Eugene H Peterson : Impressive !

Eugene Peterson lecture at University Presbyte...  I am really impressed by this man Eugene H. Peterson...................he is a retired Presbyterian pastor , poet , scholar and author of some thirty books.

I find what he has to say very refreshing and  fizzing with the prophetic vision we need these days but grounded in simple language and real life.

Click here for an interview titled Spirituality For All the Wrong Reasons  from the magazine Christianity Today published in 2005 but  just as relevant  now.

Here are some more examples of his fine thoughts ... two questions and answers from an interview.
Q. What is the difference between what you are trying to do with spirituality and the kind of spirituality prevalent in mainstream culture?

Eugene Peterson: I am trying to recover a respect for the life of the Spirit that is revealed in Jesus and the Scriptures in contrast to a life that is defined by consumption and achievement, competition and psychological profiling.
I am trying to develop an imagination that is immersed in the operations of the Trinity so that I will not be constantly seduced into thinking that spirituality is a way of managing my own life and the lives of others, my life with me in charge with an occasional assist from the Spirit.
I am trying to practice a way of language that is personal, particular, relational, a language of poetry and parable and metaphor, a language that welcomes mystery and counters the bullying, propagandizing, sloganeering, cliched and abstracted use of language that dominates our schools, our workplaces, our media, and, sadly, our churches.
Q.  Why is it easier to talk about what Christians believe or what they do than how they live?
Eugene Peterson: We can talk about a belief, formulated as an idea or doctrine, without participating in it.
We can talk about an action, a behavior, objectively without engaging in it. But the actual way we live cannot be objectified or intellectualized — we are what we live.
The only adequate language is the language of prayer and of love, the supremely relational languages. They require our soul participation.
We can lie or pose when we pray and love, but usually not convincingly. It is a lot easier to stick with ideas or behavior when we talk — and, as a matter of fact, we can usually get along pretty well, at least in this culture, without risking the suffering and misunderstanding involved in using the language of prayer and love.

"The most important thing in his life was God - not comfort, not applause, not security, but the living God. 

What he did fear was worship without astonishment, religion without commitment.
He feared getting what he wanted and missing what God wanted. 

It is still the only thing worthy of fear.

What a waste it would be to take these short, precious, eternity-charged years that we are given and squander them in cocktail chatter when we can be vehemently human and passionate with God." 

Eugene H. Peterson ~ RUN WITH THE HORSES

Related articles
  • Great background on his life and insight into the man from here
  • A Conversation With Eugene Peterson from here
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Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Peterson has nurtured me over many years, especially in spirituality and pastoral practice. He needs to be more widely known among Catholics as he has a very sacramental viewpoint.

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Scott,
Great to have you visit and it is good to know that you endorse him to Catholics because I respect your views. It is fascinating to know the part he has played in your ministry too. I will have to try and get some of his books to read more. What I particularly like is that he manages to see through a lot of the rubbish that is being touted as spirituality and still come up with something genuinely fresh and worth listening to. !!