The Contemplative Pastor : Returning to the Art of Spiritual Director, Paperback

The Contemplative Pastor : Returning to the Art of Spiritual Director Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Any pastor who needs and wants to get back to basics will do well to absorb this book.

Eugene Peterson, who has been gaining a growing reputation as "a pastor's pastor", here speaks words of wisdom and refreshment for pastors caught in the busyness of preaching, teaching, and "running the church." The Contemplative Pastor highlights the often-overlooked essentials of ministry, first by redefining the meaning of pastor through three strengthening adjectives: unbusy, subversive, and apocalyptic.

The main part of the book focuses on pastoral ministry and spiritual direction "between Sundays": these chapters begin with poetic reflections on the Beatitudes and then discuss such themes as curing souls, praying with eyes open, the language of prayer, the ministry of small talk, and sabbatical - all with engaging, illustrative anecdotes from Peterson's own experience.

The book ends with several meaning-full poems that pivot on the incarnation, the doctrine closest to pastoral work.

Entitled "The Word Made Fresh," this concluding section is a felicitous finale to Peterson's discerning, down-to-earth reflections on the art of pastoring.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 179 pages
  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Christian theology
  • ISBN: 9780802801142



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The work of ministry is rapidly changing along with our culture. Eugene Peterson sensed the influence of business models, marketing, and gimmick on the church late in the last century. He takes us on a walk to consider our roles as Pastors and how we remain faithful to shepherding souls and teaching them to center on God. This book is an outstanding primer for any one considering the ministry, but would do every pastor good to reflectively take this journey with Peterson every other year if not every year. He is reminding us and calling us to remain faithful to the call to Direct souls to God!

Review by

Eugene Peterson’s The Contemplative Pastor introduces several ideas on how to have a rewarding ministry while addressing the tension between the expectations of the pastor and the role the pastor needs to have in ministry. Peterson proposes a pastor that is almost countercultural to the recognized idea of pastor. This view of the pastor both reaches back into the tradition for examples on how the pastor is supposed to live in the community of the church while at the same time providing a way to do that in the modern day church.

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