Thursday, February 02, 2006

Like Rich, Chocolate Cake

I am currently reading Eugene Peterson's book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. This wonderful book is like a rich, chocolate cake. You know the kind? You take a bite, and it is so rich and moist that you have to go slow, eat it slow, savoring every bite.

In the book, Peterson is trying to rescue theology from being a merely intellectual exercise in which people acquire facts and information about God. Instead, theology ought to inform us for life, compelling us to live in a way that reflects God and is worthy of him. He roots all of our lives in the life of the Trinity, which I love. His style is fresh, his insights fascinating, and his point compelling.

The book's title comes from a sonnet by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Here it is:

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself; "myself" it speaks and spells,
Crying "What I do is me: for that I came."

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is -
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.


Sandy Mc said...

I wish I could write my thoughts out...
When you quoted form the book: "Instead, theology ought to inform us for life, compelling us to live in a way that reflects God and is worthy of him."

That is what I have been trying to say to anyone who will listen. I have not spoken well enough to be heard much of the time though I have been able to cast this vision to people who know me. (only laity as it seems my language is not reaching trained leaders)

OK...making me even more want to go hear Casting Crowns in Fort Smith since they so often sing about the "real" application of the giving of our lives to God's purpose...*sighs* wish I could say it like they do.

Andrew said...

Peterson is one of my favorite authors. His writing is very refreshing and thought provoking. I'll have to check out this new one.

Anonymous said...

In his blog Hearts & Minds Book Notes, Byron Borger chooses this book as "Book of the Year". He also reviews Peterson's new book,
"Eat This Book: A Conersation in the Art of Spiritual Reading" Eerdmans. He indicates that Peterson has a new book coming out from InterVarsity next month. Eugene, keep on writing!!!!

jdub said...

This is how Jesus taught theology... experientially. More than teachable moments; its like life moments that God brings along to teach important theological facts about God.

My favorate instance of this is when Jesus calms the storm. Directly after that the discples worship him. God brought this storm on to show the disciples that Jesus was in fact God!