Flesh Becomes Word

“Poems formed by the spirit as well as by its companions—imagination, memory, and wisdom—are a rare occurrence in these, the dark beginnings of the twenty-first century. In Brian Volck’s Flesh Becomes Word, word also becomes flesh, an incarnation both beautifully achieved and absolutely necessary, I would argue, for our time.” – B.H. Fairchild (author of Usher)

“Brian Volck first establishes the irreplaceability of the body. “What self/ remains, apart from the body(?)” he asks in an early poem. Then right before the reader’s eyes, in one beautiful and witty arc, he transforms flesh to words. There is silence here, too, pauses to listen for the sound of hunger. And there is the profound wisdom that silence and hunger can bring. Flesh Becomes Word is a splendid debut.”
Jeanne Murray Walker (author of A Deed to the Light)

“Like any poetry worth poring over, Brian Volck’s Flesh Becomes Word proceeds as inquiry accompanied by acute observation in pursuit. Like any poetry worth poring over, these poems perform what George Steiner calls a wager on the possibility of God, even in the midst of what some might consider to be evidence to the contrary. These are poems of deep humility, of wide and deep learning, of abiding and strenuous faith—and pervasive joy.”
Scott Cairns (author of Compass of Affection)

“John Volck’s drawings are, like his brother’s poems, muscular and delicate, refined and raw, and throughout it all, deeply moving.”
Barry Moser (Pennyroyal Press)

On Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine

“In this remarkable book Brian Volck and Joel Shuman offer the wisest counsel we have received for how Christians can negotiate the world of modern medicine. This is not another diatribe against doctors or the medical establishment, but rather they write for Christians in the hope that we can come to use medicine as a form of service for the up-building of the body that is the church. Though the book is wonderfully accessible and hopefully will be read in congregations, anyone who has been engaged in the work of medical ethics and/or theology and medicine over the last thirty years will find this book makes a remarkable intellectual contribution to that enterprise. Drawing on an extraordinary range of literature both theological and literary, Volck and Shuman help us see the difference it might make for how we as Christians learn to live and die–for how our medical care of one another should be shaped. I simply cannot say enough good about this book.”
-Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

“Birth, life, and death. We pass through them all and encounter medicine in each. As we journey through the stages, Shuman and Volck invite us to reconceptualize medicine away from the individualistic, technocratic model of our culture to a truly theological reflection and response. Reclaiming the Body is lucid, creative, thoughtful, biblical, integrative, and a significant resource for practitioners and patients who call themselves Christian.”
-Dennis Hollinger, Evangelical School of Theology

“Shuman, an ethicist, and Volck, a pediatrician, are on a mission to persuade Christians to stop worshiping the medical establishment and to start “using medicine as if God mattered.” It is easy to put medicine in the place that only God should occupy: “The medical project of controlling life and defeating death is attractive… because a denial of our own mortalities and a desire to be in control is very near the center of our own disordered desires.” Christian theology, however, teaches that “because we come from God, belong to God, and are destined finally to return to God, we need not fight without restraint to control all the circumstances of our existence, or to preserve our lives as they near their end.” As they develop this theme through literature, contemporary stories and theological reflection, the authors affirm the goodness of the human body, the importance of the church as the gathered body of Christ and the necessity of hospitality toward the world’s helpless and suffering. Brilliantly reasoned and artfully written, this quotable book should reach well beyond its obvious market of medical and spiritual caregivers to engage anyone concerned about human values in a technological age.”
– Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

On The Spirit of Food: Thirty-four Writers on Feasting and Fasting toward God

“Throw in the remarkable writing of well-known poet Luci Shaw, the eloquent medical writer Brian Volck, Southern novelist Vinita Hampton Wright, and the very, very important creation-affirming Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemmann (from his essential book For the Life of the World) and one immediately knows that this may be one of the finest collections of essays I’ve ever seen. What authors. What rich topics. What important and helpful ideas.”
-Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore


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