I couldn’t resist the cheap pun, that I’ve used too many times for other of his rich books; Petersen’s Field Guides to Pastoral Ministry or Petersen’s Field Guide to the Psalms. I know, it makes you smile, maybe, but only once. Many know the original Peterson field guides—birds, bugs, rocks, flowers. Every family should have a couple, and Reverend Peterson, himself a hiker and birder, would say so too.
Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life isn’t exactly a field guide. It isn’t quick facts and figures, stats and pictures. But it does give the lay of the land, offering glimpses into a life lived with God, explained by a seasoned and discerning guide. I am teaching a Sunday school class on the book and find that nearly every single page is underlined, dog-earred; it looks shabby with coffee-stained and hand-torn napkin bookmarks and a couple post-it notes peaking out. So much of this is great stuff. It is rich, solid, provocative, elequant–in Peterson’s rather slow, down-to-Earth, no-nonsense manner. Like The Message he uses common phrases, not at all purple. This is, as said the other day, sturdy. Just like the resurrection he describes.
I can’t tell you how I’ve enjoyed this book—I’ve listened to the taped lectures from which the book was drawn several times and read the book twice, at least. Now, after Easter, would be an excellent time to use it in your devotional reading or in a small group.
Living the Resurrection makes a bold claim about how attentiveness to the bodily resurrection forms us in ways that help us live, really live—“before God in the land of the living” as the death-conscious, troubled Psalm 116 puts it. It is all about the spirituality of the ordinary, and how astonishment and amazement form the foundation for being open to the presence of God. There are three long chapters:
I do not criticize when I say that this book feels somewhat like a large and important parenthesis to Peterson’s majesterial Christ Plays in 10,000 Places, a book we were happy to name an H&M Book of the Year last year. It is arranged somewhat similiarly, with good theological anyalsis, guidance for spirituality in ways that are not overly flamboyant or manuevered (let alone manufactured), and important attention to the cultural practices that erode or deconstruct Christian spirituality. Resurrection wonder, meals and friendship must be reclaimed from an inhospitable culture that, in its speed and mastery, slides us away from an awareness of good creation and Christ-bought redemption. It is a wise and helpful approach.
Take a good look at the cover, too. Nice touch, eh?
Living The Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life Eugene H. Peterson (NavPress) $16.99