I was riding in a car with Eugene Peterson. He was driving.
I told him, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction changed my life. I read it 25 years ago. It has been shaping me since.”
(You’ve made that kind of comment to someone about a book or a blog post or a sermon.)
His next statement caught me off guard. “That’s why I put those questions in.”
I racked my brain. I couldn’t remember any questions in the chapters. I was afraid I’d been caught, that I didn’t remember the book as well as I thought.
After I woke up from the dream, I realized that there weren’t any questions in the book.
In my dream, as Dr Peterson and I rode together and walked around a campus, I couldn’t think of any questions to ask him. I couldn’t believe that he had come to visit me. Everything I thought to ask, I knew he answered in one of his books or in one of the several interviews and sermons and speeches available online.
That’s how I learn. I am unlikely to ask people, “How should I do this?” I learn better when I listen to how you have done it. And then I make the application myself.
I think I was dreaming about driving with Dr Peterson because I’d been talking about him a couple days before. I’d been thinking about reading mentors, about the kind of people that shape your thinking and living without ever having direct interaction. I realized that Peterson is the author that has shaped me most.
I’ll likely never meet him, never talk with him, never hear him face-to-face. But his approach to being a pastor, to talking about the Bible, to interacting with God influences you every day that you and I interact.
Past posts about Eugene Peterson
and an amazing interview with Eugene Peterson about writing and Bono and the Bible.