Thursday, January 26, 2006

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

If you're looking for a good book on spiritual theology, you can stop looking. Eugene Peterson's Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places is his first installment in a five-volume Spiritual Theology (the 2nd volume, Eat This Book is now avaiable). The title, taken from a Gerald Manley Hopkins poem (who I recommend), reveals the universal yet particular focus of the work- Christ is everwhere to be seen, in all of life. Peterson writes: "The focused conviction expresssed here is that it is Christ, the God-revealing Christ, who is behind and in all of this living (p.3)." However, Peterson's approach is not radically Christocentric. Instead, he takes a deliberately trinitarian approach to spiritual theology, unpacking Christ and his relationship with the Father and the Spirit through three distinct movements/chapters: 1) Christ and creation 2)Christ and history 3) Christ and community. The thesis is simple; it's an invitation to join the perichoresis (~dance)of the Trinity in everything you do.

He begins by debunking popular notions of "spirituality," without throwing out baby and bathwater. He then moves into creation, history and community. I'm not finished with it yet, but so far, so good. At times, I wish the theological roots went even deeper, but he does a good job integrating "theology" and "spirituality."
In typical Petersonian style, his turns of phrases, vivid imagery and biblical-tehological thought blend together in a delightful read. It's the kind of book that's worth curling up with. It demands meditation, repentance, and worship.

Check it out or buy it, you won't regret it.


At 1:38 PM , Blogger Josh said...

Thanks for the recommendation. To be honest, I've avoided Peterson. And it sounds like it's been to my own detriment! I guess I threw the baby out with the bath water.

At 11:19 PM , Blogger Jason said...

Sounds good! I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on it. I've become more challenged to grow in my understanding and love and relationship with the Trinity this past year. Pleas keep us updated.

At 8:41 PM , Blogger jason said...

I am reading this right now. So far I agree it is really good. I love Peterson's writing. He has this mystic poet and novelist thing going on so you find many rich and deep images and illustrations piled on top of each other. Because of this you have to read slowly. If you rush through it you'll see some good stuff but it you take the time to slow down and drink in the images you will catch the beauty and richness and fullness of his reflections on God.

Peterson says that the words spiritual and theology need each other, "... for we know how easy it is for us to let our study of god get separated from the way we live; we also know how easiy it is to let our desires to live whole and satisfying lives (spiritual lives get disconnected from who God actually is and the ways he works among us. Spiritual theology is the attention we give to lived theology - prayed and lived..." pages 5-6. This stuff is near to my heart and I am being truly blessed by encounter Christ and learning to live the life God created me for.


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