repent while we can; and that we should not lose hope. Our hope is not in odds or in healing but in Christ alone. However, as a reader, I sense that book seems to be written in a hurry to be published at the start of a worldwide lockdown earlier this year. Instead of asking why, author and theologian NT Wright helps us deal with the question of what we could do. Like how Christ put his own life on the line for us, we ought to find ways to help one another as much as we could. Wright puts it very well that we ought not to be stoics just to fit into the system. Neither should we be like Epicureans who just accept the random things in life and just enjoy whatever we have left. He also cautions us against taking the platonic lifestyle that seems to elevate the afterlife over and above our present world. Worse, some people would even jump to conclusions to play the blame game. The two superpowers are famously at each other's throats with regard to assigning blame regarding the virus origins. Some would even claim the pandemic as the Armageddon. This book is to offer a Christian alternative to such philosophies that many of us practice unwittingly. Like any good biblical scholar, Wright begins with the Word of God. From the Old Testament, there are lots of prophetic statements with regard to a cause-and-effect explanation of disasters and pandemics. In Exodus, the Egyptians were punished because of their open defiance of God. In Amos, the Israelites suffered because they repeatedly failed to return to the LORD in repentance. It is thus easy to jump to conclusions about a similar explanation for our modern situation. Wright reminds us that both action and inaction have consequences. While the Bible has instances of retributive justice, not all circumstances occur in the same context. There are mysteries yet to be revealed, such as the suffering of Job. In fact, Wright points out that the book of Job does not even have a "resolution." Being able to deal with unresolved questions brings us to the place of lament. It calls for patient waiting and optimism that things will one day get better. Quickly, Wright moves on the the Person of Christ, in whom many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled. From the gospels, we read about Jesus addressing some of the questions surrounding disasters in Luke 13:1-9; the sign of Jonah; and the reasons why the man was born blind (John 9). We are urged to look beyond the surface of physical tragedies to deal with a deeper "anti-kingdom forces" at work. Wright is showing us the way in terms of Christian living. We should not be paralyzed into inaction because we don't understand the reasons for the pandemic. Instead, we should do our best to do something positive in the light of much negativity. During the first century, Jesus was constantly pointing people to a future in him. How do we interpret the signs? Wright challenges us to learn to adopt a discerning attitude to ponder upon the words of Jesus and to trust that in due time, we will know the answers that we need to know. From the New Testament, Wright skillfully weaves together the lessons from the whole Bible, to identify patterns then and how they could inform or shape our present responses to the pandemic. Three questions form the gist of the non-knee jerk reactions. 1) Who is going to be at special risk when this happens? 2) What can we do to help? 3) And who shall we send? Wright then goes on to spell out our need to lament; how we can talk about God; how then do we live; and how we could recover from our present malaise. My Thoughts ============== Wright is absolutely spot on when he cautions us from adopting quick-fix knee-jerk reactions to the current pandemic. In fact, it is not just the pandemic but the nature of human beings to react to problems by asking the why question. Whether earthquakes or tsunamis, floods or wildfires, or human problems like massacre, shootings, tragedies, etc, the question of why will almost almost pop up. When that happens, instead of conserving our resources toward constructive rebuilding, we play the blame game. Some might even blame God. Such thinking triggers all kinds of irrational conclusions which are either over-simplistic or fail to recognize the nature of mysteries. For every question that poses the why, there is a corresponding reaction that says "What if it is not?" Superficial binary answers will fail to accommodate the multiple perspectives in between because of the differences of contexts. I am glad that the author begins with the cautionary note for us not to jump to quick answers but to appreciate the questions. We need to learn the art of waiting and to lament while we are still in the midst of the pandemic. So what if we know the answers to the why question? That does not solve our present crisis and need for a vaccine. Perhaps there are positive lessons that we could learn. The pandemic could be an opportunity for us to bring about a positive change in mindset. For instance, we are observing better hygienic habits and community awareness through social distancing. We learn to better appreciate our normal activities of the past like global travel, going to the office, interacting with people in public, going out to a restaurant, enjoying singing in church, and so on. Many of these things are taken for granted, until the pandemic hits. I would say that many people are longing to go back to the "normal days." Unfortunately, we might not see that for a while. We might have to bear with a new normal, whatever that normal is. I appreciate Wright's cautiously optimistic approach not to give quick-fix answers but to show us practical ways in which we can think about God, about the pandemic, and what we could do during this time. When we distance ourselves from any sort of theodicy or over-analysis, we would be better placed to see the bigger picture of what it means to live better as a community. Nicholas Thomas Wright is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and was formerly Bishop of Durham in England. His books include How God Became King, Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, Jesus and the Victory of God, and Paul and the Faithfulness of God, as well as the New Testament for Everyone commentary series & Bible translation. Rating: 4.5 stars of 5. conrade This book has been provided courtesy of Zondervan and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Creedy

