About nine years ago I began editing an anthology on the Christian life, and I’m very pleased to say that it’s now in print, The Grammar of Grace: Readings from the Christian Tradition (Cascade). The back cover reads,
This anthology is a collection of readings on the Christian life. They were carefully selected from every era of history and from across the spectrum of Christian traditions. They include letters, sermons, treatises and disputations, poems, songs and hymns, confessions, biblical commentary, and even part of a novel. In each case, the subject is life with God, life in God, life for God—life infused and enlivened by God’s grace.
The editors introduce each selection, highlighting relevant aspects of the author’s biography, spirituality, and historical context. Introductions are also provided for the major eras of the church which present theological, historical, and cultural perspectives to help the reader best engage the selections.
For individuals and groups, classrooms and seminars, this collection will generate dialogue between past and present, and between traditions familiar and unfamiliar. It is not merely a book on the Christian life but for the Christian life, making yesterday’s witness to life with God a resource for the Church today.
If you order the book from the publisher you’ll receive a discount (here).
Besides the many, many people who supported and encouraged me as the book took shape, I worked with two associate editors of amazing talent and skill, not to mention spiritual sensitivity: Ashley Cocksworth (UK) and Anna Silvas (Australia). Ashley and I worked together on the Reformation and Modern sections, and Anna managed the Medieval sections. You’ll find them trustworthy guides.
I’ll post a few times more about this book in the following weeks. I’d like to say more about the book’s range, the verbal icons that accompany each selection, and share a few parts from the Introduction.
Let me say this for now: I feel that my connection to the community of faith has grown stronger by curating this book. It is hard to find just the right words. I mean that after all the years drawing together and introducing these 96 different figures from across the entire history of the Christian faith – after sitting with them for so long to “hear” their testimony of life with God – I have a deeper and more tangible sense of the great “cloud of witnesses” of which I’m a part (Heb 12:1). I am not alone, nor are you, in the pilgrimage of following Jesus.
We are not the first to speak of life with God. Life with God compels expression. It requires testimony. Some kind of expression, some kind of “pointing” at what it is to know the triune God of the gospel. Christian Wyman calls such expression the “poetry and prose” of knowing God’s grace. It is “sighing and stammering,” Karl Barth says. After spending nearly a decade sifting through hundreds of different examples of Christians who “pointed” at life with God, I found this: they are tied together by the grammar of grace.
More on that later.