Eugene was born in E. Stanwood, Washington, on November 6, 1932, and grew up in Kalispell, Montana. He is married to Janice Stubbs, and has three adult children: Karen, Eric, and Leif. Eugene has written and contributed to more than thirty books, including The Contemplative Pastor and Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity.
Although Eugene is best known in theological pastoral circles, several of his books, such as A Long Obedience in the Same Direction as well as the incredibly popular Message Bible have extended his influence to a much broader audience. He has been a regular contributor to magazines read by pastors and scholars as well as popular religious publications.