One of the beauties of liturgy

One of the things that may confound some folks who wonder about me leaving the Pentecostal denomination I grew up in is how I go to a place that has liturgy. I mean, it “repeats” every Sunday! Where is the moving of the Spirit?

(Of course, no one actually asks me these things. Silence is the code these days.)

Continue reading “One of the beauties of liturgy”

We need the true prophetic voice again

“The prophets purge our imaginations of this world’s assumptions on how life is lived and what counts in life. Over and over again, God the Holy Spirit uses the prophets to separate his people from the cultures in which they live and to put them back on the path of simple faith and obedience and worship in defiance of all that the world admires and rewards.” — Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

We need the prophets again. Not only that, we need to pay attention once again.

The way of holiness

“But holiness is in wild and furious opposition to all such banality and blandness. We are introduced to it through the stories of the burning bush in Milan, the mountain on fire at Sinai, the smoke- and angel-filled temple in Jerusalem. We find ourselves in the presence of God alive, with life far in excess of anything we imagined. This God-life cannot be domesticated or used; it can only be entered into on its own terms. Moses and Isaiah walked out of those stories on fire themselves, energized for lifelong, life-giving vocations. Holiness did not make God smaller so they could use God in convenient and manageable projects. It made those men larger so God could give out life through them, extravagantly, spontaneously.”
— Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

I long for the Word Incarnate

“Too often the living Word made flesh is desiccated into propositional corpses and then sorted into exegetical specimens in bottles of formaldehyde. We end up with god-talk. T.S. Eliot put it like this:

Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word…
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
— Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

The congruent life

“The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence — congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between a ship and its prow, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh.” — Eugene Peterson, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

We have lost imagination in ministry

I have no sense of imagination. I will miss Eugene Peterson.

Peterson saw pastors moving from church to church, often in exhaustion, and identified the problem—a sense of pastor as program director for a church that often viewed the gospel as a way to success, or at least avoidance of suffering. His answer was a paradigm shift, but not the kind found in ministry self-help bestsellers.

“The paradigm shift is not accomplished by a change of schedule, attending a ministry workshop, or getting fitted in a new suit of spiritual disciplines—although any or all of these might be useful,” he wrote. “It is the imagination that must shift, the huge interior of our lives that determines the angle and scope of our vocation. A long, prayerful soak in the biblical imaginations of Ezekiel and St. John, those antitheses to flat-earth programmatics, is a place to start.” From this article.