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The Gift of Thorns

Jesus, the Flesh, and the War for Our Wants
A. J. Swoboda
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Today's follower of Jesus exists at a moment in history when our desires, longings, and wants are being weaponized against us by cultural, spiritual, and relational forces. "Follow your heart" and "You do you" has become our moment's mantras. The result, for too many, is feeling torn asunder by the raging desires within. What do we do with our desire? What about our unwanted desires? And how do we cultivate desires which bring life and freedom and lead to Christ? The Gift of Thorns, by A. J. Swoboda, addresses these questions and more.

The path forward is anything but easy. It is assumed by too many in the Christian community that desire is in and of itself bad or dangerous and must be crucified for simply existing. Desire is demonic for some. But, for many others--particularly in the secular West--desire must be followed through and through. This side deifies desire. But these two options sidestep the joy in the great challenge of finding God in our desire. There exists an ancient and sacred way that is forged around the life, wisdom, and power of Jesus and his Spirit. In short, what makes a follower of Christ is not whether or not we have desires. Rather, it is what we do with the desires we have.

Near the end of the story of humanity's rebellion, the theme of "thorns" is introduced. As readers will discover, the thematic repetition of "thorns" pops up over and over throughout the Bible. What are the thorns for? They will be, in the words of God, "for you" (Gen. 3:18). The premise of this book is that a world where we do not get all that we want is, well, the greatest gift ever.

About the Author

A. J. Swoboda (PhD, Birmingham) is assistant professor of Bible and theology at Bushnell University. He also leads a Doctor of Ministry program around the Christian Formation & Soul Care at Friends University. He is the author of several books, including the award-winning Subversive Sabbath and After Doubt. As well, he hosts the Slow Theology podcast with Dr. Nijay Gupta. He is married to Quinn and is the proud father of Elliot. They live and work on an urban farm in Eugene, Oregon with their dog Diggory.?

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 256
  • Format: Hardcover, Jacketed
  • ISBN: 9780310153283
  • Release: February 20, 2024