Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology
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Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2005 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Eugene Peterson realizes that within our seminaries, congregations and, most importantly, our lives, spirituality and theology have been estranged. Thus, in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places Peterson works to ground our spirituality in Trinitarian theology and provides an illuminating discussion of how such theology shapes spiritual lives. After sweeping aside the misunderstandings that hinder our discussions of spiritual theology, Peterson clearly describes how spiritual theology can remain sensitive to ordinary life, effectively present the Christian gospel and find its rooting in the "fear of the Lord." The foundational book in a new series on spiritual theology, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places serves as an essential resource for those of us who have committed ourselves to incarnating the Christian gospel in a contemporary context.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0802828752
ISBN-13: 9780802828750
Series: Spiritual Theology

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Publisher's Description

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places reunites spirituality and theology in a cultural context where these two vital facets of Christian faith have been rent asunder. Lamenting the vacuous, often pagan nature of contemporary American spirituality, Eugene Peterson here firmly grounds spirituality once more in Trinitarian theology and offers a clear, practical statement of what it means to actually live out the Christian life.

Writing in the conversational style that he is well known for, Peterson boldly sweeps out the misunderstandings that clutter conversations on spiritual theology and refurnishes the subject only with what is essential. As Peterson shows, spiritual theology, in order to be at once biblical and meaningful, must remain sensitive to ordinary life, present the Christian gospel, follow the narrative of Scripture, and be rooted in the "fear of the Lord" -- in short, spiritual theology must be about God and not about us.

The foundational book in a five-volume series on spiritual theology emerging from Peterson's pen, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places provides the conceptual and directional help we all need to live the Christian gospel well and maturely in the conditions that prevail in the church and world today.

Author Bio

Eugene H. Peterson was a longtime pastor and is professor emeritus of spiritual theology at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. His many other acclaimed books include Tell It Slant, The Jesus Way, Eat This Book, and the contemporary translation of the Bible titled The Message.,

Editorial Reviews

Logos BookstoresBest Theology/Doctrine/Reference Book (2005)
Academy of Parish ClergyTop Ten Books of the Year (2006)
Christianity TodayWinner, Spirituality (2006)

Mennonite Brethren Herald
"Any one of his latest three books is well worth its while, but Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, the largest at more than 300 pages, is notable for what it undertakes: a bringing together of biblical theology with lived spiritual life."

Pro Ecclesia
"Marked by intellectual and spiritual maturity, by an author moving sure-footedly through demanding terrain, discerning where the dangers lie and guiding us around them."

Christianity Today
"A tour de force in spiritual theology, combining incisive cultural analysis and biblical exposition with a sweeping and engaging vision of the Christian life."

Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Rich, generous, and wise, Peterson's 'conversation' will help readers at every stage of faith to live their faith more deeply."

The Living Church
"Peterson describes his book as a conversation. It is, above all, a conversation among biblical texts. Through clear language, he shines new and welcome light on numerous connections within the Bible."

The Christian Century
"Eugene Peterson keeps surprising us. It is hard to imagine where he will go next with his spiritual theology. . . His pen hugely blesses the church."

Christian Scholar's Review
"Christ Plays invites consideration, not as a text to be categorized, but as a discourse to be imitated. . . [Peterson] habitually counters spiritual reductionisms by calling his readers to historic Christian practices."

Circuit Rider
"Peterson knows intimately the rhythms of the local parish; possessing a background in biblical languages, he also writes with depth and passion about the scriptures and their connection to the human condition. This lifelong pastoral vocation, deepened with a sustained attention to translating the scriptures, has come to fruition in a marvelous new book: Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. . . Peterson is biblically coherent, culturally relevant, spiritually engaging. He is orthodox without being narrow-minded, critical without being dismissive, pastoral without being sentimental, evangelical without being joyless, scholarly without being pedantic. His style is conversational, and yet his subject matter is of utmost importance."

Enrichment
"Explores a biblical spirituality that works in the ordinariness of life while exposing the shallowness of contemporary Christianity. What artists do with color and sculptors do with texture and dimensionality, Peterson does brilliantly with language."

