N.T. Wright & Miroslav Volf / The Politics of Joy & Suffering in the Now and Not Yet
Play • 23 min

Can we find joy in our world? It's hard enough to find genuine, death-defying joy in the wake of the failure of the modern utopian project, the expectation that human reason and technology and political revolution might save us all. Overlay the malaise of modernity with this dumb pandemic, and the prospects for joy seem bleak. But for N.T. Wright, joy doesn't depend on the whims of circumstance or the proper function of the world. He speaks of the hardy resilience of joy, even in the midst of tragic, terrible, and untimely death. He speaks of the groanings of the Spirit, laboring and working in us even and especially when we can't find the words to explain the circumstances away. Today we're sharing Miroslav Volf's 2014 interview with the New Testament scholar, theologian, and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright. He's the former Bishop of Durham, he's Emeritus Professor University of St Andrews, and is Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.

NOTE: For the Life of the World is running highlights, readings, lectures, and other best-of features until May 1, 2022, when we'll be back with new conversations.


N.T. Wright is a New Testament scholar, theologian, and Anglican bishop. He's the former Bishop of Durham, he's Emeritus Professor University of St Andrews, and is Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He's the author of many books, including Surprised by Hope, Paul: A Biography, God and the Pandemic, Simply Christian, The World the New Testament, and many more.

Show Notes

  • The connection between joy and God's deliverance and rescue
  • Joy at what God has done
  • Resurrection joy
  • Navigating "the now and the not yet"
  • What happens to joy in "the now and the not yet"
  • Waiting, suffering, and joy
  • Acts 12: James is killed by Herod's men, and Peter gets out of jail free
  • Differentiating types of suffering
  • Romans 8: The whole creation groaning as a woman in childbirth
  • 2 Corinthians 2:1-7 (NRSV) / So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. 2For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. 4For I wrote to you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 5 But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent—not to exaggerate it—to all of you. 6This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; 7so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
  • "Yet behold: Here I am"
  • I have no idea what's going on, but I believe.
  • N.T. Wright on the presiding over his father's funeral
  • The death of a child: there is no
  • Early church love is "agape"—holistic love
  • The emotive dimensions of joy
  • What kind of seeing is involved in rejoicing?
  • "All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me."
  • "It's a matter of thinking into the world in which divine authority is constituted by self-giving love."
  • Jesus on a donkey vs. Pontius Pilate on a war horse—the redefinition of power and authority
  • "Religion is what you do to keep the fabric of society together."
  • Treating Christianity as a private matter
  • Is there any joy in the world today?
  • The confused world that comes from believing the utopian lie of modernity

Production Notes

  • This podcast featured New Testament Scholar N.T. Wright and theologian Miroslav Volf
  • Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
  • Hosted by Evan Rosa
  • Production Assistance by Martin Chan
  • A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
  • Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give
More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu