28 December 2008

processing: Eugene Peterson- Tell It Slant

This 4th (I believe out of 5) installment in Peterson's Spiritual Theology Series picks up quite nicely where the previous 3 leave off.

[previously: Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eat This Book, The Jesus Way]

The title comes from a well known Emily Dickinson quote, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant."  The subject is the conversational language, parables, and prayers of Christ.  Just this fall as I got the tips of my toes wet with Biblical Greek, I gained an appreciation and understanding for parables as stories "thrown alongside" (para- along side, ballo- I throw).  Peterson, like few I know weaves together, prophetic wisdom, scholarly precision, poetic license, and pastoral gentleness into a seamless teaching that brings you closer to the heart of Christ's person, teaching, and ministry.

Here are a few poignant excerpts:

"The parables are basic verbal defenses against disengaged complacency."- pg 68

"We do not become less needy, less dependent when we pray; we become more needy, more dependent- which is to say, more human.  When we pray we dive ever more deeply into the very human condition from which sin alienates us and Christ saves us."- pg 55

"...but however wonderful and accurate my early learning of glory, it was quite without rootage in my life.  And it is rootage I am after: rootage as I go to worship and to work, rootage as I read the newspapers and talk with my friends, rootage as I vote in elections and buy tires for my car, rootage as I get cancer and have surgery and convalesce, rootage as I accumulate birthdays and anniversaries, rootage as I write letters and read books."- pg 208

"Praying Jesus' forgiveness prayer trains our spirits in compassion, not revenge; in understanding, not irritation; in acceptance of a brother or sister sinner, not rejection of a neutered alien.  It also makes room for the possibility that 'they know not what they do.' More specifically that they do not know that they are hurting or defiling an image of God, that they do not know that they are defrauding or maiming 'one of the least of these who are members of my family' (Matt. 25:40)"- pg 247

"Misunderstanding and indifference are, like the poor, 'always with us.'"- pg 202

"And so-thanksgiving.  Not just for wildflowers and butterflies, for the moonlight on a blanket of snow, for the athletic grace and symphonic sound.  Thanksgiving is certainly appropriate for all that gives witness to goodness and truth and beauty, and so it doesn't surprise us when it is given under these favorable conditions.  But Jesus' thanksgiving surprises us.  Jesus' geyser of thanksgiving is honey in the rock."- pg 203

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