If I may, I’d like to pause and appreciate the life and work of Eugene Peterson, who died yesterday.
Poet, writer, pastor and theologian, he probably isn’t a household name. But to millions of Christians around the world his translation of the Scriptures – The Message – has brought their faith alive.
He has always been high up on my list of Quiet Disruptors. Thoughtful people who want to affect the world, but do it differently. A Greek and Hebrew scholar, being a pastor wasn’t his initial vocation. But seeing how people didn’t connect with the Bible in their everyday lives, he started to go back to the original text to bring it to life for them.
And also with them. Engaging real people, with real lives, in the messy job of making sense of and reframing the metaphors that filled the text. This wasn’t an academic, literal translation, but a fundamentally different way of approaching the ‘all-to-familiar’ and lift it from the page.
The Message became his life‘s work. Along with other beautifully crafted books that enabled us readers to breathe in complex issues and absorb them into our bloodstream.
But he didn’t just talk and write about this different way of being in the narrative. He lived it too, with a gracious humility that infused his conversations – with God and people.
A full life, lived well with generous authenticity. Thank you