M. Craig Barnes
"Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places is the pivotal work on spiritual theology we have been waiting for. Eugene Peterson allows classical theology to make its own claims for contemporary spirituality. His particular genius is to reveal these insights by peering beneath the surface to speak of deeper, eternal truths for the soul as well as the mind."

Marva J. Dawn
"There is no pastor in the world that I trust more than Eugene Peterson, and this book offers us Eugene at his best — poet, storyteller, wonderer, biblical scholar, sage, practiced disciple, and lover of God. He woos us into exquisitely perceptive Bible readings, diagnoses the dangers of our common shortcuts, and immerses us in the community of those who live the truth of the Trinity in Jesus' way. This is a life-transforming and liberating book. I pray that many people will give it thoughtful, reverent attention."

Frederick Dale Bruner
"What would a spiritual theology look like that came from the hands of a person who, after a long and faithful pastorate crowned by a remarkably fruitful professorate, had been immersed in translating the whole of Holy Scripture? It would look like Eugene Peterson's Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. Completely free of gimmicks and cheap techniques, this book settles in convincingly at the center — in the God-honoring Sabbath of creation, the Christ-centered supper of salvation, and the Spirit-honoring meals of community building and evangelism. I believe this is the deepest meditation on spiritual theology in our time."

Timothy L. Brown
"In 1987 Eugene Peterson saved my pastoral soul. He did it with the ancient wisdom of Working the Angles. He is at it again with Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. Everything I know and love about Peterson, personally and vocationally, stands skyscraper tall on the pages of this book. His life and his obedience are as tight as a lug nut on a fire hydrant. Here is a single-minded book for the pastor trying to shepherd the flock through the hill country of postmodern moral multiple choice. Here is a book for the scholar and teacher trying to find a sane way to rejoin the severed body parts of theology and practice. Here is a book for thinking Christian believers who know, if only intuitively, that all the religious self-help books in the world will never help us to 'play Christ' in that world 'in ten thousand places'!"

Anne Svennungsen
"How refreshing! A spiritual theology that begins and ends with God — God's initiative, God's action in daily life, God's grace. Peterson is at his finest here, offering profound biblical and theological insight with the eloquence of a poet. Each page left me thirsty for more — even as I found remarkable refreshment in these deep waters of wisdom and faith."

Booklist
"In this first and foundational volume of a five-volume series, Peterson rescues spirituality from both its ancient connotations of cloistered monasticism and its modern contamination with self-help boosterism and neopagan recreation. . . . Richly ecumenical, Peterson’s reflections will attract Christians from diverse affiliations."
 
Choice
"The book flows with engaging examples and a delightful literary touch. . . . Highly recommended."
 

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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Life, Life, and More Life
    August 17, 2017
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    We picked raspberries a couple of weeks ago the free kind that grow along the edges of fields and in the company of thistles. They were succulent. I could wrap words around a description of raspberry picking: the gentle encompassing pressure that releases a perfectly ripe berry from its stem; the empty white cone that is left behind on the bush; the scratches on hands and forearms; the sticky red fingertips that carry home the smell of summer and bee-buzzing sweetness. But there is no literary technique, no class in horticulture that comes close to the essence of picking raspberries. For this, one must go into the bushes and experience life in the raspberry patch.

    This is the nature of knowing God as well, for Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, and to live from the heart what we know in our heads, we must go crashing into the bushes with the thistles, thorns, and mosquitoes. This is the message of this first volume (2003) of Eugene Petersons classic series of five conversations on spiritual theology. The term spiritual theology refers to the specifically Christian attempt to address the lived experience revealed in our Holy Scriptures and the rich understandings and practices of our ancestors as we work this experience out in our contemporary world of diffused and unfocused hunger and thirst for righteousness.' (5)

    Peterson borrows a theme from Gerard Manley Hopkins and expands upon it with engaging examples and sharp Scriptural observations that argue for this truth:

    The end of all Christian belief and obedience, witness and teaching, marriage and family, leisure and work life, preaching and pastoral work is the living of everything we know about God: life, life, and more life. (1)

    He goes on to support his argument through beautifully detailed exposition of three of those ten thousand places in which Christ plays and in which we all go about the business of living our days.

