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Tippett: Yeah, no it does. And, the ability to make the transfer from asking to listening is really profound.

The Bible, Poetry, and Active Imagination

I remember a conversation I had when I was a pastor. You see you can stretch it out tight, and everything starts to fit. This is what you need. Just take one of these Psalms and just let your mind stretch around it. And see what happens. Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? Why did you dump me miles from nowhere? Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. I keep at it all night, tossing and turning. Tippett: You can listen again and share my conversation with Eugene Peterson through our website, onbeing. His literary biblical imagination has formed generations of pastors, teachers, and lay seekers.

Tippett: You say that the Psalms train us in the conversation with God that is prayer. Tippett: How — what is your practice of, I mean, so there is this traditional practice in Christianity of praying the Psalms, just praying through the Psalms. Do you have that kind of — have you had that kind of practice in your life? Or how do you work with the Psalms in your personal spiritual life? Peterson: But for years I have — the first thing in the morning, I have about an hour of just quiet and coffee. And I memorized them. Tippett: When you say all these things, do you mean all the different moves, all the different moves that a Psalm makes from praise to fury to desolation?

Peterson: Right. But then with an imagination, they start to fit together. And then Psalm 18 is a Psalm just full of metaphor. And on the just — I do seven of those. And so, then — you want to know the whole story? Peterson: And I just breathe deeply and for another 15, 20, 25 minutes, just try to empty myself of everything. And I did that myself. I just figured out what I seemed possible to do, and I did it. But, when I was a pastor, I would spend time with people figuring out what to do. Tippett: …find their whatever their seven Psalms might be or their equivalent….

And I think one of the things you talk about is that the honesty of the Psalms, that bringing every possible human, everything human, before God, which even lectionaries, I mean, even official Christian texts have often shied away from, or edited out, the cursing, the imprecatory Psalms. Tippett: But for you, that honesty, about the human condition, is absolutely at the heart of what is necessary about the Psalms. It is. I was in conversation with Bono just two months ago.

Not just the Psalms, but the stories. Tippett: I know that you will be aware of this, too, that at this particular moment in history there is some sense that these kinds of passages and imagery in the Bible are part of what is dangerous about the Bible in the world. Peterson: Well, I think people need to be given permission to do it, to find a language of hate, disappointment, retaliation, and get that out. People who are — repress all those emotions often get sick, depressed.

Peterson: It is, yeah. But the poets and the writers that use writing as a way of conveying truth rather than just entertaining people. I used to when I was a pastor, I just — I used to get a pile of books, the same book, like 10 or 20 or 30 books, and buy them, and put them in the narthex, and ask people to pick it up and read it. Peterson: Well, Charles dinkens is one. Tippett: Yeah, and most people would not think of Charles dinkens as Christian reading. Peterson: Well, he enters into the life of these poor people, and bad people, and stupid people, and makes them come alive.

And then you do. And then you know you did it. Wallace Stegner I think is one of the — one of our most healthy novelists. And my wife and I have — we often, in the evenings, we read a book aloud. What, at this stage in your life, like, what continues to perplex you? What do you not have answers for that you would like to have more answers for? I forget things a lot. I misplace things and I used to get angry with myself.

This is a way a lot of the world is living is that…. Peterson: Just enjoy it. And having a family helps. Here are some lines from his memoir, The Pastor. But I carry out this work in conditions — place and time. But not just any place, not just a location marked on a road map, but on a topo, a topographic map — with named mountains and rivers, identified wildflowers and forests, elevation above sea level and annual rainfall.

I do all my work on this ground. I do not levitate. But not just time in general, abstracted to a geometric grid on a calendar or numbers on a clock face but what the Greeks named kairos, pregnancy time, being present to the Presence. I never know what is coming next. Tippett: And I want to know how you hear that, respond to it, what you think of it. Well, people are breathing all over the place.

Devotionals Find an Expanded Audience

And that just wrecks havoc with the whole thing. You are too.


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Tippett: …with a very robust intellectual life, a love of ideas, a love of the rigor of the text and the teachings. Has that been something you felt you had to balance? Has it been a creative tension? And that also makes you different than the way a lot of people live with this part of their lives, and in fact, are equipped. I always loved good books. Loved writers. Tippett: [ laughs ] There you go contradicting yourself. And I just wonder if other words, if words themselves, even the word God become too small after 83 years of pondering and grappling with the immensity of the reality, and who God might be.

Peterson: I pretty much am very circumspect about using it. Tippett: [ laughs ] Right.

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Well, say, just say a little bit about that. Peterson: Well, the people who use the word Christianity mostly are thinking of an institution. Tippett: Exactly. I mean, your life and your writing is passionately interwoven with this enterprise, this aspiration of church. We go to a small church. Peterson: And my usual question, my usual answer was go to the closest church where you live, and the smallest. Thank you so much for creating a wonderful way to start the day! I love this devotional doodle book. What a wonderful way to remember how much our Lord loves us!

July 20, Sadia Khan. Thank you for sharing light. June 25, MarinaB. Great for the Family! When I first saw this product online, I immediately thought of all the families around me that would have a blast with this.


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The momma loved the content and easy to grasp topics with Biblical truths. The kids, aged , loved the doodling activities and journaling prompts. It would be good for a personal or family devotion time. Everyone had fun and good discussions took place! June 23, Becca. Great devotional to help you journal in your Bible When I first signed up to review this book, I did not realize that I was embarking in such a wonderful devotional.

Both kids and adults can really enjoy getting into the Bible by reading the devotional, Bible verse and working on the doodle suggested in each one. I will mention that I was given this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and ideas in this review are my own. After a little bit of time looking over this book, I must say that I love it. I didn't realize how much that I would want to look up the names of God until after I read the devotional titled, "Names of God.

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Almighty, God, Prince of Peace and others were running through my mind. I then decided to see if I could dig even deeper and do a search of the names.

I came up with a few more names and was able to draw the names in different ways. I even wanted to add it to my Illustrating Bible to show what verse that it went to. There are a few pages where I was amazed that I was able to draw from the prompts. I've noticed that when I am working in my Bible and either drawing or making something unique, it helps me to remember the Bible verse. It's a great way to put a picture to the verse, which can help kids as well as adults. The pages give you enough room to write your thoughts to journal about the devotional. You can write a prayer as well.

If you've always wanted to start Bible journaling, this would be a great book to purchase to practice before you decide to work in your Bible. The back of the book also gives you some pages for notes as well as some watercolor-looking doodles. I feel that this is a great book to get you into the Word of God. There are 90 devotionals, along with a Bible verse and plenty of space on the page to draw and journal.

Devotionals Find an Expanded Audience

It is an amazing book that i feel could be for an adult or a child. This would be great for families to do the devotionals together.


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  6. June 23, Julie. Just Perfect This Doodle book is right up my alley. I love the prompts , and pictures. Exiles will bless inmates and free-world people alike, making its way into both kinds of prisons spiritual and physical something we all know well. Each page of this devotional book represents a day in the calendar year and includes a verse or two of Scripture, three to four short paragraphs about the Scripture applicable to a prison context, then a brief listing for further Bible reading.

    I have gone back to it when I've felt alone, down, and even lost. It has helped me a lot. I could go on about what I liked about it, but just know that it's helped me survive! The purpose of this book is to encourage people who are currently in prison by showing them how God has worked through the difficult situation of imprisonment many times before.