What Shall We SayThomas G. Long’s What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith has been named 2011 Book of the Year by the Academy of Parish Clergy. The award is given to the “best book published for parish ministry in the previous year.” Long is Candler’s Bandy Professor of Preaching and Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology.

In the book, published in 2011 by Eerdmans, Long explores what preachers can and should say in response to devastating catastrophes such as tsunamis, earthquakes, famines, disease and wars. These events lead Christians to ask painful questions: Is God all-powerful? Is God good? If so, how can God allow so much human suffering?

These questions, taken together, have been called the “theodicy problem.” Long reviews the origins and history of the theodicy problem and engages the work of other thinkers who have posed solutions to it. He also offers biblically based approaches to preaching on theodicy.

The award was presented in May at the Academy of Parish Clergy’s annual conference in Ohio. A previous book by Long, Preaching from Memory to Hope, was named by the Academy as one of the Top Ten Books for Parish Ministry in 2009.