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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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But I don't think so. Unlike other popular modern Christian writings, I think you could spend a lot of time here! I've been chewing on this, off and on for a year and I still haven't digested it all. We have been using this in a weekly discussion group in our church for two years (going over it twice) and we are still at it. As a text for an adult Christian doctrine class you could do worse but Peterson requires some commitment.
This book is what you might call Christian theology for the rest of us - not for academics or divinity students who have their own needs & priorities but for lay people who need more solid stuff than they get from weekly sermons full of platitudes.
The more I read from (and about) Eugene Peterson the better I like him.
Download the sample if this sounds like something that might interest you or glance through the paperback at a Christian bookstore.
Anyone who follows Peterson's writing, knows that he can extrapolate critical context from scripture in such a way as to make you see things in the Biblical narrative that you never caught before. This keeps the Bible fresh and engaging and leads into an ever growing relationship with Christ. For a lot of people, Peterson is only known for his translation of the new testament (The Message), but I am of the opinion that it is his books like this one where he most shines as an excellent theologian and spiritual writer. I own The Message, but find it of very little use. As Bible's go, a good NIV study Bible is really all that is necessary for me.
The saving grace is that Eugene Peterson is an extraordinary thinker and centered on God. His insight in theology, spirituality, and even sociology is extraordinary. He weaves in and out of real life examples and biblical narratives beautifully. It goes without saying that he is incredibly gifted.
I just wish that this book could have been edited better.
Peterson style of writing is captivating. He paints a masterpiece with his words. It's not a theology textbook that is just some academic knowledge of God - though Peterson teaches you a great deal about God often things insights you may have never known. It is not a book about 'do this and then this and everything will be okay'. This is a book about the life of Christ living in us in ten thousand places and our being tranformed to live the Christ life. It is about the Spirit bringing life to us and our experiencing the glory of God among the community of believers.
He breaks down his book into three main chapters: Christ plays in Creation; Christ plays in History; and Christ plays in Community. Each main chapter focuses on two main passages; one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.
One thing that I have found myself mulling over and over again is Peterson's insight into how that Wind, Breath, and Spirit are all the same word [pnuema] in both Aramaic that Jesus spoke and the Greek that the NT writers wrote in. Peterson asks us to imagine how our perceptions would change if we used 'wind' and 'breath' when we thought of the word 'spirituality' or the 'Holy Spirit'. For me it has caused me to think differently about the Spirit prevading my life, my family, our church, the city I live in, the dark places of the world... the way the mighty rushing wind invading the upper room in Acts 2 or the way the breath of God invaded Adam and created life.