Into the Book


Death by Living, by ND Wilson, is more than just ‘a breath of fresh air’. This book is a whirling wind. It is filled with ideas I thought I’d discovered, and yet I am thrilled that this book explores these ideas in greater depth. This books shows you life as a story, a story that God is writing in your heart. It is a call to living. Living fully, living with all of our might, creating; and by living a full life, dying. The title perhaps sounds morbid but the book is anything but: ND Wilson is celebrating life, showing you glimpses of the amazing story that God has woven throughout the world.

Glimpses are all he can offer but they are enough to shake you to the core, if you are listening. Not content to show you how he has lived, ND Wilson calls you to discover the same sort of life. What is life? It’s taking advantage of every breath, and thanking our maker for them. It’s living and striving hard, and bringing up young ones to follow in our paths. It’s soaking in the history and example of the threads and ancestors who have gone before you. This is what living looks like.

This book is a book of worship. It is full of praise for God the creator and what he has worked and is continually working in our lives and the world. A book that encouraged us to live without this core would be empty: selfish and self-centered. N.D. Wilson recognizes that God is the one writing our story, that he is the one who gives it unimaginable depth and twist; and he gives Him all the credit. God is the only context in which the tapestry of our lives can be woven.

“Do your best. Live. Create. Fail. And from it all, from the compost of our efforts, God brings glory – a world of ripe grain in the wind. By His grace, we are the water made wine. We are the dust made flesh made dust made flesh again. We are the whores made brides and the thieves made saints and the killers made apostles. We are the dead made living.
We are His cross.”

Death by Living will not preach at you. And yet through it is woven the incredible mysteries of the Gospel: of Christ crucified for our sins and a God who keeps alive a race who hates his name. Death by Living is not a biography. And yet the story of ND Wilson’s life and those around him is tangled inextricably with this book. Death by Living is not a philosophy or a worldview. And yet a worldview of wonder and discovery is consistently painted on the pages. Death by Living is a book that defies characterization simply because it is.

It is a book of life. Like life, it is often times messy, complicated, and informal. This is not a book like you are expecting. This book will give you the first steps into a journey that only you can finish: the journey of your life, and the story that God is writing in you. ND Wilson will only call you into that. Only you can live it, and by living, die. I highly, highly recommend this book — it encompasses, with masterful writing, my own searchings and wanderings, and it has spurred me on deeper in my own adventure. Give it a read, and a reread. Life is meant to be spent.

~ Andrew
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Published on 1 August, 2013. Last updated on

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