I have four copies of Gregory Wolfe‘s new book The Operation of Graceand I’m giving three of them away. (I’m going to be selfish about that fourth one.)

But I want these giveaway copies to go to readers who appreciate the author.

Do you? Then read on, and you’ll find out how to put your name in this hat.

gregory wolfeI’ve been watching and learning from Gregory Wolfe for 20 years now — since he first founded Image. Thanks to this unlikely literary arts journal, I’ve accepted countless invitations to explore the territory of art, faith, and mystery with writers and artists of profound imagination and insight. And I have seen a community of kindred spirits drawn together by that vision.

I’m grateful to those artists and that community for how they have enriched my life. But above all I am grateful to Greg Wolfe himself. He has invested his time, resources, imagination, passion, and prayers in curating great works of imagination; in establishing high standards of excellence; in sustaining what is, to my knowledge, the world’s finest journal about art, faith, and mystery; and in cultivating community for artists, believers, and seekers. I don’t know anyone who could fill his shoes or do what he does. I’m not sure I can imagine what it’s cost him, his wife Suzanne, and their family to build what Image has become. Literary arts journals are famously difficult to sustain, and the digital revolution in publishing has posed a question to journal publishers like Greg: “Are you willing to bleed for what you do? If so, then maybe you’ll find a way to break even.”

The day that Seattle Pacific University brought Image to reside on campus was a great day for the school — it demonstrated an acknowledgement and an endorsement of Image‘s high standard for excellence and artistic integrity. I know so many artists and art-lovers who have sought challenge, opportunity, community, and a place in which they can vigorously wrestle with questions of faith through their own artistic medium. And Image — the journal and its community events — has been there for them.

It seems shameful to me to see cash-loaded religious arts organizations pouring millions into efforts marred by mediocrity and evangelical propaganda, while the Image team — surviving on a shoestring budget — refuses to compromise their insistence on excellence.

At the young age of 16, I was already disillusioned by, and weary of, the seemingly perpetual mediocrity of so-called “Christian art” (and worse, “Christian entertainment”). Wolfe’s vision for Image has shown me a better way, increased my faith, and helped me resist cynicism and bitterness. I have learned from his own writing. I’ve been inspired and moved by what he and managing editor Mary Kenagy Mitchell have curated in the pages of Image. I’ve grown as a writer in the creative writing program that Wolfe directs. I found a vocational calling in the opportunities he’s given me to speak and teach. And I’ve found the most extravagant community of friends at his annual Glen Workshop event — they bless my life every single day.

If you read Image, or attend the Glen Workshop, or have been involved with anything else that Wolfe has organized, then you probably know what I’m talking about. I suspect you have a story of your own.

So here’s my challenge to you:

Write your own one-paragraph endorsement of something that Gregory Wolfe has done.

  • Maybe it’s about an essay he wrote, or a book.
  • Maybe it’s about something you read or saw in Image.
  • Maybe you’ve been to a reading or an event hosted by Image.
  • Maybe you’ve attended The Glen Workshop.
  • Or maybe you know him as a friend.

Wolfe_TheOperationOfGrace.40574 copyWhatever the case, email your reflections to me at joverstreet@gmail.com. Tell me what Wolfe’s work means to you. Title it “Wolfe Book Giveaway.”

With the help of someone at Image, I’ll select three of those endorsements and send copies of The Operation of Grace to those who wrote them. And I’ll publish the endorsements that people contribute. (If you indicate that you’d like your contribution to be labeled “Anonymous,” that’s fine. I’ll respect that.)

Deadline: November 15.

Here’s what some world-renowned figures in the community of faith and art are saying about The Operation of Grace:

“These occasional pieces in fact add up to a marvelous whole—an erudite, provocative, whole, at time winsome and at times bracing. They are, in short, a gift.”
Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God

“Greg Wolfe has done something remarkable for both the Christian community and the fractured, fractious culture we inhabit in the North Atlantic world. These essays amply show how a theologically informed perspective can generate a serious, adult, joyful inhabiting of creation.”
Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury

“Each of these essays is an invocation—an act of summoning, a preparation for transfigurations yet to come.”
Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

“It’s tempting to read Greg Wolfe as a voice speaking to us from an earlier age, when faith and culture were not antagonists, but two sides to the same coin. This would be a mistake: the humane, intelligent essays in The Operation of Grace exist to remind us that that time isn’t past at all.”
Christopher Beha, author of What Happened to Sophie Wilder

“This new collection of essays — wise, acute, and compelling — is a bold and necessary dispatch from an essential writer.”
Robert Clark, author of Mr. White’s Confession

“Gregory Wolfe is to the burgeoning art and faith movement what Camille Pissarro was to the Impressionist movement — a central pillar, a wise teacher, an irreplaceable presence.”
Makoto Fujimura, artist, director, Brehm Center

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