18 New Books on Suffering

Over the span of two years we have been blessed with at least 18 new titles on various topics under the umbrella of suffering and grieving — loneliness, depression, disability, chronic pain, terminal illness, raising special needs kids, and grieving lost children.

Here’s a chronological list of the valuable titles that have caught my attention (and let me know what books I missed in the comments).

Zack Eswine, Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression (Nov. 20, 2015).

Betsy Childs Howard, Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed (May 31, 2016).

Andrew and Rachel Wilson, The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs (June 30, 2016).

Phil Ryken, When Trouble Comes (June 30, 2016).

Dave Furman, Being There: How to Love Those Who Are Hurting (Aug. 31, 2016).

Nancy Guthrie, What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps, and What Really Hurts (Sept. 30, 2016).

Joni Eareckson Tada, A Spectacle of Glory: God’s Light Shining through Me Every Day (Oct. 4, 2016).

Vaneetha Rendall Risner, The Scars That Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering (Oct. 12, 2016).

Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (Oct. 25, 2016).

Douglas Taylor, I Shall Not Die, But Live: Facing Death with Gospel Hope (Dec. 13, 2016).

Lydia Brownback, Finding God in My Loneliness (Feb. 28, 2017).

Russ Ramsey, Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death (Mar. 14, 2017).

Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell, Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (Mar. 27, 2017).

Brian Tabb, Suffering in Ancient Worldview (Apr. 20, 2017).

Richard Belcher, Job: The Mystery of Suffering and God’s Sovereignty (June 2, 2017).

Kelly Kapic, Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering (June 6, 2017).

David Powlison, God’s Grace in Your Suffering (Feb. 28, 2018).

Jack Deere, Even in Our Darkness: A Story of Beauty in a Broken Life (Apr. 10, 2018).

Augustine’s Confessions: A Translation Comparison

Here’s a brief bit from Augustine’s Confessions (2.2.2), as translated into English over the years. The striking language Augustine employs to describe his adolescent lusts make the passage especially illuminating in comparing translation approaches:

Pilkington: “Out of the dark concupiscence of the flesh and the effervescence of youth exhalations came forth which obscured and overcast my heart, so that I was unable to discern pure affection from unholy desire.”

Outler: “Instead, the mists of passion steamed up out of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, and the hot imagination of puberty, and they so obscured and overcast my heart that I was unable to distinguish pure affection from unholy desire.”

Chadwick: “Clouds of muddy carnal concupiscence filled the air. The bubbling impulses of puberty befogged and obscured my heart so that it could not see the difference between love’s serenity and lust’s darkness.”

Pusey: “Out of the muddy concupiscence of the flesh, and the bubblings of youth, mist fumed up which beclouded and overcast my heart, that I could not discern the clear brightness of love from the fog of lustfulness.”

Pine-Coffin: “Bodily desire, like a morass, and adolescent sex welling up within me exuded mists which clouded over and obscured my heart, so that I could not distinguish the clear light of true love from the murk of lust.”

Wills: “Instead of affection’s landmarks drawn in light, earth-murks drowned in lust – and my erupting sexuality – breathed mephitic vapors over the boundary, to cloud and blind my heart in clouds and fog, erasing the difference between love’s quietness and the drivenness of dark impulse.”

Sheed: “From the muddy concupiscence of the flesh and the hot imagination of puberty mists steamed up to becloud and darken my heart so that I could not distinguish the white light of love from the fog of lust.”

Ryan: “Clouds arose from the slimy desires of the flesh and from youth’s seething spring. They clouded over and darkened my soul, so that I could not distinguish the calm light of chaste love from the fog of lust.”

Boulding (1998): “From the mud of my fleshly desires and my erupting puberty belched out murky clouds that obscured and darkened my heart until I could not distinguish the calm light of love from the fog of lust.”

Ruden (2017): “Mine were the putrid fumes rising from scummy bodily lusts and the diseased eruption of puberty, befouling and befuddling my heart with their smoke, so that there was no telling the unclouded sky of affection from the thick murk of carnality.”

Myself, I have for several years prefered Boulding with recent growing interest in Ruden.

Jonathan Edwards on Twitter’s Purpose

Here’s a glimpse into Jonathan Edwards’s expectation for technological advance. Technology will offer us more contemplative margin in our lives. It will also empower communion among the global church as one large fellowship.

This is from miscellany 262, published in Edwards’s works, 13:369:

‘Tis probable that this world shall be more like heaven in the millennium [JE was postmil] in this respect, that contemplative and spiritual employments, and those things that more directly concern the mind and religion, will be more the saints’ ordinary business than now.

There will be so many contrivances and inventions to facilitate and expedite their necessary secular business, that they shall have more time for more noble exercises, and that they will have better contrivances for assisting one another through the whole earth, by a more expedite and easy and safe communication between distant regions than now.

The invention of the mariner’s compass is one thing by God discovered to the world for that end; and how exceedingly has that one thing enlarged and facilitated communication! And who can tell but that God will yet make it more perfect; so that there need not be such a tedious voyage in order to hear from the other hemisphere, and so the countries about the poles need no longer to lie hid to us, but the whole earth may be as one community, one body in Christ.

I love the idea of technology as things “by God discovered to the world.”

So what would Edwards say about Twitter? What would Edwards say about our technology and how it disburdens us for a life more consistent with the “undistracted life” of 1 Corinthians 7? How is his vision for global fellowship beginning to get realized through digital media? And what would Edwards say about the invasiveness and permutation of entertainment into every spare moment of our lives, which then squanders all the margin made techno-possible in the first place?