New Release from Author A. J. Swoboda

The Gift of Thorns

Jesus, the Flesh, and the War for Our Wants

Today’s follower of Jesus exists at a moment in history when our desires, longings, and wants are being weaponized against us by cultural, spiritual, and relational forces. “Follow your heart” and “You do you” has become our moment’s mantras. The result, for too many, is feeling torn asunder by the raging desires within. What do we do with our desire? What about our unwanted desires? And how do we cultivate desires which bring life and freedom and lead to Christ? The Gift of Thorns, by A. J. Swoboda, addresses these questions and more.

The path forward is anything but easy. It is assumed by too many in the Christian community that desire is in and of itself bad or dangerous and must be crucified for simply existing. Desire is demonic for some. But, for many others–particularly in the secular West–desire must be followed through and through. This side deifies desire. But these two options sidestep the joy in the great challenge of finding God in our desire. There exists an ancient and sacred way that is forged around the life, wisdom, and power of Jesus and his Spirit. In short, what makes a follower of Christ is not whether or not we have desires. Rather, it is what we do with the desires we have.

Near the end of the story of humanity’s rebellion, the theme of “thorns” is introduced. As readers will discover, the thematic repetition of “thorns” pops up over and over throughout the Bible. What are the thorns for? They will be, in the words of God, “for you” (Gen. 3:18). The premise of this book is that a world where we do not get all that we want is, well, the greatest gift ever.

Order

The Gift of Thorns is available to order in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. 

What makes a follower of Christ is not whether or not we have desires. Rather, it is what we do with the desires we have.

What makes a follower of Christ is not whether or not we have desires. Rather, it is what we do with the desires we have.

Study Guide and Streaming Video

Study Guide and Streaming Video

The Gift of Thorns Study Guide, a companion to The Gift of Thorns, dives deep into some of the hardest questions we wrestle with in the war for our wants.

Sessions and video run times:

1. God’s Desire (26 min.)
2. Human Desire (24 min.)
3. Satan’s Desire (17 min.)
4. Fleshly Desire (18 min.)
5. Waning Desire (16 min.)
6. Undesired Desire (14 min.)
7. Killing Desire (15 min.)
8. Nurturing Desire (16 min.)
9. Ordering Desire (19 min.)
10. Resurrecting Desire (15 min.)
11. Longing Desire (17 min.)

Order

The Gift of Thorns Study Guide is available in print and ebook formats and comes with a companion video series.

About A. J.

A. J. Swoboda (PhD, Birmingham) is assistant professor of Bible and theology at Bushnell University. He also leads a Doctor of Ministry program around the Christian Formation & Soul Care at Friends University. He is the author of several books, including the award-winning Subversive Sabbath and After Doubt. As well, he hosts the Slow Theology podcast with Dr. Nijay Gupta. He is married to Quinn and is the proud father of Elliot. They live and work on an urban farm in Eugene, Oregon with their dog Diggory. Learn more at ajswoboda.com