I’m only 41 pages into the book. I’m reading it slowly so that it will last. What I have found, whether it is eating or having sex, is that no sooner has the pleasure started than it’s finished. So I’m working on eating slower, loving slower, and reading slower. Three great pleasures in life that life would be un-life without are far to valuable to simply rush through to get finished. I’m reading Eugene Peterson’s book The Jesus Way slower than I read his Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places and Eat This Book. I have to read it slower because I’m not looking forward to another book release until July–four months from now–when The Deathly Hallows will be released. Discipleship, like reading, eating and sex, are better slower. And, honestly, discipleship cannot begin to be rushed, hurried, or one-clicked. There is no such thing as speed-dial discipleship and I think those preachers who sell it that way are losers who have not read the Bible or who have at least abused the Bible to their own ends, or who, really do not understand what Jesus said about discipleship being a slow, agonizing, cross-carrying walk.
This is probably why I am a fan of baseball. It takes a long time for the baseball season to start and an even longer time for it to end. 162 games is nothing to scoff at. That doesn’t include pre-season and some post-season. Baseball is the sport of the long-haul, the long-obedience, the long journey. Sometimes individual games take a long time. Sometimes one inning will take a long time. It’s not the face-paced back and forthness of tennis or basketball. It’s the slow season. It’s deliberate.
Peterson writes, “North American Christians are conspicuous for going along with whatever the culture decides is charismatic, successful, influential–whatever gets things done, whatever can gather a crowd of followers–hardly noticing that these ways and means are at odds with the clearly marked way that Jesus walked and called us to follow. Doesn’t anybody notice that the ways and means taken up, often enthusiastically, are blasphemously at odds with the way Jesus leads his followers? Why doesn’t anybody notice?” (Eugene Peterson, p 8, The Jesus Way) And he has much more to say on this subject on pages 30-35. (I think you should read this book and the two that preceded it.)
The way of Jesus is totally at odds with the way things are done in a lot of churches across America. My contention is that God has not yet considered us worthy to suffer disgrace for His Name. The church in America is languishing under the mis-guided leadership of leaders who do not know how to follow.
I hope to explore these thoughts some more as time goes on and as I read slowly through Peterson’s book.