A splendid start to a five-book magnum opus, this book makes an eloquent case for the integration of the transcendent and the everyday in the way we consider Christian spirituality. As usual, Peterson's writing is impossible to stop reading, although the structure of his chapters takes some getting used to. The biggest concern for faithful Peterson readers is that since this is in some ways a summary/foundation of Peterson's thought, and since there are four more books on the way, this book won't have the freshness and urgency of some of his previous works. However, this first volume will be a sine qua non for anyone interested in Peterson's body of work.
Eugene Peterson impressed me long before his world-wide fame with "The Message." Since one of his earliest books ("Run with the Horses"), I've been drawn to his combination of poetry, prose, power, passion, and personal honesty. In "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places," Peterson begins his "Opus"--a proposed five-volume set on spiritual theology. Spiritual theology, a common enough term in Church history, needs defining today. Simply stated, it is a theology of the spiritual life--what the Bible teachers about how we love God and love others (Matthew 22:35-40). As Peterson puts it, "The single most important thing to understand in spiritual theology is that it is not about theology ... it is a cultivated disposition to live theology." As the sub-title suggests, Peterson writes in his normal conversational, soulful, narrative manner, explaining and exploring the nuances of the Spirit. As always, his writing is "earthy"--real, raw, captivating, and convicting. In a day when Christian authors tend to write from extremes (either theology or spirituality), it's refreshing to see Peterson unite (reunite) the two. Not only refreshingits essential. An accurate understanding of spirituality must combine community (how we relate in Christ), content (what the Bible says about our relationships), character (who we are from the inside out), and competence (how we mature relationally) all in the context of Church history (listening to the voices of our ancestors in the faith). If youre looking for a "how to" manual, you may find yourself disappointed. That's simply not Peterson's style or intent. However, if youre hoping for a foundation upon which to build your spiritual life, then you can find none better than "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places." Reviewer: Dr. Bob Kellemen, author of "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction" and "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."