The Pastor’s Study

In the introduction to his work on the book Job, G.K Chesterton makes this wonderful statement. The quote is in reference to the fact that God does not give Job an answer to his question, ‘why is this happening to me?’ But God answers Job with questions of His own concerning Job’s place within His creation which He rules with sovereignty.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.

G.K. Chesterton 

One of the characters in Bo Giertz’s classsic fictional work aptly describes confession of sin by one who knows well his own wretchedness.

I cannot even confess it. If I try to tell God about it, it is like dipping from the sea with a spoon– you get a bit of a wave, but the great deep is still there.

Hammer of God by Bo Giertz

This quote by Alexander MacLaren is in reference to Persian King Cyrus’ proclamation, which allowed the Jews to return and rebuild the house of the Lord. He is commenting on the contradiction by Cyrus, a noted polytheist, who extolls the Israel’s God as the God of Heaven.

Perhaps there is no region of life in which insincerity, which is quite often unconscious, is so rife as in regard to religious belief. But unless my religion is everything it is nothing.

                                  Exposition of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren

This wonderful quote from Eugene Peterson is in reference to the simplification of spiritual growth within “inspirational-testimonial religious writing.” I find this to also be true within the pastorate. Just as Peterson suggests that those who write such books are well-intentioned, I believe so are many pastors. Yet the trouble it causes is real nonetheless.

The stories are not honest. They are written under the direction of a market-oriented editor, not telling the truth of Christian conversion and growth, but to tell the one part of the truth that will appeal to the element of spiritual sloth in every Christian that wants to skip the hard parts of discipleship.

Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work by Eugene H. Peterson


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