On keeping learning.

“I’ve been reading N.T. Wright the last few months. Three big books on the New Testament. I’m nearly done with the second, with the third waiting on the shelf. I’ve had them for four or five years, but just got around to reading them this summer. I think there is a fourth, on Paul, on the way. These hooks are absolutely magnificent. But they are long-each is seven to eight hundred pages. And so it takes forever to get through them. … I find him fascinating and enlarging. How one man can master so much material — and scholarly commentary — is beyond me. Staggering.” Eugene Peterson in Letters to a Young Pastor: Timothy Conversations Between Father and Son, p 167.

Peterson wrote that in 2007, when he was about 74. He was writing letters to his son about being a pastor, about caring for a congregation. And he’s more than 1400 pages into this theological writing and still going, still humble after his own vast catalog of writing that make me say, “How one man can master so much material…”

Retired and still reading, a teacher and still learning, published and still writing.

I read that this week and it’s been chipping away at me.

It’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to get discouraged. Peterson did. And he was committed to rest, to sabbath, to sabbatical. But he was also committed to learn for the sake of learning more of God.

I’m probably not going to pick up the Wright books. (I’ve got a decade til I’m Eugene’s age to start.) But his story is a reminder that we can keep being expanded, in worldview, in compassion, in understanding. Or we can keep shrinking. There’s a lot of it that’s up to us.