    Excellent. Jesus-focused. Full review - https://www.thomascreedy.co.uk/book-r... Excellent. Jesus-focused. Full review - https://www.thomascreedy.co.uk/book-r...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dan Curnutt

    This is a short essay but a timely one. In getting to the heart of the matter N.T. Wright confronts the Western Church on what its response should be in this time of “Sheltering in Place.” I very much appreciated his insights in some of the little things that we all have questions about. Should the church be closed? Well, N.T. Wrights take on the issue is not to debate whether we should be closed but to ask the question, does it really matter? The church can be the church whether it is meeting in This is a short essay but a timely one. In getting to the heart of the matter N.T. Wright confronts the Western Church on what its response should be in this time of “Sheltering in Place.” I very much appreciated his insights in some of the little things that we all have questions about. Should the church be closed? Well, N.T. Wrights take on the issue is not to debate whether we should be closed but to ask the question, does it really matter? The church can be the church whether it is meeting in a building or meeting online. The real question is, “What is the church doing to help out their fellow man during this time?” He gives us a good historical look back on how the church responded in previous times to different plagues that ran rampant through the world. Often times the church was at the forefront of healing, caring and praying with the sick during different plagues. I think he is correct that while the church is “closed” to worship services it is never closed to doing God’s work. Pastors and laypeople should not be absent from society during this time. They should be engaged in doing what they can to help during this time. Find creative ways to be God’s ands and feet to the people around you. This is a short read, but there are some real nuggets of gold in there for each of us.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I was concerned that this was going to be a sort of "Best of Wright" with a little bit of COVID application, but instead, I got a book that deals with this global pandemic from a big picture perspective plus some genuinely practical application. This book will stand the test of time because of how Wright places both the pandemic and our responses in his kingdom framework. Timely and timeless. Great book. I was concerned that this was going to be a sort of "Best of Wright" with a little bit of COVID application, but instead, I got a book that deals with this global pandemic from a big picture perspective plus some genuinely practical application. This book will stand the test of time because of how Wright places both the pandemic and our responses in his kingdom framework. Timely and timeless. Great book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter Yock

    I've read a couple of short books on thinking about Coronavirus in a biblical / gospel-centred way, and this one is the best I've come across. It was gospel-centred, biblical, thoughtful, engaging, and not trite in offering overly-simplistic advice and 'explanations' as to why current events are unraveling the way they are. I'd happily recommend this book. I've read a couple of short books on thinking about Coronavirus in a biblical / gospel-centred way, and this one is the best I've come across. It was gospel-centred, biblical, thoughtful, engaging, and not trite in offering overly-simplistic advice and 'explanations' as to why current events are unraveling the way they are. I'd happily recommend this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Stanifer

    This book never claims to give a thorough, definitive answer to every question raised by the pandemic. Think of it, at 76 pages, as more of an extended article that BEGINS to give answers and jogs your own thinking into gear. At that, I think it succeeds pretty well overall. I think one of the most interesting points Wright makes here is that, when Jesus sought to address the human suffering around him, he often began, not by trying to explain things or lay blame for why such suffering had happened This book never claims to give a thorough, definitive answer to every question raised by the pandemic. Think of it, at 76 pages, as more of an extended article that BEGINS to give answers and jogs your own thinking into gear. At that, I think it succeeds pretty well overall. I think one of the most interesting points Wright makes here is that, when Jesus sought to address the human suffering around him, he often began, not by trying to explain things or lay blame for why such suffering had happened in the first place . . . His key strategy seems to have been . . . helping. Grieving with those who grieved. Giving hope to those who were, literally or figuratively, dying. Pointing towards the (eventual) redemption of the entire creation. "So how is Jesus to engage with Martha, Mary and the critical crowd? He doesn't turn the tables on them and suggest that all this happened because they were sinful and now ought to repent. He just weeps. And then -- with the authority born of that mixture of tears and trust -- he commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb. If there is a word for our present situation, facing not only a pandemic but all the consequent social and cultural upheaval, I think it might be right here." ~Wright, God and the Pandemic, p.28 There are nuances to Wright's argument that are developed later on, but I think this hints at what might be his most substantial message -- that the #1 job of those of us who claim to follow Christ isn't so much to explain or analyze as if we are on the outside looking in . . . it's to weep with those who weep and to BE the hope people are looking for, as much as we can. That's a sobering but helpful line of thought (and there are several other passages I could have chosen to quote here, but I risk giving in to the temptation to paraphrase the whole book if I go much further).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara-Kay

