OK. I’ll confess. I’m a Eugene Peterson groupie.
Allow me to take you back to October 22, 2018. I remember the date well. My news feed announced that Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible and over 30 other classic books, had passed from this life to the next. An article released by Christianity Today, said it this way…
Eugene Peterson Has Completed His Long Obedience: The Message author’s family said he joyfully looked toward heaven, saying, “Let’s go.”
When I saw that banner headline and the corresponding picture of Pastor Eugene, I began to weep. And through the tears, my mind went back to 2008.
We’d just celebrated the 10th year of our church plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Things had been going well over the first decade. But now suddenly, just about everything that was going right the first ten years reversed itself and my church was facing struggles I’d never experienced before. Just about that same time I become so depressed and hopeless about the pastoral ministry, my pastoral coach suggested I grab a copy of Eugene Peterson’s classic book on pastoral ministry, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction.
Bingo. Exactly what I needed to hear at precisely the right time I needed to hear it.
From that season forward, I’ve become an avid fan of everything Eugene Peterson, even to the point of frustrating some of my friends! But folks, let me say it this way. When God uses a man and his writings to save your life and save the call on your life, how else should one respond? I, for one, will be forever thankful to Jesus for Eugene Peterson – this man used of God to help and encourage literally thousands of pastors like me who probably would have given up on pastoral ministry if it weren’t for his writings.
So, when I heard that Pastor Eugene, before he passed, had asked Winn Collier to write his authorized biography, I knew that this would be one book I’d be pre-ordering sight unseen. And to be honest with you, as I placed my order on Amazon, I assumed that no book about Eugene Peterson could ever touch me as deeply as Eugene’s own words had done.
But surprise – surprise! When I got my pre-release copy to review (thank you, Winn), I was truly mesmerized – not just because Collier does a fine job telling Eugene’s biography, but also because the God-truths found within Peterson’s story are solid biblical underpinnings I need to be reminded of on a daily basis!
Yup, if you like to read honest and true biographies of those godly ones who have gone before us, you’ll love A Burning in My Bones. But more importantly, I believe you’ll be challenged, like I am, to take those same spiritual components that made Eugene Peterson who he was and bring them into your life as well. I give this one five-stars. Thanks Winn, you wrote a true winner. I think Pastor Eugene would be proud to call it one of his own.
March 23, 2021, Iowa City, Iowa