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The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction Paperback – October 22, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Reprint edition (October 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802801145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802801142
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peterson, now retired, was for many years James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. In addition to his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible, The Message (NavPress), he has written many other books.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is the best book I have read on Pastoral Ministry.
Nathan Headley
The insights on each page makes it clear that God is our Creator and that living his way gives us peace and joy beyond measure.
Emily A. Combs
It is easy, when reading a book, to "fall in love"with an author or the concepts he or she discusses in it.
NormP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Eugene Petersons reflections on the struggle of Christian ministry touched cords in my heart. The pain, the joy, the doubts and fears are explored as if we were talking with a fellow worker in the vineyard.
I wish I had read this book before entering ministry. Some of the dark times would not a felt so dark knowing that another had asked the same questions.
Practical, interesting and a refreshing book to read.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brian G Hedges on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Contemplative Pastor - the first book I have read by Eugene Peterson - is a helpful study not in sermon preparation or church growth strategies or qualifications for eldership (the kind of stuff I usually read), but on the pastor's heart and the pastoral art.
Peterson describes the term "pastor" with three unusual adjectives: un-busy, subversive, and apocalyptic (a chapter is devoted to each term), and then charts a course for shepherding people in the mundane.
Peterson's poetry is sprinkled through the book, concluding with numerous poems at the end. Unfortunately, his poetry is not all that good. To me, it just seemed like the throwing together of pretty words without much rhyme or reason.
But there are some jewels to be mined here - especially Peterson's job description for the un-busy pastor who devotes his time to prayer, bringing messages from God, and listening to his people, his meditation on "the middle voice" in relation to prayer, and his chapter "The Ministry of Small Talk."
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bess VINE VOICE on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first started reading this book, I thought perhaps it was a waste of money. There was no meaty theological discussion, just basic, almost simplistic spirituality. Then it occurred to me that as pastors we tend to get so busy and so preoccupied with the "meaty" theological matters and the more "advanced" spiritual issues that we lose touch with the fundamentals. Here Peterson offers pastors a slower, change-of-pace that is refreshing and renewing.
I especially appreciated his chapter entitled "The Ministry of Small Talk." There is a place in our busy lives as ministers to discuss more trivial things with other people. Through spending time conversing about smaller issues, we can make larger strides in relationships.
This book is the first one I have read by Peterson. I don't plan for it to be the last. If you are a busy, burdened pastor, it will do you good to read this insightful work.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are a pastor, thinking of going in to the ministry, seminary student etc. BUY THIS BOOK! Peterson's insights are just exactly what I needed someone to tell me 15 years ago when I entered the ministry. This is part of three or four books Peterson has written for pastors and if they have only half of the depth of this one they are all super. Peterson's books to pastors all have cumbersome titles but buy 'em, they're great. Worthy reading! The others are: 'Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work' 'Under the Unpredictable Plant' 'Working the Angles' Check this great pastor's pastor out. You will not be disappointed!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George VANPOPTA on May 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction, Eugene H. Peterson, Eerdmans, 1989, 171 pp.

Peterson, a pastor (though now retired after serving as a professor at Regent College, Vancover, BC), wrote this book about the pastorate and for pastors. In the first four chapters, he defines the character of a pastor. A pastor should not be busy. He should be active, in prayer, talking, teaching and preaching-but not busy. A pastor should do his work in a low-key way seeking quietly to effect biblical change in lives and community. A pastor in preaching and talking offers sacrificial love, justice and hope. He is not flashy. He wins no big battles. He prepares the ground and changes the mood a bit at a time towards belief and hope, so that when Christ returns, there will be a people waiting for him.

The pastor is a Minster of the Word and sacraments. This he must be and remain and not get caught up in the business of "running a church."

Surprisingly, the book only speaks about the Sunday work of the pastor incidentally. Peterson writes more about the rest of the pastor's life, character and work. In fact, the next eight chapters (100 pages) speak of the pastor's work between the Sundays. Here he writes about how important it is for the pastor to know his congregation, to talk and pray with them. He resolved never to serve a church so large that he could not remember everyone's names (when he wrote this book, he served a Presbyterian Church of 300). He writes about how important it is for a minister to be able to do "small talk" with parishioners.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Lowe at abi@xyz.net on October 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
I like this book! Dr. Peterson has a special knack of putting the common into the light of the extraordinary and the extraordinary into the light of the common. His musings on the "subversive" pastor are worth the price of the book. I read and continue to re-read this chapter. It inspires and motivates me to live out my calling as a leader fearlessly. Thank you, Dr. Peterson!
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