    I’ve long appreciated Tom Wright’s writing — particularly his no-frills, theologically comprehensive, intellectually deep approach. This slender book checks all those boxes and yet he also manages to evoke a tenderness that I haven’t seen shine through as clearly in his previous works. It’s clear that this pandemic has hit him hard on a personal note (indeed, it’s dedicated to a Bishop friend of his who died from the virus in April). While Wright doesn’t speak to any specific encounters in his p I’ve long appreciated Tom Wright’s writing — particularly his no-frills, theologically comprehensive, intellectually deep approach. This slender book checks all those boxes and yet he also manages to evoke a tenderness that I haven’t seen shine through as clearly in his previous works. It’s clear that this pandemic has hit him hard on a personal note (indeed, it’s dedicated to a Bishop friend of his who died from the virus in April). While Wright doesn’t speak to any specific encounters in his personal life, he is clearly writing not just from the head, but also from the heart, and this book is stronger for the emotional depth that is evident throughout. In typical fashion, he zooms out to eventually zoom in, and I personally found his perspectives to be quite helpful on an emotional, spiritual, theological, and intellectual level. As he writes in the preface, this book doesn’t seek to “offer solutions to the questions raised by the pandemic” but instead argues that “we need to resist the knee-jerk reactions that come so readily to mind.” He calls readers to hold space for lament while also providing insight into biblical and historical precedents for how Christians can show up during a major plague such as this. I’ll admit, had I read this a few months prior, it might not have hit me so hard—but reading it now as covid cases spike to all-time highs in the US and we wrap up both the year 2020 and a very somber and lonely holiday season, it really struck a chord. If you’re wrestling with the theological questions surrounding this moment in history, this is a must-read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luke Williams

    Great little book for this crazy time we’re in. Wright is such a great thinker and writer and I usually finish his works feeling optimistic and hopeful. He does well to remind us to steer clear of strange end time conspiracies and to instead lament, pray, rely on the Spirit and remind ourselves that Jesus is already reigning. It’s also a good challenge for Christians to roll up their sleeves and participate in the Kingdom of God mission in times such as this, not from the sideline but as active Great little book for this crazy time we’re in. Wright is such a great thinker and writer and I usually finish his works feeling optimistic and hopeful. He does well to remind us to steer clear of strange end time conspiracies and to instead lament, pray, rely on the Spirit and remind ourselves that Jesus is already reigning. It’s also a good challenge for Christians to roll up their sleeves and participate in the Kingdom of God mission in times such as this, not from the sideline but as active participants.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian Lane

    I love reading Tom writes perspective on the current world through the lens of his top notch biblical scholarship. This short book is explicitly an expansion of his New York times article published earlier in the year. Tom does a great job of pointing to earlier moments of human suffering in scripture and the perspective taken on the nature of God and the activity of his people in light of disaster. I found his conclusions challenging and encouraging.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Signs of rush notwithstanding, this is a well-researched, thoughtful, and sane account of how Christians should respond in times of trouble. While ostensibly about the covid-19 pandemic (and rushed to print "for such a time as this"), this is a resource I can see myself recommending and returning to again and again. Because Wright builds his argument on timeless truths, it seems like it will be perennially timely. It's short, but there's a lot of wisdom packed into this. Signs of rush notwithstanding, this is a well-researched, thoughtful, and sane account of how Christians should respond in times of trouble. While ostensibly about the covid-19 pandemic (and rushed to print "for such a time as this"), this is a resource I can see myself recommending and returning to again and again. Because Wright builds his argument on timeless truths, it seems like it will be perennially timely. It's short, but there's a lot of wisdom packed into this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    I wrestled back and forth with this book. The beginning and end were both helpful in many ways, but the middle 70% was bogged down with poor interpretation and harping on one kind of response to the current pandemic. While I don’t agree with how he got there, I do agree with many of Wright’s practical applications. The last 15% of the book was worth the read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Matznick

    I have really enjoyed NT Wright lately and this is another example of a book I would recommend to anyone...no matter if they follow Jesus or not. Wright does a really great job at giving some reflection on what this Pandemic means for the world and how we should respond (as Christians, yes, but also as HUMANS). It’s a pretty “quick read” and has a lot of great things to ponder. It’s absolutely worth the read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    A great sounding board on how to respond and think more critically about the Christian response to the pandemic. Wright approaches the subject with a level head and challenges the knee-jerk reactions that Christians have already heard.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    Wright deals with this big topic from a *really* biblical point of view, from a *genuinely* Christian perspective. It is so easy to let the Bible become nothing more than an excuse for our unrepentant dramatics, despair, or sense of superiority. Wright dashes all that nonsense to the ground with a good dose of biblical realism, Christian humility, and divine hope. Do you need to read this book? Almost certainly you do.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    Bible Study Book We have had a lively Bible Study via Zoom with this enlightening book as the basis. In this time of pandemic, there have been many thought provoking issues to ponder and discuss.

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