Eugene Peterson

In the current issue of Christianity Today, which is not even listed on the website yet, includes a Q and A with Eugene Peterson.  I have a lot of thoughts on what he has said.  Here are a couple of quick excerpts.

Christianity Today: Many people assume that spirituality is about becoming emotionally intimate with God.

Eugene Peterson: That's a naive view of spirituality.  What we're talking about is the Christian life.  It's following Jesus.  Spirituality is no different from what we've been doing for two thousand years just by going to church and receiving the sacraments, being baptized, learning to pray, and reading Scriptures rightly.  It's just ordinary stuff.
    This promise of intimacy is both right and wrong.  There is an intimacy with God, but it's like any other intimacy; it's part of the fabric of your life.  In marriage you don't feel intimate most of the time.  Nor with a friend.  Intimacy isn't primarily a mystical emotion.  It's a way of life, a life of openness, honesty, a certain transparency.

I would critique his answer just a bit, but after reading this my respect for Peterson grew immensely.  More...

Christianity Today: Repentance, dying to self, submission--these are not very attractive hooks to draw people into the faith.

Eugene Peterson: I think the minute you put the issue that way you're in trouble.  Because then we join the consumer world, and everything then becomes product designed to give you something.  We don't need something more.  We don't need something better.  We're after life.  We're learning how to live.

One more brief quote pulled out of another answer.

"The minute we start advertising the faith in terms of benefits, we're just exacerbating the self problem.  'With Christ, you're better, stronger, more likeable, you enjoy some ecstasy.'  But it's more self.  Instead, we want to get people bored with themselves so they can start looking at Jesus."

I think Peterson is adding a lot to the emerging conversation of the Church.