I love the Church. I have loved the Church for decades. The Church is the Bride of Christ, and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. As far back as my college days, people tried to pull me away from the Church, saying that the Church is dying. I refused to acquiesce.
In my years, there have been many who criticize the church (small c church), and not without good reason. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it is imperfect. But it is still the Church, when taken in all together.
Eugene Peterson’s study in Ephesians in Practice Resurrection is stunning. He takes this little epistle and shows us how it applies to the Church and everything she does (or should be doing). At the same time, he shows us how God works, both in individual lives and in the life of the Church.
There is so much good knowledge in this book that I will most definitely read it again, more slowly, more studiously. On the first reading, though, the part that hit me the hardest was his discussion of Martin Buber’s book, I and Thou, as he discussed the role of the Christian in family and workplace.
Buber came up with three different types of relationships. I-It, Us-Them, and I-You. Most people deal with relationships in an “I-It” mindset. Other people are objects to be used to my advantage. There are far too many of us who are trapped in an “Us-Them” mindset, especially people who claim the name of Jesus in our current culture. The only proper relationship mindset is “I-You,” personalizing people, not objectifying them. We even tend to attempt to deal with God in an “I-It” mindset.
Obviously, I can’t even begin to do this justice. Eugene Peterson has such a beautiful way with words, that any attempt I make to paraphrase them would sell them short.
I’ll leave this review with my favorite quote (so far) from this book.
“The extensive commodification of worship in America has marginalized far too many churches as orienting centers for how to live a more effective life for God.”
I could not agree more.