Peterson, Eat This Book

I’ve been taking my reading a lot slower this summer.  So slow that I haven’t finished a book since like June or July.  I have like 5 of them on the go, and I’ve been doing some other projects that take focus, so the reading goes to the side.  Oh, and I actually took a vacation!

So, Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson was a sweet book for me to read.  The first section is about the Bible itself, and its narrative role in our lives.  Then Peterson goes into the prayerful method of reading Scripture called lectio divina.  Finally, the book ends with his reflections on translation and how he ended up translating the Bible into The Message version.  This section feels like Peterson is sitting down with a coffee and just sharing his thoughts and feelings unfiltered – it’s plain amazing.

Here’s some interesting material:

  • p.2, “Hagah is a word that our Hebrew ancestors used frequently for reading the kind of writing that deals with our souls. But ‘meditate’ is far too tame a word for what is being signified…hagah means that a person ‘is lost in his religion’.
  • p.6, “Barth insists that we do not read this book and the subsequent writings that are shaped by it in order to find out how to get God into our lives, get him to participate in our lives. No. We open this book and find that page after page it takes us off guard, surprises us, and draws us into its reality, pulls us into participation with God on his terms.”
  • p.39, “Farmers characteristically work hard, but there is too much work to do to be in a hurry. On a farm everything is connected both inplace and in time. Nothing is done that isn’t connected to something else; if you get in a hurry, break the rhythms of the land and the seasons and the weather, things fall apart.”
  • p.54, “Among those for whom Scripture is a passion, reading commentaries has always seemed to me analogous to the gathering of football fans in the local bar after the game, replaying in endless detail the game they have just watched, arguing (maybe even fighting) over observations and opinion, and lacing the discourse with gossip about the players.”
  • p. 67, “as we cultivate a participatory mind-set in relation to our Bibles, we need a complete renovation of our imaginations. We are accustomed to thinking of the biblical world as smaller than the secular world. Tell-tale phrases give us away. We talk of ‘making the Bible relevant to the world,’ as if the world is the fundamental reality and the Bible something that is going to help it or fix it. We talk of ‘fitting the Bible into our lives’ or ‘making room in our day for the Bible,’ as if the Bible is something that we can add on to or squeeze into our already full lives.”
  • p.160, “Mystery is everywhere. The Holy is pervasive.”
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