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Today, David Neff editor at Christianity Today, reviews Walter Wangerin’s newest book, Letters from the Land of Cancer. Since reading his Mourning into Dancing, I’ve been a fan of Wangerin. I quote Mourning in the grief chapter of The Art of Dying. I found Wangerin’s willingness to dive into the depths of the grieving process yet emerge in the joy of the resurrection to be a powerful application of the idea that Christ will make all things new.

I also thoroughly enjoyed his fictional Book of the Dun Cow. While he’s a highly stylized writer—a style that can take some getting used to—it allows Wangerin to be pastoral and personal in his work. He is able to apply his theological beliefs to practical life situations. David writes:

Wangerin’s belief in Christ’s mercy pervades this book. He knows that Christ met “the world that was even then dispatching him” with “serenity and forgiveness, grace and love.” In Christ, he finds spiritual healing and grace. In Christ, he rejoices that his name is written in heaven. “My name. The Father who named me at my baptism will in a creating and re-creating voice call my name once more, and I shall arise, and I shall like Moses answer, ‘Here I am.'”

And in Christ, Wangerin finds the tender Shepherd’s care. In Letter 21, he traces through Scripture how God’s word creates what it names. In John 10, he finds “the real source of [his] peace on the threshold of death.” In that passage is the figure of the shepherd who calls his sheep by name. The one who, by naming them, makes them his sheep, and who gives to the sheep who follow him eternal life.

Read the full review at Christianity Today.

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One thought on “Walter Wangerin’s Letters from the Land of Cancer

  1. I decided to read this book per David’s review. It’s an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone. Rob, I preordered your book. I’m really looking forward to it.

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