The Pastor

If I were Eugene Peterson, I might have counted a book like Leap Over a Wall as my "life work." Or, certainly, The Contemplative Pastor. Or, say, his pastoral trio of Under the Unpredictable Plant, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work, and Working the Angles. Or--come on, now--The Message translation of the Bible, his translation of the Old and New Testaments into "American."

Given the accomplishment and success he has enjoyed as a writer (not to mention his respected stints as professor in several institutions of higher learning), he might be excused if he titled his memoir something else. But he called it The Pastor: A Memoir. Because, he explains, his calling and vocation are "pastor," through which his writing and teaching run.

Parts of The Pastor rang with familiarity to me, as he has related much of his story in earlier works. But it's all interesting and insightful, and informative for anyone with an interest in pastoral ministry. I especially appreciated these lines from chapter 36:
You are at your pastoral best when you are not noticed. To keep this vocation healthy requires constant self-negation, getting out of the way. A certain blessed anonymity is inherent in pastoral work.
Like most of Peterson's writings, The Pastor is an absorbing and thought-provoking book.

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