How much moral and ascetical theology is summed up in this title! ''Two convictions undergirded my pastoral work,'' Peterson writes. ''The first conviction was that everything in the gospel is livable and that my pastoral task was to get it lived. It was not enough that I announce the gospel, explain it or whip up enthusiasm for it. I wanted it lived -- lived in detail, lived on the streets and on the job, lived in the bedrooms and kitchens, lived through cancer and divorce, lived with children and in marriage.'' Accordingly, we are given a sensible, deeply perceptive biblical interpretation of Psalms 120-134 (the ''Psalms of Ascent''), punctuated by telling historical example and personal anecdote, directed toward what it means to be a disciple. It should be read by new followers of Jesus, for it is a perfect primer; and long-time followers of Jesus, for it is a perfect reminder, of the nuts and bolts of authentic Christian living toward God.
An Eighth Day View:
As a society, we are no less obsessed with the immediate than when Eugene Peterson first wrote this Christian classic. If anything, email and the Internet may have intensified our quest for the quick fix. But Peterson's time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same--a long obedience in the same direction. Tucked away in the Hebrew Psalter, Peterson discovered "an old dog-eared songbook," the Songs of Ascents that were sung by pilgrims on their way up to worship in Jerusalem. In these songs (Psalms 120-134) Peterson finds encouragement for modern pilgrims as we learn to grow in worship, service, joy, work, happiness, humility, community and blessing. This 20th anniversary edition ofA Long Obedience in the Same Direction features these Psalms in Peterson's widely acclaimed paraphrase, The Message. He also includes an epilogue in which he reflects on the themes of this book and his ministry during the twenty years since its original publication.