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In The Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson, the translator of the multimillion-selling The Message and the author of more than thirty books, offers his life story as one answer to the surprisingly neglected question: What does it mean to be a pastor?
When Peterson was asked by his denomination to begin a new church in Bel Air, Maryland, he surprised himself by saying yes. And so was born Christ Our King Presbyterian Church. But Peterson quickly learned that he was not exactly sure what a pastor should do. He had met many ministers in his life, from his Pentecostal upbringing in Montana to his seminary days in New York, and he admired only a few. He knew that the job's demands would drown him unless he figured out what the essence of the job really was. Thus began a thirty-year journey into the heart of this uncommon vocationthe pastorate.
The Pastor steers away from abstractions, offering instead a beautiful rendering of a life tied to the physical worldthe land, the holy space, the peopleshaping Peterson's pastoral vocation as well as his faith. He takes on church marketing, mega pastors, and the church's too-cozy relationship to American glitz and consumerism to present a simple, faith-filled job description of what being a pastor means today. In the end, Peterson discovered that being a pastor boiled down to "paying attention and calling attention to 'what is going on right now' between men and women, with each other and with God." The Pastor is destined to become a classic statement on the contemporary trials, joys, and meaning of this ancient vocation.
“Eugene Peterson excavates the challenges and mysteries regarding pastors and church and gives me hope for both. This a must read for every person who is or thinks they are called to be a pastor and for every person who has one.”
-William Paul Young, author of The Shack
“If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!”
-Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline
“I’ve been nagging Eugene Peterson for years to write a memoir. In our clamorous, celebrity-driven, entertainment culture, his life and words convey a quiet whisper of sanity, authenticity, and, yes, holiness.”
-Philip Yancey, author of What Good is God
“A good book for folks who like pastors. And a good book for folks who don’t. The Pastor is the disarming tale of one of the unlikely suspects who has helped shape North American Christianity.”
-Shane Claiborne author of The Irresistible Revolution
“More than a gifted writer, Eugene Peterson is a voice calling upon the churches to recover the vocation of the pastor in order to experience the renewing of their faith in the midst of an increasingly commercialized, depersonalized, and spiritually barren land.”
-Dale T. Irvin, President, New York Theological Seminary
“If you are hoping to be a pastor, or just to understand what that is, get this book and soak in it for at least three full days with no distraction. It may save your life and make you a blessing.”
-Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy
“A gift to anyone who has tried answering the call to pastor, and to a church that needs true pastors. . . . It is a subtle manifesto of hope for our time.”
“Peterson found writing as a way to pay attention, and as an act of prayer. It’s our privilege to have his words, full of insight and truth. This book might be considered a long prayer for pastors.”
-Englewood Review of Books
“A book full of much needed wisdom that is written with eloquence.”
“Peterson is a master storyteller. . . . The Pastor is a profound and important meditation . . . serves as a necessary reaffirmation of the true nature of a calling that in current American religious life seems largely lost.”
-Religion & Ethics Newsweekly