Episode 121

Philip Yancey on John Donne, Undone

Published on: 21st March, 2024

Follow Philip Yancey's blog.

Read Philip's new book, Undone.

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manor of thine own

Or of thine friend's were.

Each man's death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.

Welcome back podcast listeners. Quite a Lenten poem, eh? For Western listeners, we are in the last week of Lent before Holy Week, first week for our Eastern brethren.

Meeting here in Lententide, we thought it would be a good time for a conversation about someone who has reflected deeply on sin, suffering, pain, and the faithful presence of God. Well, two people actually. The 17th-century priest and poet, John Donne, whose famous poem we opened with, and author Philip Yancey.

The poem above is actually an excerpt from a longer work called Devotions that Donne wrote from his sickbed, in a time of plague, disorientation, and deep discouragement. Where and how did he find God with him? 

TLC had the joy of talking with Philip Yancey about his new book, a modern paraphrase of Devotions called Undone, and about Phillip's own story, particularly as it relates to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Philip Yancey has explored questions and mysteries of the Christian faith for decades in best-selling works such as Disappointment with GodWhere is God When it Hurts?, and What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip has written more than 25 books, and his latest release is Undone: A Modern Rendering of John Donne's Devotions. Philip and his wife live in the foothills of Colorado.

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The Living Church Podcast
The Living Church Podcast explores ecumenical topics in theology, the arts, ethics, pastoral care, and spiritual growth — all to equip and encourage leaders in the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond. A ministry of the Living Church Institute.