Let’s jump in with both feet.
I think The Jesus Way is Eugene Peterson at his best, doing what he does best. I’m no authority on his works, but I’ve read several of his books, and listened to twenty some odd hours of seminars he has done. I’ve enjoyed all of them and learned much from him. More than that, the way I think has been, to some degree, shaped by his words. And this book is one of my favorites.
Two things, no three. Three things…. Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements…(sorry about that). Three things stand out to me about this book as a whole.
First, Dr. Peterson calls this third book in a series of five on spiritual theology “a conversation on the ways Jesus is the way”, and that is the way it feels. Warm, easy …well, conversational. He’s a pretty bright fellow, and he’s been around long enough to know the lay of the cultural (both evangelical, and western) landscape, so he could talk over my head with lots of room to spare. But he doesn’t, he’s accessible, doesn’t assume a lot of prerequisite knowledge, and doesn’t talk down to me.
Second, he brings names on the pages of scripture and history to life. They become real people when he talks about them. David is no less a man after God’s own heart, but now he’s more man than legend to me. Herod’s ego and Josephus’ opportunistic ambition both become apparent as he tells their stories. And I understand them all better, and recognize their present day incarnations in the CNN/Fox News reports I saw yesterday.
Third, he makes me stop and consider what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. The theme of the book is, “Ways and means matter.” In a pragmatic world where the ends justify any means, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“The Jesus way wedded to the Jesus truth brings about the Jesus life. We can’t proclaim the Jesus truth, but then do it any old way we like. Nor can we follow the Jesus way without speaking the Jesus truth.
But Jesus as the truth gets far more attention than Jesus as the way. Jesus as the way is the most frequently evaded metaphor among the Christians with whom I have worked for fifty years as a North American pastor.” (pg. 4)
If we would be like Jesus, we’ve got to meditate on, and “enter into a way of life that is given character and shape and direction by the one who calls us.”
The Jesus Way is helping me do that.
More later, not gonna promise when.