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Christian Wiman’s Work Against Despair

I love the Lord and he loves me.

I will not forget, and neither will he.

That was the poem that a seven-year-old Christian Wiman handed his pastor—during the altar call, no less. The young Wiman didn’t wait for a response or say a word, he just ran back to his pew. Soon after, the pastor published Wiman’s poem in the Southern Baptist Convention’s newsletter.

“I gave him a poem,” Wiman says on this episode of The Russell Moore Show. “That was my gesture of salvation.”

In the decades since, Wiman has wrestled with his faith, suffered from cancer, and continued to find meaning in writing poetry. On this episode, he and Moore discuss the poetry in Scripture, how Jesus engaged with suffering, and how poetry can help pastors in their preaching. They talk about why poetry can be intimidating, entry points for engaging it, and how poetry can reveal the joy in our lives.

Resources mentioned in this episode include:

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“The Russell Moore Show” is a production of Christianity Today

Executive Producers: Erik Petrik, Russell Moore, and Mike Cosper

Host: Russell Moore

Producer: Ashley Hales

Associate Producers: Abby Perry and McKenzie Hill

Director of Operations for CT Media: Matt Stevens

Audio engineering by Dan Phelps

Video producer: Abby Egan

Theme Song: “Dusty Delta Day” by Lennon Hutton

Only when we see how lost we are, we can find our way again. Only when we bury what’s dead can we experience life again. Only when we lose our religion can we be amazed by grace again.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Editor in Chief of Christianity Today and is the author of the forthcoming book Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America (Penguin Random House).