Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

Eugene Peterson: A Pastor's Journey
Illustration by Jonathan Bartlett
The Pastor: A Memoir
Our Rating
5 Stars - Masterpiece
Book Title
The Pastor: A Memoir
Author
Publisher
HarperOne
Release Date
February 22, 2011
Pages
336
Price
$25.99
Buy The Pastor: A Memoir from Amazon

On a recent trip to England, I sat beside a young man who, when he learned I am a preacher, started asking questions with a noticeable amount of energy. He wanted to know if my church allowed me to marry and whether I thought women could preach. He asked how I get paid and what I do when I'm not preaching. This persisted for over an hour. Having grown up in a post-Christian culture, this fellow had a vague notion of what a pastor is but clearly had never talked to one.

In American culture, being a pastor is not enough of an oddity to start an hour-long conversation with a stranger. (More often than not, telling your airplane seatmate that you're a pastor is enough to ensure an awkward silence for the remainder of the flight.) Still, if you spend any time with pastors, even around here, it is clear our vocation is facing something of a crisis. Many pastors aren't sure how to describe their calling or explain why it matters to the rest of the world.

In the introduction to his new book, The Pastor: A Memoir (HarperOne), Eugene H. Peterson addresses this crisis head-on: "North American culture does not offer congenial conditions in which to live vocationally as a pastor. Men and women who are pastors in America today find that they have entered into a way of life that is in ruins."

Though the rhythms of his voice are familiar to admirers of The Message, this is not Paul or Moses or Jesus speaking in Peterson's contemporary American idiom. It is, instead, Peterson himself, attending to the text of his life—mining it, even, for some understanding of what it has meant to be a pastor. Unless you're traveling in Europe, the book probably won't leave any airline companions in a state ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only My Top 5 Books On Dating
Picks by Camerin Courtney, the author of "Table for One" and co-author of "The UnGuide to Dating."
RecommendedHenri Nouwen’s Weakness Was His Strength
Henri Nouwen’s Weakness Was His Strength
How a gifted, high-achieving spiritual guide learned to share his wounds with others.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Eugene Peterson: A Pastor's Journey
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.