Eugene Peterson’s career as a pastor has been a living tortoise and hare fable.
In an age of emphasis on church growth, Peterson was “the contemplative pastor.” As the calling of minister morphed into the job of CEO, whose main task is to “run the church,” he renounced that role and sought to maintain the pastor’s singular vocation as one who gives attention to what God is doing and witnesses to that through face to face relationships in a local faith community. While the church ran to and fro, chasing the shifting winds of “relevance,” Eugene Peterson kept walking the old paths of worship, prayer, and conversation. When the church said, “fast,” Peterson went slow. When the church said, “big,” he insisted on small. When the church prescribed activism, he encouraged the time-honored practice of Sabbath.
Counter cultural, against the grain—now that’s my kind of pastor.
I want to be the tortoise-pastor when I look back at my ministry! I think I'll be adding this book to my reading list!