What others say about Dan's books
"I was handed Baptized We Live by a woman Lutheran pastor when I visited her church and asked for more information about what Lutherans believe. Wow! This book is sooo uplifting, happy, refreshingly un-churchy. If you can picture Charles Shultz's Snoopy reincarnated as a Lutheran minister and writing about what he believes in....you're getting close to what this book is like. My copy is 8 inches by ll and only 28 pages (more like a workbook in appearance). But turn the cover and you enter a pre-printing press monk's version of a multi-media event. (You have to open the cover to understand what I'm trying to express.) Erlander has hand printed, and hand illustrated all over the place, the entire book. He apparently writes like this all the time (he summarized the whole Bible this way and called it "Manna and Mercy: A brief history of God's unfolding promise to mend the entire universe"...also 5 stars). Who but the reincarnation of Snoopy would take on the whole Bible with one pencil and a ream of blank paper?
Erlander doesn't really write at all: he explodes in joy (illustrated joy). And in love, inclusiveness, acceptance, and in awe of God. Example: "God does not despise flesh. He dwelled in the flesh of Jesus and he dwells in flesh today. The ruler of the universe hides himself in the common, in the stuff of this earth. God lives in creation; He lives in all. Therefore, we see God in all..." (Erlander's note:) " 'Flesh' in this context refers to the human body--bones, muscles, organs, etc. and, in a wider sense, the material world. The goodness of matter is affirmed in Genesis l and, above all, in the birth of Jesus as God in flesh. When Paul talks about 'flesh' in Romans', he is not talking about matter but a will that is directed away from God. We need to understand the difference between these two uses of 'flesh' in order to avoid the unbiblical idea that matter is evil." And then further on: "We are Christians because God surprised us."
This inclusiveness extends to ecumenism as well: "We are catholic Christians, members of the universal and apostolic church, one family in Christ by Baptism. We pray for and work for the unity of the whole church on earth, longing for the day when the Holy Spirit will gather all Christians into a single body, a people who will be ONE. AS JESUS AND THE FATHER ARE ONE." But the words alone don't give a true idea of the book....the reader has to open the covers and join in the multi-media experience created from one pencil and one gentle mind that obviously has spent time laughing first hand with God."
Judith A., Washington State
You will never know how many people in deep struggle have been lifted and empowered by your joyful and delightful work (Manna and Mercy). You have been blessed with a profound gift for touching the centre of God’s wonderful design.
Methodist pastor, South Africa
I read Water Washed and Spirit Born in one sitting this morning and it is simply fabulous and inspirational. I’ve been a Lutheran all my life but I now have a new understanding and appreciation for the depth of its significance.
JH, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thanks so much for the clear, light, engaging ways in which you offer the gospel in your books.
Becca, Kittamaginda Community
When I asked the older kids in a grade 2-8 communion class if the book (A Place for You) seemed too young for them, I got a resounding “NO”! Even the parents like it and found it helpful.
I am very thankful for my introduction to Manna and Mercy; it has shaped me and my ministry by reminding me what God’s central focus is.
Pastor in North Carolina
A Place for You is a wonderful book – one I’ve been waiting for. Taking my children to communion is so special to me – I always tell them that this means “God loves you.” Now, I have even more words to tell them what this means.
Barb, Kenmore, Illinois
There is such delightful humor in your work – unexpected humor – God in Luther’s cabbage soup, the prairie dogs that keep popping up, Boo the mouse, finding Sarah, the crabby people, and roly-poly John XXIII.
Audrey, Deer Park, Illinois
My favorite non-fiction book would be... hmm... Probably the tandem act of Manna and Mercy/Baptized We Live by Daniel Erlander. Those books, with all their cartoons and cutting through the crap, got me excited about being a Lutheran again.
The Bible as manna and mercy: This understanding of gospel embracing both justification and justice permeates every page of Dan Erlander's book Manna and Mercy. The book's subtitle far surpasses Erlander's customary humility: "A Brief History of God's Unfolding Promise to Mend the Entire Universe." (Of course, he's speaking of God, not himself!) This book is a wonderful model for what I will call "full-gospel preaching." (I realize we Lutherans usually don't refer to ourselves as a Full-Gospel Church, but it may help us expand our vision.) Not content to speak only of individual salvation, Erlander begins with the whole universe. Gospel is not only mercy for sinners and outcasts but manna for everyone. The meaning of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is framed within the whole, untamable text of creation and covenant. This book is an ongoing conversation between the two testaments rather than a supercessionary line where the new overcomes the old. His attentiveness to the day of Pentecost includes all of Acts 2--from the gift of the Spirit to the sharing of property--manna and mercy for all.
Barbara K. Lundblad,
Currents in Theology and Mission, August 2003
I’ve just arrived in a new call and I was in the act of unpacking Baptized We Live and Manna and Mercy. I stopped to read through them for the 200th time. I hope to use them in classes here as I have in four churches before this one.
Thank you for writing good books about me.
--God (via Elmer)
All your delightful cartoon characters make one want to read on.
I appreciated your book, Manna and Mercy. It really touched me. I was moved by the words of encouragement that you offered and at the same time I laughed out loud at the humorous illustrations that were in the book.
Matthew, Oak Harbor, Washington
When I loan Manna and Mercy to friends, I remind them “don’t judge this book by its cover” because the simple home-spun look is deceptive. It is hand-written and illustrated by the author which makes it look like a children’s book. However, do not let the look fool you. There is solid scholarship behind the simple presentation.
-- Los Angeles Catholic Worker
In addition to containing transformative Gospel truth, Manna and Mercy is also loads of fun. A few of the more colorful fellows in our parish have “big deal” competitions – poking fun at the ways we all behave like big deals from time to time. Thanks for this marvelous gift to the Kingdom!
I finally got around to reading Manna and Mercy. Thank you! I like your approach very much. The drawings add an important lightness as well as communicating on their own. I like especially the way you focused on the majors and avoided getting dragged down into the minors. All in all, a fine summary of the Greatest Story.
—Philip Yancey (http://www.philipyancey.com/)
Thank you so much for the copies of the Pointless People. It is beautifully written and extremely powerful as is everything you write. Manna and Mercy has formed my faith more than any other book I have ever read and I am so grateful for your ability to share the beauty of the gospel is such a life-giving way. You have done it again with Tales of the Pointless People.
- R.G. Lyons
I have been teaching "grace" for decades. Doesn't mean I live it, much as I would like to. I just found this book (Tales of the Pointless People) about our attempts to outsmart God's grace. It's a wonderful gift, every single chapter, just like all of Dan's other books. It meets us at the critical places in our lives. Having Pastor Dan sign it, "Live pointlessly" was a true gift as well.
- Beth Orling