Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Practice Resurrection

The long-awaited, highly anticipated fifth and final installment of Eugene Peterson’s “conversations” series has arrived. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ focuses on the book of Ephesians, particularly on themes of church and Christian maturity. Peterson writes, “The human task is to become mature, not only in our bodies and emotions and minds within ourselves, but also in our relationship with God and other persons.” And what is God’s plan for growing His people in maturity? “Church,” Peterson explains, “is the core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that kingdom complete, but it is a witness to that kingdom.”

It’s easy to become weary about the church. We all can become frustrated and cynical when we read our Bibles and survey our congregations. If we’re honest, we need to include ourselves in that “mess” as well. While Peterson offers many challenges to the American church, he hasn’t given up hope. In fact, he thinks the church as we see her is exactly what we need to grow in Christ. He writes, “Maybe the church as we have it provides the very conditions and proper company congenial for growing up in Christ, for becoming mature, for arriving at the measure of the stature of Christ. Maybe God knows what he is doing, giving us church, this church.”

This is a powerful book, one that shouldn’t be ignored by youth workers, parents and (even) students who long to grow in faith and understand the importance of the local church. Highly recommend!

Here are the other titles in Peterson’s series, all worthwhile:

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology

Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers
(A CPYU Bookshelf Book of the Year Winner, 2008)

Be sure to check out a series of blog posts by Scot McKnight about Practice Resurrection.

The phrase "practice resurrection" comes from a poem by Wendell Berry.

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