First, thank you to all of you who have prayed for or supported me as I have recovered from spinal fusion surgery. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had some complications that have slowed me down, but I’m definitely making progress.
Things have been crazy…..
I found out I was having surgery on March 1st. Echoing Hope, my first book, released on March 16th. Then, I had surgery on March 26th. It wasn’t the best timing, by any stretch! Yesterday, I shared about how I am doing in a video update. I’m hoping to re-engage my newsletter / podcast / social media community in the coming days, as I have energy to do so.
Book Club: The Belong Collective
Books clubs are forming around Echoing Hope. As I’m able, I’d love the chance to Skype/Zoom in for part of a session to join the conversation (more on that in a bit).
Also, I wanted to let you know that there is a great book club that is starting on May 26th at 4pm pacific / 7pm eastern.
My friends at The Belong Collective will be hosting a 4-week conversation about Echoing Hope via Zoom. And, since it is being hosted online, they’ve opened it up to anyone who is interested in joining the conversation.
Justin Douglas, the Lead Pastor at TBC, is a close friend and someone who loves Jesus and inspires others to do the same. I’m grateful for his church’s engagement with my book and hope you will join in the conversation.
Echoing Hope Stories and Feedback
As folks have had time to finish reading Echoing Hope, the feedback has been truly humbling. I’ve heard stories of tears of healing and hope being shed. If this includes you, honestly, to have the opportunity to be part of your journey from a distance is a gift. As you read, please send me your reflections on how the book (and Jesus) have impacted you.
For those of you who haven’t read it yet….
I hope you will! The earliest readers were those who offered kind endorsements. Here’s what a few of them said:
“Kurt Willems’s book provides an approachable framework for understanding and carrying pain in light of Jesus Christ. I loved the practical invitation to apply and practice his insights in our own lives through helpful formation exercises. Echoing Hope gives us something to hold on to in the midst of suffering.” (Sarah Bessey)
“Readers who hope for more from the gospel will be informed by and empowered by this generative rendering of the truth of Jesus.” (Walter Brueggemann)
“Now more than ever we need, Echoing Hope. We need enthusiastic reminders of Jesus’ humanity and his acquaintance with our vulnerabilities.” (Osheta Moore)
“Without resorting to worn-out clichés, Kurt Willems walks the reader through the problem of pain with the mind of a theologian and the heart of a pastor. This book will help many people.” (Brian Zahnd)
“Kurt Willems pastorally writes for the hurting and despairing, and lifts the eyes of the questioning, and points to the hope woven and soaked in the gospel. … Every pastor must have multiple copies of this book on their shelves to offer up to the hurting and despairing in their midst.” (Tara Beth Leach)
“This book is all about Jesus. It is the gospel according to Kurt Willems. Echoing Hope captures the paradox of the life of Jesus — we have a God who suffers so that suffering doesn’t get the final word. Jesus absorbs all the violence of the world to subvert it with love. In Jesus, God leaves all the comfort of heaven to joined the struggle here on earth. … It is a book about the enduring hope that God is with us… no matter how bad it gets.” (Shane Claiborne)
“Echoing Hope draws Jesus near – his humanity, his pain, and his purpose, without losing Jesus’ divinity in the process. Kurt brings his own stories of healing and hope to the feet of an accessible Jesus, so that readers can bring our own.” (Sean Palmer)
I’ll Join Your Book Club…
I hope you will consider joining this book club that The Belong Collective is graciously hosting!
Or, maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own book club. For those who form an official group (you meet multiple times, there’s a consistent group, etc), I want to offer to join in for part of a session for Q&A.
This, of course, depends on my schedule, but if you reach out to me, I’ll do what I can to accommodate. It not only gives me an excuse to talk about the book but it is a chance to meet more of you in a more personalized way!
Well, friends, thanks again for your support!
Author: Kurt Willems
Kurt Willems is a pastor, author, and spiritual director. His first book, Echoing Hope: How the Humanity of Jesus Redeems our Pain, releases in March 2021. Kurt is also the host of the Theology Curator podcast. He has a master of divinity degree from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and a master of arts in comparative religion from the University of Washington.
[More About Kurt]