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The Pastor: A Memoir Hardcover – Feb 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061988200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061988202
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Eugene Peterson excavates the challenges and mysteries regarding pastors and church and gives me hope for both. This a must read for every person who is or thinks they are called to be a pastor and for every person who has one.” (William Paul Young, author of The Shack)

“If anyone knows how to be a pastor in the contemporary context that person is Eugene Peterson. Eugene possesses the rare combination of a pastor’s heart and a pastor’s art. Take and read!” (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline)

“I’ve been nagging Eugene Peterson for years to write a memoir. In our clamorous, celebrity-driven, entertainment culture, his life and words convey a quiet whisper of sanity, authenticity, and, yes, holiness.” (Philip Yancey, author of What Good is God)

“A good book for folks who like pastors. And a good book for folks who don’t. The Pastor is the disarming tale of one of the unlikely suspects who has helped shape North American Christianity.” (Shane Claiborne author of The Irresistible Revolution)

“More than a gifted writer, Eugene Peterson is a voice calling upon the churches to recover the vocation of the pastor in order to experience the renewing of their faith in the midst of an increasingly commercialized, depersonalized, and spiritually barren land.” (Dale T. Irvin, President, New York Theological Seminary)

“If you are hoping to be a pastor, or just to understand what that is, get this book and soak in it for at least three full days with no distraction. It may save your life and make you a blessing.” (Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy)

“A gift to anyone who has tried answering the call to pastor, and to a church that needs true pastors. . . . It is a subtle manifesto of hope for our time.” (Christianity Today)

“Peterson found writing as a way to pay attention, and as an act of prayer. It’s our privilege to have his words, full of insight and truth. This book might be considered a long prayer for pastors.” (Englewood Review of Books)

“A book full of much needed wisdom that is written with eloquence.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“Peterson is a master storyteller. . . . The Pastor is a profound and important meditation . . . serves as a necessary reaffirmation of the true nature of a calling that in current American religious life seems largely lost.” (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly)

From the Back Cover

In The Pastor, Eugene H. Peterson, the translator of the multimillion-selling The Message and the author of more than thirty books, offers his life story as one answer to the surprisingly neglected question: What does it mean to be a pastor?

When Peterson was asked by his denomination to begin a new church in Bel Air, Maryland, he surprised himself by saying yes. And so was born Christ Our King Presbyterian Church. But Peterson quickly learned that he was not exactly sure what a pastor should do. He had met many ministers in his life, from his Pentecostal upbringing in Montana to his seminary days in New York, and he admired only a few. He knew that the job's demands would drown him unless he figured out what the essence of the job really was. Thus began a thirty-year journey into the heart of this uncommon vocation—the pastorate.

The Pastor steers away from abstractions, offering instead a beautiful rendering of a life tied to the physical world—the land, the holy space, the people—shaping Peterson's pastoral vocation as well as his faith. He takes on church marketing, mega pastors, and the church's too-cozy relationship to American glitz and consumerism to present a simple, faith-filled job description of what being a pastor means today. In the end, Peterson discovered that being a pastor boiled down to "paying attention and calling attention to 'what is going on right now' between men and women, with each other and with God." The Pastor is destined to become a classic statement on the contemporary trials, joys, and meaning of this ancient vocation.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matte on Oct. 16 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I like Peterson's The Message and thought it would be interesting to hear his perspective on being a pastor. This is the most complete, insighttful, and real book I have ever read on the topic. Peterson is personal, honest, and doesn't give easy answers for anything. What he does offer is his journey as a pastor and what he has learned along the way. Short chapters and an easy writing style make it very readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Britton on June 11 2011
Format: Hardcover
While it seems that much of the organized church is focused on leadership issues, Eugene Peterson fills an enormous void in addressing the role and function of a pastor, who in Christian circles, is the person on the ground with the people. This "pastor" theme runs through many of his numerous books, as he normally writes as a pastor to pastors. It is fully developed in this memoir, as Peterson describes the evolution of his own development and understanding of the care and cure of souls. He provides insight into both his life and his thinking, and much wise advice to pastors. This is a must read for anyone in pastoral positions, as well as those seeking to understand the pastoral role, and also for those who desire to make Christian spirituality relevant to ordinary citizens.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Eugene Peterson is a modern day sage for the church. He exudes wisdom and experience. My suggestion is to read everything he writes and model your life around much of his. You obviously need to be yourself, so don't try to be Eugene or imitate him - but he has much wisdom to impart for every Christian, but especially for every pastor. Everything you read in this book flies in the face of today's notion of a successful pastor. Learn from him and let's together be the people of God on mission with God.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Owen Juhlke on May 10 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peterson shares his journey to becoming a pastor, as well as sharing numerous memories of individuals (some of them very strange) he encountered during his life that influenced his spiritual life. He brings to the table the truth of what it means to be a pastor - the good, the bad and the ugly. Humorous stories, sad stories, real stories. A good read, but be aware that you will not find the deep theological writings found in Peterson's others works. However the title of the book states it rightly - it's a memoir - it's basically about him.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie on Feb. 21 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a book my husband needed , - - to read , - - then attend a Pastor Conference with his area Pastors. After a couple of days of reading, he was commenting on it being quite interesting and remindful of many of his own experiences. I told him there was a second book to the theme, and he said we may have to get it.
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