    Christ Plays in Creation

    Creations Firstborn invites believers into a life of wonder. The Greek word kerygma, a public proclamation that brings what it proclaims into historical reality, (53) frames the impact of His miraculous birth and sends readers looking to the two creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2 for help in shaping a Christ-following life. Firmly grounded in time and space, we find that the good news of Jesus life, death, and resurrection are also gifts marked by the sacredness of creation. Johns Gospel affirms in theological poetry (87) that Jesus was indeed at play in the Genesis creation.

    Christ Plays in History

    As creation points our thoughts toward life, history outside the Garden of Eden has been characterized by a series of deaths. Even so kerygma good news! appears in the midst of the mess because the death of Jesus redeems the mess of history and takes the edge off the truth that one day death will come to each of us.

    This conjunction of death, Jesus and mine, is where I begin to understand and receive salvation. (143)

    Peterson takes his readers to Exodus as a grounding text, rich in the history of Gods people, but particularly in the action of a holy (and often wholly inexplicable) God. The Gospel of Mark also deals in history, for with his succinct and economical style, Mark pioneered a new genre in which Jesus is the subject, but the content rather than focusing on the background, emotions, or internal dialogue of the main character is all about salvation, the redemption of every part of history: the worlds and my own.

    Christ Plays in Community

    If the birth of Jesus and the creation of the world ground us in life; and if Jesus death has redeemed history from the stench of meaningless death; then the resurrection of Jesus is the basis for a life lived in community. Jesus resurrection is the final kerygmatic piece that, together with his birth and death, sets the good news, the gospel, in motion and creates the Christian life. (230)

    The spiritual formation that makes community possible is the work of the Spirit, and this is nowhere more clear than in Lukes New Testament writing about the ministry of Christ and the early church with 17 references to the Holy Spirit in his Gospel and 57 in the book of Acts. In spite of persecution and imprisonment, Luke uses the word unhindered (akoluto) to describe Pauls ministry under house arrest. This irony minimizes the obstacles and invites present-day believers, who are constantly tempted to use the worlds means to do Jesus work, (299) into the unhindered life of prayerful obedience, hospitality, and submission to the means and methods of kingdom living. Perfection is the enemy of community and love is the fuel, a I John 4:21-style love that purg[es] [the] imagination of the barnacles, parasites, and grime that have accumulated around the word love so that Jesus and the Jesus story becomes clear. (328)

    Eugene Peterson and Gerard Manley Hopkins harmonize in the challenge to seek Christ in creation, history, and community and in any of the ten thousand places in which He plays. Finding Christ in all of life is the single unifying experience that brings wholeness to our theology and moves us toward a faith that honors the risen Christ and puts His resurrection life on display.

    //

    This book was provided by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  2. Crookedlegs
    Cashmere, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Immediately necessary for the long haul!
    March 21, 2011
    Crookedlegs
    Cashmere, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is an amazing work which will shake the reader to the very foundations of their ceribrial and experiencial intimacy with the Lord, with His Church, and with His creation. This is not light "bubble-gum" reading, but rather will cause the reader to intermitantly stop, contemplate, pray, and reassess our notions of Christian living in this modern day world with our relevant and loving God.
  3. Lori Mcgregor
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 22, 2010
    Lori Mcgregor
    Well written. Incredibly insightful. Spiritual theology is a much overlooked theology, but it is wonderfully practical while still recognizing the wonder of the Word and of God's creation.
  4. Ed Thompson
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    June 17, 2010
    Ed Thompson
    Excellent book. I have given two copies to friends to read with good results. This book is so interesting and full of fresh insights I need to read it again myself.
  5. Maurine Doyle
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 3, 2008
    Maurine Doyle
    The greatest thing in the world is to get grounded continually in The Word of The Creator of this world and Christ Plays in Ten thousand Places reaffirms in conversation where we are going and the Why and How as well. This book came to me at the perfect time, thank you Pastor Perterson for the dialouge and Rick McKinely and Rob Bell for introducing me to the works of Eugene Peterson.
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