Saturday, September 22, 2007

Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work

"Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work" by Eugene Peterson is an attempt to re-imagine the Bible as a handbook for pastoral work. In the introduction to the book, Peterson argues that the pastoral vocation has been hijacked by psychological and social sciences of our time. Peterson feels that pastors have taken a therapeutic approach to their work which goes against a biblical approach. The book then walks through five books of the Bible (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther) showing how they inform pastoral work.

I loved Peterson's concept in this book. I think he is absolutely right that pastors need to immerse themselves in the Bible in order to get a sense of their vocation. Contained within the pages of Scripture are the way of life and the presence of God that can inform and transform. I did find the book to be a little scattered. I thought that his transition between the biblical story and pastoral work was cumbersome at points. His book gave incredible and creative insights, but those insights did not always fit together into a cohesive whole. I admit that this lack of coherency could be more of a problem with the reader as I have had a lot going on in my life lately and I have not been able to concentrate as clearly as I sometimes do. At any rate, this book was good enough for me to recommend to any pastor. The overall point of the book is important and well worth the price and time it will take to invest in it.


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