If you read my blog regularly, you know that our Pastor Ken has introduced me to the books of Eugene Peterson, who is best known for the Message; I don't know him for that as well as his other books, but I think I favor the others. I had what you might call "pastor issues" from a string of churches we'd attended, and I have found that Peterson's books were very therapeutic for them; now, though, I like to read his books more just because I like his writings and can learn from them. Pastor likes his writing because Peterson too is the pastor of a small church, or at least was while he was writing, and understands the challenges and the true nature of pastoral work, which I think are very misunderstood in many churches. The first book Pastor handed me, he just wanted me to read the introduction--which was mind-blowing. I went ahead and read the book. I have read about 3 or 4 of his books since then. Lately I've felt at mental loose ends, I guess...not that there is really a definition for how I was feeling, but I think another of these books won't do any harm and might do some good! They aren't really just about pastoring. They're about faith, and in a way many of us have some "pastoring" to do in our lives, even if just with our children--and perhaps with our own thoughts, assumptions and attitudes?
So now, I'm starting Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness. I have high hopes for this book, not only because of the others I have read, but because this one is based on Jonah. I like the book of Jonah, because it's amazing and amusing and Jonah is so human. If you can't relate to Jonah, I don't suppose you can relate to me either. I have a tendency to wander toward Tarshish too much of the time. I have to admit, I've never been in the belly of a whale, but I have been in some pretty dark and stinky places, with no visible way out. And I can see in retrospect that God had me right where He wanted me then, too, and just as that unappealing whale's stomach was what saved Jonah's life, so were the dark and stinky places what saved mine--I came to Christ as a result of them. I'm sure Jonah's experience changed his whole outlook in life as well; he might well have even borne some physical reminders of being partly digested by a marine animal. I'll read the book and continue my report later. Just thought you might like to know the latest!