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How Odd of God
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About the Author

William H. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Duke University Divinity School. A retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, he served previously as Dean of Duke Chapel. Recognized as one of the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world, he is the author of several books, including A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship and The Collected Sermons of William H. Willimon, published by Westminster John Knox Press.

Reviews

"Karl Barth once wrote that, for us moderns, theology cannot be re-established except with audacity. That is a good description of Will WillimonaEURO (TM)s writinghe is audacious (or with a Southern inflection, bodacious). He is never afraid to offend us, or make us cry, or laugh. He cuts through our defenses for the gospelaEURO (TM)s sake. How odd of God to choose Willimon to be a messenger on behalf of Jesus Christ. Yet how wonderful of God to do so." Joseph Mangina, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
"William Willimon has long since established himself as one of the premiere preachers of our time. In this new book he shows how strong preaching is impossible without strong theology to undergird it. This is a masterful text to be studied and savored by all who care about the renewal of theology and preaching in todayaEURO (TM)s church." George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary
"If Will Willimon had merely rendered the vexed and neglected Christian doctrine of election clear and accessible, that would have been contribution enough. But in this thoughtful and sustained conversation with theologian Karl Barth, Willimon has accomplished far more. He has made the doctrine of election fascinating, even urgent. Election, as he presents it, is a refreshing and revolutionary word, first to timid preachers that we are not charged with coming up with words about God, but instead 'God has come up with words for us,' and then to an over-confident and self-actualized culture that we are not as in control as we imagine, that, indeed, we can have hope only 'because our lives are not our own.'" Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
"Most preachers don't read Karl Barth once they've finished seminary. Proof of Will Willimon's oddness can be found in that he's still reading Barth, even all these years later. For this we should be thankful, for Willimon's close and faithful reading of Barth's doctrine of election from his perch at the end of a career gives perspective that we often lack in today's church culturethose who preach are elected to preach. Elected by God. So hold your head high, Willimon says, and preach the truth." Tony Jones, author of Did God Kill Jesus?
"'How Odd of God'. . . to combine the gifts of leadership, prophecy, theology, and wit in one southern preacher. But in Will Willimon the deed is done. In this rich study, Willimon emerges not only as an insightful (or is it inciteful?) preacher, but also as one of our foremost theologians of preaching. Looking through the keyhole of Barth's theology of election, he sees the whole glorious world of Israel, the church and our calling to be followers of Jesus. Although this is not a how-to-do-it book, Willimon's congenital habit of telling the truth provides the best preaching model of all." Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching, Duke Divinity School
"If Will Willimon had merely rendered the vexed and neglected Christian doctrine of election clear and accessible, that would have been contribution enough. But in this thoughtful and sustained conversation with theologian Karl Barth, Willimon has accomplished far more. He has made the doctrine of election fascinating, even urgent. Election, as he presents it, is a refreshing and revolutionary word, first to timid preachers that we are not charged with coming up with words about God, but instead 'God has come up with words for us,' and then to an over-confident and self-actualized culture that we are not as in control as we imagine, that, indeed, we can have hope only 'because our lives are not our own.'" Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
"Most preachers don't read Karl Barth once they've finished seminary. Proof of Will Willimon's oddness can be found in that he's still reading Barth, even all these years later. For this we should be thankful, for Willimon's close and faithful reading of Barth's doctrine of election from his perch at the end of a career gives perspective that we often lack in today's church culturethose who preach are elected to preach. Elected by God. So hold your head high, Willimon says, and preach the truth." Tony Jones, author of Did God Kill Jesus?
"Most preachers don't read Karl Barth once they've finished seminary. Proof of Will Willimon's oddness can be found in that he's still reading Barth, even all these years later. For this we should be thankful, for Willimon's close and faithful reading of Barth's doctrine of election from his perch at the end of a career gives perspective that we often lack in today's church culturethose who preach are elected to preach. Elected by God. So hold your head high, Willimon says, and preach the truth." Tony Jones, author of Did God Kill Jesus?
"'How Odd of God'. . . to combine the gifts of leadership, prophecy, theology, and wit in one southern preacher. But in Will Willimon the deed is done. In this rich study, Willimon emerges not only as an insightful (or is it inciteful?) preacher, but also as one of our foremost theologians of preaching. Looking through the keyhole of Barth's theology of election, he sees the whole glorious world of Israel, the church and our calling to be followers of Jesus. Although this is not a how-to-do-it book, Willimon's congenital habit of telling the truth provides the best preaching model of all." Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching, Duke Divinity School
"'How Odd of God'. . . to combine the gifts of leadership, prophecy, theology, and wit in one southern preacher. But in Will Willimon the deed is done. In this rich study, Willimon emerges not only as an insightful (or is it inciteful?) preacher, but also as one of our foremost theologians of preaching. Looking through the keyhole of Barth's theology of election, he sees the whole glorious world of Israel, the church and our calling to be followers of Jesus. Although this is not a how-to-do-it book, Willimon's congenital habit of telling the truth provides the best preaching model of all." Richard Lischer, James T. and Alice Mead Cleland Professor of Preaching, Duke Divinity School

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