I have a newer favourite author. In the past, I have appreciated the writings of devotional writers like John Eldredge and Larry Crabb. I currently enjoy the theological writings of NT Wright and Scot McKnight. But one author who has made a move up my list is that of Eugene Peterson.
Even now, I’m finishing up his work The Contemplative Pastor. It’s only the third title I’ve read of his, but every time I engage with one of his books, I walk away a better man of God, a better pastor, a more focused human being in the image of our Father.
Peterson is wise, pastoral and very well-balanced. I can’t imagine people arguing otherwise. He has no secret ploys of how to grow your church, nor stirring slogans to garner earth-shattering vision. He is simply a down-to-earth pastor who’s passionate for seeing Christ formed in people. And it’s played out in his life of ministry for quite a few decades now.
In The Contemplative Pastor, Peterson lays out what it means to be a pastor – focused in prayer, focused on the people, and not on the busyness of all the other stuff that gets in the way. And I tell you, that other stuff certainly gets in the way much of the time. I so easily become a human doing rather than a human being. I’m doing this and that, dreaming up this and that, talking about this and that, going constantly. And Peterson always draws me back to the centre, back to being a shepherd of the sheep, stirred towards prayer. It’s those small, yet necessary, things in life that become foundational.
I’m looking forward to reading his book The Pastor at some point. And I could only heartily recommend his works. His words and thoughts become a cold glass of water to a thirsty soul.