Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Excerpts From Sabbatical

I found one of my favorite quotable phrases in something Eugene Peterson (as in the guy who paraphrased The Message) wrote, a Latin phrase, "irreligiosa sollicituda pro Deo," reported to mean a blasphemous anxiety to do God's work for him.

Eugene Peterson wrote the book The Contemplative Pastor, Returning To The Art Of Spiritual Direction for me. Well, maybe he did not write it specifically for me, but I do love this book. In the chapter on The Unbusy Pastor, he writes, "I (and most pastors, I believe) become busy for two reasons. I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. . . I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. . . I am busy because I am lazy. . . I take effort to refuse, and besides, there's always the danger that the refusal will be interpreted as a rebuff, a betrayal of religion, and a calloused disregard for people in need. . . How can I lead people into the quiet place beside the still waters if I am in perpetual motion? How can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule constantly to make everything fit into place? . . . If no one asked me to do anything, what would I do? Three things. I can be a pastor who prays. . . I can be a pastor who preaches. . . I can be a pastor who listens."

Sweet, piercing, words. Thank you, E. Peterson.