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A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society Paperback – Special Edition, June 30, 2000
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"All of the marks of a classic--profound, timeless, life-impacting." -- Leith Anderson, author of Leadership That Works
"I've never read a book by Eugene Peterson that didn't stir and challenge me." -- Max Lucado, author of In the Grip of Grace
"Wonderful book, one of the very best guides to the Psalms! Peterson's combination of passion and insight match the psalmists" -- Tim Stafford, author of Knowing the Face of God
About the Author
Eugene H. Peterson (1932-2018) was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. He wrote more than thirty books, including his widely acclaimed paraphrase of the Bible The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language and bestselling spiritual formation classic A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Peterson was founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he served for twenty-nine years before retiring in 1991. With degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University, he served as professor of spiritual theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, until retiring in 2006.
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Eugene Peterson finds in the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), a cycle of songs sung by Jewish pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to worship, a wonderful parallel to the modern (and timeless) Christian pilgrimage. Each chapter is a meditation on one of the songs, and Peterson draws out the ways each of them show us an aspect of the Christian faith (Repentance, Providence, Worship) and how they relate to each other. (It is natural that the journey begins with repentance and ends with blessing; the rest of the sequence is just as intuitive.)
Eugene Peterson has a poet's heart and a theologian's training, but the former prevails. Others may be perturbed that he does not explain exactly why suffering exists in the world; I am grateful that instead he chooses to meditate upon the way that suffering is a central ingredient of human experience...."in suffering we enter the depths; we are at the heart of things, we are near to where Christ was on the cross."(134)
I enjoyed and appreciated this book not because it taught me a lot of new things, but because it caused me to slow down and reflect; to remember things I had learned, and see them with new eyes. Like the songs sung on the journey, it is not so much intended to impart new information, but to bring back into mind (and spirit) the old things, the ancient things -- the things that have the power to redeem us and heal us.
Throughout this interesting read, Peterson incorporates historical and linguistic insights without getting too theologically detailed. Peterson clearly demonstrates that a lifelong obedience is the only true path of discipleship to Jesus. This is a well-written book. The reader will find many gems throughout. In our instant culture that wants everything now, this book is more needed now than ever.
Thankful for Eugene's voice, I've gone deeper in my faith and learned a lot from his words and also how he encourages scripture reading.
One of my most favorite quotes from the book:
"The joy comes because God knows how to wipe away tears, and, in his resurrection work, create the smile of a new life."