A Pastor's Perspective

Eugene Peterson's Subversive Spirituality is a collection of articles, essays, and conversations published over 25 years in a variety of journals. An expected unevenness is understandable given the fact that it spans such a long period of time.

But much more memorable is Peterson's passion and his stunning insights as he explores "spiritual theology," which he describes as "the discipline and art of training us into full and mature participation in the Jesus' story while at the same time preventing us from taking over the story." This discipline and art is practiced as spiritual direction, which in its classic form in the church has almost always been subversive, in tension with the dominant culture in which Christians find themselves. Peterson describes spiritual direction this way:

...a friendship or companionship which enables another person to recognize and respond to God in their lives in detail, not in generalities....I must remember that I am a subversive. My long-term effectiveness depends on my not being recognized for who I am as a pastor. If the church member actually realized that the American way of life is doomed to destruction and that another kingdom is right now being formed in secret to take its place, he wouldn't be pleased at all. If he knew what I was really doing and the difference it was making, he would fire me. True subversion requires patience. You slowly get cells of people who are believing in what you're doing, participating in it.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1998
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