Remembering Eugene Peterson

Christianity Today has 3 good articles about one of the few great Christians of my generation, Eugene Peterson, who recently died:

Ministry Lessons

Eugene Peterson Competed His Long Obedience

Eugene Peterson: A Monk Out of Habit

I guess his translation of the Bible called The Message is the biggest influence he had on me and my life, by far my favorite version of the Bible, but his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction ranks pretty high up there also. My spiritual focus for many years now has been on the spirit of God working inside me and in the lives of all followers of Jesus. It is where we find hope for this pathetically sinful world. Thus the title of my “spiritual page” on this site  “His Spirit.”

This Presbyterian minister reminds me in some ways of my favorite Catholic Monk, Thomas Merton, whose autobiography I am currently reading, The Seven Storey Mountain. They are real people allowing “His Spirit” to control their lives as they relate to virtually everyone as Christ would. In some ways it reminds me of my youth ministry days and the simple WWJD phenomenon (What Would Jesus Do?), only much deeper and almost mystical as we are led by His Spirit!

I worked my entire adult working life for Southern Baptists, the largest of the Evangelicals talked about so much today and experienced the spiritual decline of a church, denomination and the broader “Evangelicals” as they became political with a focus on power, money, and the control of other people rather than allowing “His Spirit” to work through them as the voices of Jesus. They seemed to have chosen a self-seeking Republican Party instead and their self-centered leaders. It saddens me because in earlier days I experienced His Spirit working through Southern Baptists. Now they give us Donald Trump and racist Republican leaders. It is one of the reasons I moved my retirement to Costa Rica to avoid such poison that now seems to affect a whole nation if not the whole world. Scary! We need more Eugene Peterson’s!

 

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