A few days ago I wrote a review of Eugene Peterson’s book, The Pastor. Today I had the privilege of participating in a small gathering of church leaders in New York City who have come to be mentored by Peterson this Tuesday and Wednesday.
We’re discussing practices of spiritual wholeness: keeping the Sabbath, establishing a rhythm of prayer, living simply. These are the rituals of the Christian seeking God, and of God seeking his people.
I thought I’d share a few things that stood out for me today.
Peterson on growing up Pentecostal:
I was lucky to grow up Pentecostal because I believed that everything in the Bible was livable. I wasn’t concerned with whether everything was literal, but I believed it to be livable.
On the never-boring and intriguing vocation of pastoring:
The only time there was ever any order was for an hour on Sunday morning. As soon as the benediction had been spoken all hell broke loose.
On the a non-formulaic approach to pastoring:
Being a pastor is the most context-specific vocation that exists. You can’t simply copy techniques because you have a unique congregation and you are a unique person who has specific gifts, strengths, and callings. Don’t try to be someone else. I think we’ve got to be content to not do some things when we don’t know how to do them.
On what surprised Peterson most about Jesus’ prayers:
How short they were. They were so short, succinct, and punchy. It turns out that prayers don’t need to be long, but the prayerful life should be long and we should live a life of prayerfulness.
There is a lot more I could post here, but I just wanted to give you a taste of what we’re discussing. For those who are interested, one hour of Peterson’s discussion will be live-streamed tomorrow on the Q website.
I’ll try and do another post tomorrow or later this week to give a few more updates.