Today’s guest post is by Diana Trautwein:
TELL IT SLANT: A CONVERSATION ON THE LANGUAGE OF JESUS IN HIS STORIES AND PRAYERS by Eugene Peterson
Third in Peterson’s stunning quintet of pastoral and biblical reflections, this book speaks to the heart of what it is we do out here in the blogging world: we use words. And Peterson is convinced that the 20th and 21st century American church has played fast and loose with a lot of them, most especially those found in scripture.
Breathe in this sentence: “Too often the living Word is desiccated into propositional cadavers, then sorted into exegetical specimens in bottles of formaldehyde. We end up with godtalk . . . where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”(pg. 1) YES.
In this volume, Peterson looks at how masterfully Jesus used story and prayer to teach truth. Jesus’s truth was not given in the form of neat facts but nestled in metaphor — he was a genius at telling it slant. Peterson challenges us to do the same.
AWED TO HEAVEN, ROOTED IN EARTH: PRAYERS OF WALTER BRUEGGEMANN
And speaking of truth-in-story-and-prayer, someone had the brilliant idea of collecting over 35 years worth of morning classroom prayers from Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. This book has been out for about ten years now and it is still one of my favorite go-to resources, for both personal and corporate devotional use. Brueggemann writes like a poet in these prayers, all the while thinking like a scholar. That’s a powerful combination!
FALLING UPWARDS: A SPIRITUALITY FOR THE TWO HALVES OF LIFE by Richard Rohr
Father Rohr is a deep and provocative thinker. I may not always agree with where he lands, but I never fail to be challenged and made to think more deeply about what I believe and why I believe it. This small gem of a book is one I recommend to anyone who comes to me for spiritual direction, primarily because he outlines here what I believe to be the primary ‘job’ of all us human creatures — to discover our truest selves as we go deeper in our walk with the Incarnate One.
It is only by going beneath the fears and anxieties of what he calls the ‘false self’ that we begin to strip way the things that encumber and limit us and find the space to live in freedom and peace. “There is a deeper voice of God, which you must learn to hear and obey in the second half of life. It will sound an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of ‘common sense,’ of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self. . . the true faith journey only begins at this point.” (pg. 48)