Who Are We Anyway?

I was given a copy of Under the Unpredictable Plant – an Exploration in Vocational Holiness as a Christmas present and read it over the weekend. I haven’t read many Petersen books and often found him on a different page to myself in many regards.

This book I enjoyed on many levels. It is not a difficult read – which is always nice! And it also says some provocative and challenging things – Eugene the prophet coming to the fore.

Essentially he argues that pastors are not to be Messiah’s (people who fix it all) or Managers (religious program co-ordinators) but to be spiritual directors – those who help other grow in their connection with God. I find ‘spiritual director’ a bit of a trendy term at the moment.

He laments the mess the church has got into as we have tried to be a religious service provider and the damage this has done to pastors who willingly buy into this paradigm of ministry. He calls us back to a much simpler, more intentional expression of community without all the bells and whistles but with a strong focus on helping people become more like Jesus.

If you’re a program management freak then you’d be advised to stay well clear of this book!

He has some great things to say about how the work of ministry so often leaves us as people who are hypocrites, leading others to a God we don’t know and rarely experience. He argues that a significant proportion of a pastor’s time ought to be spent God and then with people. And in that he is a big fan of long term ministry. Petersen has added the vow of stability to the other more common vows of purity, simplicity etc.

When I get a minute I’ll post a few quotes from the book.

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