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A burning in my bones : the authorized…
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A burning in my bones : the authorized biography of Eugene H. Peterson,… (edição 2020)

por Winn Collier

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Título:A burning in my bones : the authorized biography of Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The message
Autores:Winn Collier
Informação:Colorado Springs, Colorado : WaterBrook, 2020.
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message por Winn Collier

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An ascetic is someone who eschews physical comforts in favor of a vivid spiritual life. Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian pastor whose books won him fame, fortune, and respect, was a modern-day ascetic. He sought to run his ministry and career in an attempt to live as a (Protestant) saint. He eschewed leading his church and his life like a business and instead favored a life away from the limelight. Collier’s biography – achieved with the cooperation of the Petersons – presents a picture of a man who was always learning and open to what God was up to in other people. It presents a picture of a man who did not hide behind simple dictates but sought to bring out the humanity in each person he met.

Although many might try to categorize this book as hagiography (admiringly telling stories of a saint), Collier explicitly tries to avoid this. He writes openly about Eugene’s failures, whether in family life or in the public eye. Others might expect a theological biography – that is, a story that attempts to extend an argument or position, much like Augustine’s Confessions sought to persuade the Roman world. Collier avoids this, too. What we’re left with is a well-told, intimate tale of the life of this sensitive man.

As mentioned in the subtitle, The Message (Eugene’s retelling of the Scriptures in modern English idiom) won him renown. In some ways, Collier’s biography represents the admiration of one philologist (lover of language) for another. In other ways, it represents an appreciation of one pastor for another. All of these categories -hagiography, theology, philology, and pastoral – inexactly fit this book, yet together, they function to weave a tapestry that tell the shared lives of Eugene and Jan Peterson.

Of course, everyone’s life and everyone’s book have their limitations. In particular, this storyline suffers a fate common to ascetics: It avoids in-depth social commentary upon injustices in the world. Critiques of race, class, and gender are largely, but not completely, avoided in the biography and presumably also in Eugene’s life. (Notably, however, discussion of the injustices of sexual orientation provided controversy in his later years.) This picture likely fits with the ascetic ideals of Eugene’s view of a pastor. He did not want to stir political controversy. Unfortunately, such a philosophy (which is common among ministers) also avoids metaphorically turning over tables in the Temple to build a better world.

This work will have appeal for American evangelicals who previously digested Eugene’s writings. It will have particular appeal towards moderate and liberal-leaning evangelicals who are not Biblical literalists. (Eugene was consistently critical of Biblical literalism and saw himself at the margins, not the center, of evangelicalism.) It might also have appeal to many American Christians who, like me, do not or no longer identify with the evangelical movement. Religious readers who dwell in pretentious certainty will likely not like this work as such did not define Eugene’s life, but people willing to live with ambiguities and imaginative opportunities will find a kindred soul. ( )
  scottjpearson | Apr 17, 2021 |
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