Introduction

If Eugene H. Peterson were not a Presbyterian, he might be a monk. His best-known books, from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction to Traveling Light to Earth and Altar, deal with the practice of Christian spirituality.

And Eugene is of a monastic demeanor. He is bearded, balding, and thin. He has a quiet, raspy voice that sounds as if it belongs to a man who has weathered many dark nights of the soul. His is the settled and serene air that comes from facing and overcoming our innate fear of silence and solitude, so that when he speaks, the coarse, gentle words seem to rise from a genuine depth.

But monastic demeanor aside, Peterson is a thoroughgoing Protestant, enough so to be pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He decided early in his work never to pastor a church composed of more people than he could remember by name. He and his wife, Jan, have been at Christ Our King, a congregation of some 300 members, for twenty-six years.

Beginning especially with ...

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