The Right Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright provoked some Christians when he offered a perspective on the coronavirus for Time magazine in an op-ed published under the headline “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To.” However, Wright argues in his new book, God and the Pandemic, that is simply not true. It’s just that Christians may be looking for answers in the wrong places.
Wright, a New Testament scholar, an Anglican bishop, and author of more than 80 books, said he had no intention of adding to his Time editorial until friends told him about the negative responses the essay was attracting.
“I wasn’t gonna say anything about it (the coronavirus pandemic) at all. I’ve got plenty of other work on the table,” Wright told Faithfully Magazine.
But it wasn’t long before Wright got the go-ahead from his publisher to extend his 800-word essay into a 90-page short book—God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath. Released June 2 and published by HarperCollins imprint Zondervan, God and the Pandemic quickly became a bestseller on Amazon. In “the little book,” as Wright describes it, the scholar makes his case in five chapters, under headings like “Where Do We Start?” and “Where Do We Go From Here?” He argues that in their search to make sense of the health crisis and loss caused by the coronavirus, Christians should look to the Book of Lamentations, and not the Book of Revelation, for answers.
In the following Q&A, Wright addresses the place of prayer and lament in a crisis, where hope can be found during uncertain times, and what he sees as negatives and positives about Christians relying on technology for religious practices in our new normal. The interview was conducted June 9, 2020, via Skype video. The transcript has been edited for clarity.