pastoral integrity

Pastors: if you don’t own or have never read Eugene Peterson’s excellent book, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, then you should buy it as soon as you can and add it to your arsenal of books. It belongs in every pastor’s library. I bought it when it first came out: the year of my ordination, 1987. I read it every once in a while. In my opinion it should become a classic.

His three angles for pastoral integrity are:

  1. prayer
  2. scripture
  3. spiritual direction

These are the three angles pastors should be experts in.

If I’m not mistaken, there is only one place in the entire book that he mentions vision:

It is far less challenging to deliver a sermon than to develop the person who preaches it. It is far more stimulating to organize and administrate a parish program crisply than to live for weeks or months in uncertainty waiting patiently for clarity of vision.

I would dare say his idea of vision in no way resembles the visionary fervor in the church today. In fact, from the tone of the rest of his writings, such as when he expresses his appreciation for the American farmer and essayist Wendell Berry, one can only conclude that he advocates a far more pastoral ecclessiology than most would prefer today.

SHOP

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2 Responses

  1. Fred says:

    His idea of vision sounds like my idea of vision.

  2. Christine says:

    Sorry David, I think I need to side with Fred here. He has spirtual “direction” here in the top three, and in the quote talks about waiting on God for a vision for the church. Sound like he expect pastors to head for something in particular.

    I’d guess that he doesn’t address vision so much because he’s just taking it as a given. Haven’t read the book, though. That’s just based on your post.