Review: N. D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl

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5 out of 5 Stars
Author: N. D. Wilson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Reading Level: Easy

N. D. Wilson posses a rare combination of wit and wisdom. Those qualities sing in Notes. It’s a book with deep roots with boughs that reach into the heavens. Wilson describes the creation of the book:

Here’s how it happened: Philosophers of various sizes and shapes and flavors and ages crowded into the saloon of my skull and began throwing elbows to make some space. Poets and preachers piled in with them. John Donne said some zippy things about Kant, and the ancients wouldn’t stop snickering at the moderns. On top of that, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (that fabulously large Catholic writer) overheard someone making fun of Milton (it didn’t matter that the insults were all true).

Note the eruption. (7)

Notes is one part triumphant postmillennialism, one part spoke word poetry, one part theology, and one part philosophy. Wilson says he strives for “unity in cacophony” (8) and that’s exactly what he achieves. You have swirling and whirling, separate but unified, theological and philosophical memoir. A joyful exploration of God in this world and in our life--even the dark, dusty corners.

He begins with the metaphor of carnival and  the tilt-a-whirl. Appropriately reading it is like fighting through the crowd at a carnival. You might bump into this person, weave between that couple; you might laugh a little, stand gob-smacked watching some strange carni doing who knows what, or stand in line listening to a friend talk. You’ll likely bump into Nietzsche who’s dressed like a clown; you’ll weave in and out of the seasons, and stand amazed at God’s creative power seen through nature. And somehow it all fits.

Notes is just as likely to make you dizzy, awe-struck, or sick (in the best possible way). I’d describe my ride on the tilt-a-whirl in this way: once ended I sat awe-struck with God laughing like when you experience something child-like for the first time in years. And I wanted to ride again. It gave me a fresh vision for who God is and why he’s so beautiful and awesome. It forced me to taste and see. That’s rare in a book that’s so robustly theological. Read Notes for yourself, you might find something you’ve lost like joy or wonder at who God is.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”