The Pastor

The Pastor

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“If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!” (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline )

“I’ve been nagging Eugene Peterson for years to write a memoir. In our clamorous, celebrity-driven, entertainment culture, his life and words convey a quiet whisper of sanity, authenticity, and, yes, holiness.” (Philip Yancey, author of What Good is God )

“A good book for folks who like pastors. And a good book for folks who don’t. The Pastor is the disarming tale of one of the unlikely suspects who has helped shape North American Christianity.” (Shane Claiborne author of The Irresistible Revolution )

“More than a gifted writer, Eugene Peterson is a voice calling upon the churches to recover the vocation of the pastor in order to experience the renewing of their faith in the midst of an increasingly commercialized, depersonalized, and spiritually barren land.” (Dale T. Irvin, President, New York Theological Seminary )

“Eugene Peterson excavates the challenges and mysteries regarding pastors and church and gives me hope for both. This a must read for every person who is or thinks they are called to be a pastor and for every person who has one.” (William Paul Young, author of The Shack )

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610451420
Publication date: 02/22/2011
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 6.11(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

EUGENE H. PETERSON is a writer poet and retired pastor. He has authored more than thirty-four books (not including The Message). He is Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver British Columbia. Eugene also founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air Maryland where he ministered for twenty-nine years. After teaching at a seminary he created The Message a vibrant Bible paraphrase that connects with today's readers like no other.

It took Peterson ten years to complete. He worked not from any English text but from the original Hebrew and Greek texts to guarantee authenticity. At the same time his ear was always tuned to the cadence and energy of the English spoken every day on the streets. He lives with his wife Jan in Montana.

