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Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology Hardcover – February 3, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. One of Peterson's early books, long before his blockbuster Bible paraphrase The Message, was titled A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. This pastor, professor and writer has lived up to the promise of that title, consistently producing books of uncommon eloquence that explore the Christian life through the lens of scripture. In this volume, the first of a projected five, Peterson lays the foundation for "spiritual theology." Following the biblical languages, he asks readers to consider "how our perceptions would change if we eliminated the word 'spirit' from our language and used only 'wind' and 'breath.' Spirit was not 'spiritual' for our ancestors; it was sensual." Beginning with an account of Gerard Manley Hopkins's vivid poem "As Kingfishers Catch Fire," Peterson goes on to employ his own considerable gifts as a writer to uncover the sensual, concrete realities behind biblical texts from Genesis to Revelation. These nuanced and convincing readings help frame the three areas where Peterson sees Christ at "play": the beauty of creation, the tragedy of history and the beloved, bewildering community of the church. "The single most important thing to understand in spiritual theology is that it is not about theology... it is a cultivated disposition to live theology." Rich, generous and wise, Peterson's "conversation" will help readers at every stage of faith to live their faith more deeply. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In this first and foundational volume of a five-volume series, Peterson rescues spirituality from both its ancient connotations of cloistered monasticism and its modern contamination with self-help boosterism and neopagan recreation. No dogmatic catechist, Peterson invites his readers into a true dialogue--speaking and listening in turn--that opens up Christian spirituality as a lived reality. Though grounded in scripture and in Trinitarian doctrine, the spirituality Peterson would foster is deeply experiential, intensely felt as a growing awareness of both transcendent miracles and intimate connections. That growth comes not through personal achievement but rather through selfless submission to the divine presence, memorably described in the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem from which Peterson takes his title. Allowing the Lord to play in us, Peterson promises, will nurture receptivity to the wonders of creation as we recognize in Christ's birth the revelatory key to the universe and as we reverence the Sabbath as a weekly day of renewal. Richly ecumenical, Peterson's reflections will attract Christians from diverse affiliations. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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This book came into my life at exactly the right time.
i needed to be reminded that the Physical Church that i attend is filled with people just like me, broken from not knowing.
I grewn up in an era where it's not been a good thing to be Christian and all of what that means.
This has been deeply influencing the church for a long time now, as pastors and teachers fear telling The Truth of Father Son and Holy Spirit will not be looked on favorably.
Now we have a population of people starving for The Truth, unable to love or be loved because we haven't a clue as to what it looks like.
Mr Peterson brings it all back home, settles it down, puts it in words we can understand and do.
i've given this book to a few and they are strengthened to go love the unlovable and Tell The Truth and set others free.
In "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places," Peterson begins his "Opus"--a proposed five-volume set on spiritual theology. Spiritual theology, a common enough term in Church history, needs defining today. Simply stated, it is a theology of the spiritual life--what the Bible teachers about how we love God and love others (Matthew 22:35-40). As Peterson puts it, "The single most important thing to understand in spiritual theology is that it is not about theology ... it is a cultivated disposition to live theology."
As the sub-title suggests, Peterson writes in his normal conversational, soulful, narrative manner, explaining and exploring the nuances of the Spirit. As always, his writing is "earthy"--real, raw, captivating, and convicting.
In a day when Christian authors tend to write from extremes (either theology or spirituality), it's refreshing to see Peterson unite (reunite) the two. Not only refreshing-it's essential. An accurate understanding of spirituality must combine community (how we relate in Christ), content (what the Bible says about our relationships), character (who we are from the inside out), and competence (how we mature relationally) all in the context of Church history (listening to the voices of our ancestors in the faith).
If you're looking for a "how to" manual, you may find yourself disappointed. That's simply not Peterson's style or intent. However, if you're hoping for a foundation upon which to build your spiritual life, then you can find none better than "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places."
Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," and the forthcoming "Sacred Companions: A History of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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