5 Quotes from "Living the Resurrection" by Eugene Peterson

I started reading Peterson’s Living the Resurrection this morning and will most likely finish this evening. So far, it’s great. Whenever I read Peterson, I get this electric current running through me. I can’t explain it – this tall cool drink of electric sanity. Here are 5 sections I’ve vigorously underlined and marked:

1. When talking about Billy Sunday’s revival messages which were, “…fall on your knees, and receive Christ as your Savior. Then walk out of this tent into the street, get hit by a Mack truck, and go straight to heaven.”

“…it’s a wonderful formula for getting to heaven the quickest and easiest way. And virtually foolproof. There is no time to backslide, no temptations to bother with, no doubts to wrestle with, no spouse to have to honor, no kids to put up with, no enemies to love, no more sorrow, no more tears. Instant eternity.

Billy Sunday is an extreme case of what is more or less typical of the North American approach to the matters” Get it right, but then get it done as quickly as possible. Define your goal and go for it, devising the most economical and efficient means. As a culture we are great at beginnings. We set magnificent goals. But in the in-between, we don’t have much to write home about. when things get bad enough, we just make a new beginning, which we are very good at doing. Or we set a new goal or “vision” or “mission statement,” as we call it, which temporarily distracts us from what is going on right around us.” (10,11)

2. On the patience needed for “Spiritual Formation”:

“Spiritual formation is not something we master. It’s not something over which we have much, if any, control.”

3. On our need to make big pronouncements and announcements and the resurrection’s lack thereof:

“Given our accustomed ways of surrounding the important events with attention-getting publicity and given the importance of this event that’s a big surprise. Bright lights and amplification are not accessories to spiritual formation.”

4. On the need for wonder in spiritual formation:

“Without wonder, we approach spiritual formation as a self-help project. We employ techniques. we analyze gifts and potentialities. We set goals. We assess progress. Spiritual formation is reduced to cosmetics.”

5. The difficulty of it all:

“It is uncommonly difficult to stay centered and absorbed on our primary life-affirming, life witnessing work. We continue to perform the vast array of activities in work and conversation that I’ve listed, and more than that. but we are also under the continual threat of death, of becoming disconnected from life and people and god and just going through the biological motions – mouthing clichés and not participating in life itself.

This distraction and diversion is what makes for a crisis in Christian identity – a crisis current among us. Our basic connection to life is severed, and we begin borrwoing our identities from therapists and entertainers, CEO’s and politicians, pastors and teachers, men and women who appear to be on the frontlines and making a difference in the world.” 

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