Run with the Horses

by Jul 21, 2016BLOG0 comments

I’m reading “Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best” by Eugene H. Peterson. Inspired by the fact that Bono said it was his favorite book. Bono and Eugene have become friends. Here is a peak at the first chapter. These are a few quotes that spoke to me.

“If you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5).

The American church seems to have lost its nerve. Leaders are stepping up to provide strategies of renewal and reform. If the sociologists are right, more and more people are becoming disappointed and disaffected with the church as it is and are increasingly marginalized. The most conspicuous response of the church at this loss of “market share” is to develop more sophisticated consumer approaches, more efficient management techniques. If people are not satisfied, we’ll find a way to woo them back with better publicity and glossier advertising. We’ll repackage church under fresh brand names. Since Americans are the world’s champion consumers, let’s offer the gospel on consumer terms, reinterpreting it as a way to satisfy their addiction to More and Better and Sexier.

“The gospel is not a consumer product; it doesn’t satisfy what we think of as our ‘needs.’” Eugene Peterson

“It is enormously difficult to portray goodness in an attractive way; it is much easier to make a scoundrel interesting.” Eugene Peterson

All of us have so much more experience in sin than in goodness that a writer has far more imaginative material to work with.

As a pastor I encourage others to live at their best and provide guidance in doing it. But how do I do this without inadvertently inciting pride and arrogance? How do I stimulate an appetite for excellence without feeding at the same time a selfish determination to elbow anyone aside who gets in the way

Insistent encouragement is given by many voices today for living a better life. I welcome the encouragement. But the counsel that accompanies the encouragement has introduced no end of mischief into our society, and I am in strenuous opposition to it.

“The counsel is that we can arrive at our full humanness by gratifying our desires. It has been a recipe for misery for millions.” Eugene Peterson

“The terrible threat is “that we might die earlier than we really do die, before death has become a natural necessity. The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after which we go on living for many years.”

“The terrible threat is “that we might die earlier than we really do die.” Eugene Peterson

Life is difficult, Jeremiah. Are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition? Are you going to retreat when you find that there is more to life than finding three meals a day and a dry place to sleep at night? Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God? Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence.

“It is easier to be neurotic. It is easier to be parasitic. It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average. Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling. I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny.” Eugene Peterson

“At the first sign of difficulty you are ready to quit. If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence?

“It is easier to define oneself minimally (“a featherless biped”) and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (“little less than God”) and live adventurously in that reality.” Eugene Peterson

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