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Pastor 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
ReadingRoom More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent memoir written by a great man. Eugene Peterson became famous after publishing his Bible translation "The Message". A pastor himself, he gives encouragement and hope to pastors, especially those who are finding ministry difficult. I really think that all pastors should read this book, but let's not stop there. I think congregations would benefit from this book as well, as it would give them insight into the pastoral role and will change the way you view and treat your pastor. This was a great book.
stephenNcollins More than 1 year ago
This book fed my soul. Peterson masterfully weaves his personal story together with wisdom to American pastors. The book revolves around a decision Peterson made when he first started pastoring to reject the "church growth" models that were gaining popularity and focus on discovering with his congregation what it meant to be a people of God formed by the Spirit of God. How that took shape over the next 29 years of ministry in the same congregation is a beautiful story for all pastors (especially young pastors) to learn from.
mojo_turbo More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book because I saw Eugene Peterson speak at the Catalyst Conference; and being at the very beginning of my own pastoral career, I knew I could do well with having some outside voices speak into my situation. And you could argue that Eugene is Presbyterian and I am not, that he grew up in a different culture and generation than I did and that the world of ministry looks very different today: all true. But, I don't know if that means that the role that the pastor plays is any different - and I think Eugene would agree. The Pastor is not so much a book as it is a story, what I mean is. it's a journey of how Eugene planted a church, grew a congregation, built a sanctuary and traveled through the "badlands" of ministry. And as a memoir goes, it had all of the things I was hoping for, funny stories about growing up and being a pastor, how he met his wife, the journey of starting and growing a church, some of his weekly practices, good books he recommends, and some really great biblical application. But to read this book is really to read Eugene's story, so it wouldn't be right for me to tell it here, but there are a few of the things that resonated with my own story: First, Eugene talks about the role of pastor being a vocation and not a "job." I've said it a million times, the job of being a pastor is one of the weirdest careers of all time. From the outside it doesn't look like any other nine to five on the planet. But Eugene would rather you think of it as a vocation. With a job, you can walk away from it, you can separate your work life from your home life, and certainly Eugene talks about having a Sabbath rest and "getting away" now and then - but a vocation is a calling - it's a lifestyle of living with a community of people. How does one do that? Second, Eugene talks about being a "contemplative pastor" and not a "competitive pastor." What's the difference? A competitive pastor is always looking to the next project, and is constantly "measuring up" their church activity and the spiritual growth of its members. A competitive pastor has an agenda; has goals and is pushing their way towards those goals. But in the end, these are still people's lives. and while we (as pastors) might feel called to "change people" and perhaps feel like a failure if people don't rise to the occasion, tithe more, become prayer warriors, volunteer, help, join in, memorize, or in any other way mature into the mile marker we have set for them. we have to be able to live comfortably within the space God calls us to. A contemplative pastor is a pastor who is able to be with people "without having an agenda for them, a pastor who is able to accept people just as they (are) and guide them gently and patiently into a mature life with Christ but not (getting) in the way, (by letting) the Holy Spirit do the guiding." page 211 And the life of being a pastor is finding the balance of merging these two things together - you and the congregation. Eugene talks about how this merging sometimes breaks. "I had been shifting from being a pastor dealing with God in people's lives to treating them as persons dealing with problems in their lives. I was not being their pastor. I could have helped and still been their pastor. But by reducing them to problems to be fixed, I omitted the biggest thing of all in their lives, God and their souls, and the biggest thing in my life, my vocation as pastor. I was trading in the complexities of
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Eugene Peterson's writings and find them helpful as a pastor. This book may surpass His others. He is a master with words that express great thoughts and theology.
shannonkearns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are parts of this book that I really liked. I thought the conversation about what it means to have a pastoral vocation and imagination were really helpful and interesting. I appreciate that he creates an understanding of a contemplative pastor.But I can't give this book a higher rating. Parts of it are repetitive. The same stories repeated with almost the exact same language. I was also left with a sense of unease throughout the book; One gets the sense that Peterson think quite highly of himself and not much of his congregation. He says over and over again that they are not intellectual, that they have TVs in every room and no books, etc. While this may be the case, the disdain he holds for this part of their lives is clear.I know that this is a memoir about him as a pastor, but one gets the sense that he was the only spiritual person in his entire congregation. That he was the only one who knew what he was doing or had any language to express it. There were also racially charged things throughout the book. Overuse of the word "gypped", talking about "Indians" instead of First Nations people, a couple comments about "the city", etc.Overall I was disappointed. I don't expect Peterson to know it all or to be holy, but I would hope that he would have some sense of his own shortcomings and that that humility would come through in his story. I didn't get that sense.
BradKautz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eugene Peterson has had an interesting career in ministry, to put it mildly. He stumbled into ministry as he was finishing an undergraduate degree in philosophy and literature. After seminary he began a PhD in Semitic languages, intending to have an academic career. While teaching at seminary and pastoring a church as he worked on his dissertation he sensed that God was calling him into pastoral ministry. He followed the call and planted a church, serving there for 29 years. He then went back to teaching, and along the way mixed in writing, producing a large body of what I¿ll call ¿really good books,¿ including the Bible paraphrase, The Message. In The Pastor: A Memoir, he takes a look back on his life and reflects on the things that gave it shape and meaning, particularly into that curious identity of ¿pastor.¿Peterson provides snapshots from each area of his life, describing things that in some cases he never considered having great meaning when they happened, but that were influential in shaping him as a pastor. As I read them I was reminded of things from my own life that have shaped me and prepared me, as I, like Peterson, move into a vocation that at one time I would have laughed if it was suggested to me.Peterson has most definitely not written a ¿how to¿ guide on being a pastor, and he would have a low opinion of any such book. He learned, through trial and error, that being a pastor is not a job but a vocation, a vocation that is best lived into as the pastor serves among their congregation, day after day and year after year. While not writing a ¿how to¿ manual of the pastoral vocation, as Peterson relates his own experiences I find that he does provide some general guidelines to foster a particular pastoral ethos among those who read this book. ¿Pastor¿ was not so much ¿what he did¿ but ¿who he was.¿ He did not ¿work¿ as a pastor 24/7 but his identity as a pastor permeated his life and relationships. He counted being a pastor to be a great privilege, writing, ¿But the overall context of my particular assignment in the pastoral vocation, as much as I am able to do it, is to see to it that these men and women in my congregation become aware of the possibilities and promise of living out in personal and local detail what is involved in following Jesus, and be a companion to them as we do it together.¿ (247)This is a book I highly recommend to anyone who has responded to God¿s call to pastoral ministry. I believe that no matter how much experience one has in ministry reading it will stimulate both reflection and possibility on their journey. I¿m looking forward to reading it again in a few years and seeing how the wisdom Peterson has written here speaks to me anew.
StephenBarkley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In my personal hierarchy of "Most Important Books I've Ever Read", two always rise to the top: Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis), and A Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster). Everything else suffers by comparison . . . until now. Meet the most important book I've read in over a decade: The Pastor.Here's why it ranks so highly:* Like Peterson, I'm a pastor¿this book resonates with my own experiences.* Peterson bucks the trends of modern Christendom in favour of authentic biblical fidelity.* Peterson is painfully honest, describing both failures and successes.* Peterson describes how the various themes that form his major books developed.* Peterson spends time describing how he wrestled with what he was called to do.* In the end, there's nothing better than hearing the wisdom of a seasoned pastor with an academic background.You know, that list doesn't seem so spectacular in retrospect. There's something about this book that I can't quite put my finger on yet. Sure, his writing is as poetic and lucid as ever¿but there's something extra.All I can suggest is that you read it for yourself. If you're a North American pastor, order it right away!
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