Thursday, March 1, 2012

Random Thoughts from Eugene Peterson


I watched a live feed from Q:Ideas For The Common Good this week Kitty at computerof Eugene Peterson speaking on subjects close to his heart.  Who is Eugene Peterson?  A scholar of Greek and Hebrew, a professor, a pastor, an author.  Check out his books.  These are thoughts I picked up from the feed, some might be close to exact quotations, but I claim no accuracy.  This is what he said, filtered through my brain.

  • TV preachers preach black and white and set up an enemy.  When you have an enemy, everything is black and white. But, the Bible isn't black and white; the gospel isn't black and white.   Sermons suffer greatly for lack of ambiguity.  It’s tempting to tell too much. 
  • Our fight is not against people (atheists or secularists).  Like Zaccheus, people outside the faith are up a tree; we must invite them in.  We can’t impose the story of the Bible on then; we must invite them into the Bible’s story.
  • God is the larger context, and the plot in which our stories find themselves.
  • The Bible is inerrant and infallible, but not literal.  Children take things literally when they don’t want to understand (don’t want to obey). 
  • Language cannot be translated from one culture to another literally.  It can be translated truly and accurately, but not literally.
  • Adding chapters and verses to the Bible tempts us to use it as a reference book.  We need to remove/ignore those when we read and get lost in the story.
  • Half of the Bible is poetry.  We must not miss the metaphor.
  • Pray the Psalms, and you are praying the prayers that Jesus prayed.
  • If you have to ask what Jesus’ parables meant, you missed the point.
  • Sabbath teaches us that we awaken to a world we did not make and to a salvation we did not earn.
  • Sabbath: time to pray and play.  If pray and play don’t work together, both are diminished.  Play is how we are restored, because it’s not necessary.  Prayer is the Holy Spirit breathing with us.  Learning to pray is learning NOT to do something.  God does it.  Prayer is a conversation; we need to listen to God.

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