How many times does one have to restart in order to become regular at writing? I’m not even going to explain myself this time. I’m just glad I’m here with enough free thought to want to write. There has to be a little bit of margin in life if you’re going to write because you have to have owned your thoughts. It seems to me lately that everyone else owns my thoughts: work, family, all the busy things in life demanding immediate attention. So, in a bold and daring move of recovery, I’m taking them back! I’ll recapture the castle of my time and thought and begin here.
I am reading a book that will probably go on my list of “books that define my life”, you know, the kind that you would almost be tempted to grab if there was a fire. (Even if I could buy a new copy, all the times I’ve underlined and made notes would be lost.) It’s Eugene Peterson’s new book Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places. It is magnificent. The title comes from Gerard Manley Hopkins captivating poem, and the phrase comes from the last stanza:
I say more, the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is;
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes not his,
To the Father, through the features of men’s faces.
That title was well chosen because that phrase captures the heart of the book; Christ, the God who became incarnate into our world, the Spirit who dwells inside of us, plays in all places, in all parts of our lives, making every breath and every minute something sacred. Peterson says he wanted to write a book about “spiritual theology”, that is, our knowledge of God (theology) incarnated into lives that are full of His spirit (spirituality). I have loved how he has begun, taking stories from the life of Christ and noting the interchangeable use of the words “spirit” and “breath”, both are apparently the same word in Greek. His conclusion is that when we are truly living in Christ, we “breathe God”, every minute of every day. So now, he is going to show how that happens in Creation, History and Community.
This book (and most of Eugene Peterson’s writing) is a marvellous ballance intellect and captivating creativity. It is prose, but sometimes he gets carried away with his ideas and his writing comes near to poetry. I think this book could, as Anne of Green Gables says, mark an “epoch in my life”, if only because it calls me back so strongly to the glory of God lived out all around me.