Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Business of Making Saints

Eugene Peterson says, in a 2009 interview in Christianity Today called The Business of Making Saints

The problem was, I hadn't learned a way to live organically out of Sunday. I had two models, and neither could help me.

Where did you go for help?

I started discovering people who did it—Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Bernard, Newman, Alexander Whyte, Samuel Rutherford, a lot of the Puritans, and in particular, Dante. These became my mentors, my teachers, my professors. I lived with them.
We've got this wonderful history of Christian spirituality. We've got two thousand years of people who have been listening, writing, doing this. You're in a company of saints who have done this, and they've done it with great freedom and goodness.
These people weren't gullible. They developed a scent for sanctity; they were alert to the way holiness works, which hardly ever fits the stereotypes.
Some of it's an art, but if you live with these people through their writings, you develop the sense of proportion, a scent for truth.

How long did it take to learn pastoral care from these mentors?

After five or seven years, I realized, I can do this. There is a way to live as a pastor during the week that is congruent with the gospel I proclaim on Sunday. This is a pastor. This is what I want to be. I love this life.
I don't want to paint a picture that I got it all straight. It's not something you "get"; it's not like a diploma you can hang. This is a way of life in which you keep re-immersing yourself.

This interview was originally published 

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