The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual DirectionA couple of years ago I came across a book called, The Contemplative Pastor by Eugene Peterson. I've read it several times since then. From this book, I've taken three words to shape the kind of person, the kind of pastor I want to be. Perhaps they will challenge you to rediscover the way of Jesus too!

The three words that have changed my life are:

  1. Unbusy
  2. Subversive
  3. Apocalyptic
We'll get to unbusy and apocalyptic later. I remember Mark Steele saying once that comedy is subversive in nature. I had to look up the word because that's the first time I'd ever heard it. For me it means something close to revolutionary or counter cultural. I want to be subversive and you should too because followers of Jesus are for the most part, out of place in western culture. For too long, people who follow Jesus have been placed on the shelf alongside other innocuous and irrelevant pieces of western culture. We live in a universe that is breaking down. Pain, disorder, and entropy are normal and I believe that the followers of Jesus are supposed to be the subversive presence of Jesus in our world. 

Jesus was subversive by telling stories that challenged the cultural norms of his day. I'm working under the assumption that pain, disorder, and entropy are our cultural norms. He called out leaders for hypocrisy. He challenged the Roman way of life with the kingdom of God. He stirred the pot, but not merely for the sake of controversy. He was hellbent on the rebuilding and restoration of His father's creation, and we should be too. 

How can we be a subversive presence in our communities that compel people to receive Jesus' love for them? If we are to convince them that there is a better way, how? The methods available to us are not political, militaristic, or big shows of power. How can our lives come close to resembling something that is even close to Jesus?

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