A joyful, reflective, and at times moving portrait. Death By Living is N.D. Wilson’s life, memories and observations of every moment as a loving gift from an amazing God. The God who created the universe, oceans and mountains is the same God of dust particles in the sun, sick children and events that force us to enjoy or embitter life. Yes, Wilson has a way with words that is evident from the text. He plays with words and watches them rise, expand and shine in the sun. If you are intimidated by words this isn’t a work-out, it’s a treadmill. keep up with it, you’ll be rewarded.
“Lesson 2: When faced with unpleasantness (trouble) there are only two ultimate responses (with many variations). On one hand, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” On the other, “Curse God and die.” Variations on the latter can include whining, moping, self-pity, apathy, or rage. Variations of the former can include laughter, song, retellings, and an energetic attack of obstacles.”
While at times this book may aggravate those who rely on continuity, I found his ADD approach to telling his story an effective way of communicating a real stream-of-thought revelation. As humans, we have difficulty in staying on task, and this book is no different. And yet, it is necessary in filling in the background colors to his foreground portrait of life.
There are no dry times in the life of a Christian. Not when you listen the questions posed by the The Whirlwind, and consider all of the loving gifts that surround His creations. Wright’s book moved me. To laughter, to tears, to asking forgiveness for not appreciating the small, quiet things that we see as obstacles. Obstacles that God may want us to stop and ponder.
In our current self-absorbed individual-focused culture, this book is a cold slap in the face, but welcome as an awakening from a bad dream. Wilson sums up his viewpoint of our value:
“Understand this: we are both tiny and massive. We are nothing more than molded clay given breath, but we are nothing less than divine self-portraits, huffing and puffing along mountain ranges of epic narrative arcs prepared for us by the Infinite Word himself.”
This was a refreshing change from the typical drivel that seeps its way into our lives, promising God’s prosperity if we hold on and dream big. Death By Living presents life as it really is. Life “on an ever increasing scale of difficulty.” Pain, wonderful, loving and growth-inflicted pain that drives us to decide how to live. This is one of the most moving and enjoyable books I’ve read in many years.
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