"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Larry Woiwode is a writer of writers--a real American hero--and his prose leads us to delight in the written word in a fresh way. Through the mediums of literary analysis, cultural reflection, and personal memory, these ten essays trace Woiwode's work and thought on such topics as the redemptive fiction of John Gardner, the ownership of guns, the faith of William Shakespeare, and even the difference in news as reported by CNN versus Bob Dylan.
Each essay here seems a kind of heirloom, important and timeless, a real window into the soul of American culture and its literary figures. These words give us a place in which to find rest, and a clarity and depth of understanding regarding today's trends from a man well acquainted with the wounds and gifts of this world. Woiwode offers us a collection of insightful and provocative commentaries that are certain to produce a marked upwelling of joy as we revel in his mastery of language and stimulating observations of both literature and culture. An absorbing work to read and reread.