“Prayer is subversive activity. It involves a more or less act of defiance against any claim by the current regime. . . . [As we pray,] slowly but surely, not culture, not family, not government, not job, not even the tyrannous self can stand against the quiet power and creative influence of God’s sovereignty. Every natural tie of family and race, every willed commitment to person and nation is finally subordinated to the rule of God.”
—Eugene Peterson, Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community
In the forward to Peterson’s book, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction, Rodney Clap quotes the above and goes to explain that Peterson’s call to subversive prayer ultimately produces subversive actions:
“. . . common Christian acts. The acts of sacrificial love, justice, and hope. . . . If we develop a sense that sacrificial love, justice, and hope are at the core of our identities—they go to our jobs with us each day, to our families each night—then we are in fact subversive. You have to understand that Christian subversion is nothing flashy. Subversives don’t win battles. All they do is prepare the ground and change the mood just a little bit toward belief and hope, so that when Christ appears, there are people waiting for him.”
Hi Carolyn, thanks for sharing these comments from Eugene Peterson, a man and pastor I deeply respect. Did you get these from a personal conversation, or can you share the context with us (book, blog, interview, etc) so we could look it up to read more?
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Thank you for asking. I had written these two quotes down a while ago from The Contemplative Pastor, but only the first part is Peterson. So your comment led me to add correct attribution.
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Nice quote. Like it. Parts of it sound like he’s thinking along the same lines the Bible Study I’ve been working on, on what the Bible means by “Loving our Neighbors,” changed my own thinking. BTW, Just finished “When Life and Beliefs Collide.” My “book review?” That may be the most thought-provoking book I’ve ever read. Excellent! Keep up the good work!” (And neat to learn you lived in Orlando too! We did from 1986 till 1993, when I worked for Martin Marietta.)
Thanks Pete! I’m beginning to think everyone lives in Florida at some point.
Thank you, Carolyn, for sharing these quotes! May they inspire more believers to Spirit inspired prayer!