Dear Christ Church,
Outside the Holy Spirit, no one has shaped my vision of the pastoral vocation more than Eugene Peterson. His books, classes during seminary, and conversations with me over the past twenty years have been a prophetic voice, calling me to behold the particular wonder and mystery of every individual, and point them to the God who is already present and working in our lives. Pastors are sometimes expected to be CEO’s, entrepreneurs, community organizers, therapists, politicians, or entertainers. Sadly, we can actually build a church that rides on these skills, but without taking off our shoes, hushed in silent awe in the presence of the living God.
This month I had the joy of spending some time with Eugene and his wife in their home and then two weeks later, with some men who are deep and lifelong friends, to celebrate Eugene’s life and ministry in a twenty-four event hosted by NavPress. Now eighty-three years old, a model of lifelong discipleship, he talked about what it’s like to face the end with hope and joy. Such a humble man. Ask me, and I’ll tell you some of the stories.
I have some really good news about our summer invitation to give toward Deep Roots, New Season. On Aug. 21, the Sunday after our summer pledge day, we announced a total of $190,007 pledged. Since that announcement, we are now up to $259,007! Unbelievable. Thank you!
Lastly, let me commend to you two topics that we will be engaging in the next week. This Sunday, in light of our country’s attention to the value of work and workers (Labor Day), we will focus our attention on a Christian perspective of our own daily work. Then, Sunday the 11th, one of America’s most prolific theologians, Peter Leithart, will give a lecture at our Medina St. property entitled “Drawing Near: Ecclesial Formation and Cultural Transformation.” See details below.
P.S. The photo is Eugene Peterson preaching at my ordination at St. Clement’s, El Paso, Texas. I remember him talking about the call of the prophet Jeremiah, illustrating the mutual dependence between pastor and congregation, like ice climbers roped together in a glacial crevasse. Bottom line for me: I need you.