Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Obedience has a history (Peterson)

Here's more wisdom from Eugene Peterson. This quote comes from Chapter 14 of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

Christians tramp well-worn paths: obedience has a history.

This history is important for without it we are at the mercy of whims. Memory is a data bank we use to evaluate our position and make decisions. With a biblical memory we have two thousand years of experience from which to make the off-the-cuff responses that are required each day in the life of faith. If we are going to live adequately and maturely as the people of God, we need more data to work from than our own experience can give us.

What would we think of a pollster who issued a definitive report on how the American people felt about a new television special, only to discover later that he had interviewed only one person who had only seen ten minutes of the program? We would dismiss the conclusions as frivolous. Yet that is exactly the kind of evidence that too many Christians accept as the final truth about many much more important matters—matters such as answered prayer, God's judgment, Christ's forgiveness, eternal salvation. The only person they consult is themselves and the only experience they evaluate is the most recent ten minutes. But we need other experiences, the community of experience of brothers and sisters in the church, the centuries of experience provided by our biblical ancestors. A Christian who has David in his bones, Jeremiah in his bloodstream, Paul in his fingertips and Christ in his heart will know how much and how little value to put on his own momentary feelings and the experience of the past week.

Let me once again commend this book! In my opinion it's must reading for 21st century disciples of Jesus.

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