Sunday, December 04, 2016

Pencil Poised...Subversive Spirituality, Here I Come

I practically got shivers when I opened up my new-to-me copy of Eugene Peterson's Subversive Spirituality. 

This is a collection of Peterson's essays that I have loved, and returned to over and over, for years. For some reason, however, I just never owned my own copy. I would trot to the seminary library whenever I wanted it. And I would photocopy the essays that I especially needed to have on hand -- I know I've got copies of several of them stuffed into various binders and journals (I've come across them in the archaeological dig we've been going through as we pack and move).

I was placing an order for another old book that means a lot to me (the out of print Prayer and Temperament) on Advanced Book Exchange the other day. ABE is an amazing place to find bargains on older, used books. I've been wanting a return to some of the essays in Subversive Spirituality again, and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I could probably find a used copy very cheaply. And would you believe I found one for $3.65 and free shipping?

Granted, the copy is dog eared -- literally. The top right hand corner is bent. There are a couple of small tears in early pages, and a place in the opening chapter where it looks like someone must have had a paper clip for years. Those opening pages are a little worn and wrinkled looking, but the pages improve as it goes on (sadly, it looks like whoever owned it previously didn't get very far into reading it). But I don't mind the imperfections, especially because it has *no marks* -- no underlines, no highlighting, no nothin' of the sort.

Which means I get to mark it up. Oh happy me! I've got my pencil poised and ready, because it feels like I bump into something almost every paragraph that makes me say "oh!" or catch my breath, or decide I need to remember or to share. In fact, you may be seeing quite a few quotes make their way here over the next weeks and months as I meander my way through.

Just to get things started, here's a wonderful quote from his essay/lecture on the gospel of Mark:

"The Bible as a whole comes to us in the form of narrative, and it is within this large, somewhat sprawling narrative that St. Mark writes his gospel...Gospel is a true and good form, by which we live well. Storytelling creates a world of presuppositions, assumptions, and relations into which we enter. Stories invite us into a world other than ourselves, and, if they are good and true stories, a world larger than ourselves. Bible stories are good and true stories, and the world that they invite us into is the world of God's creation and salvation and blessing...Within the large, capacious context of the biblical story we learn to think accurately, behave morally, preach passionately, sing joyfully, pray honestly, obey faithfully."

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