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Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity Paperback – May 1 1989


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Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity + Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work + The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Wm.B. Eerdman's Publishing; New completely reset ed. 1993 edition (May 1 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802802656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802802651
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Canoetripper on Oct. 11 2000
Format: Paperback
In his sharp yet graceful way, Peterson calls pastors to a needed level of introspection. As he notes, "It doesn't take many years in this business to realize that we can conduct a fairly respectable pastoral ministry without giving much more than ceremonial attention to God." Increasingly, the church is using social tools to both chase our rapidly accelerating society and to guage the church's success within our society. As a relatively new pastor, I've already experienced the pressure (my own and otherwise) to minister and measure my ministry by social standards that often have nothing to do with God's direction. Yet, Peterson clearly reminds the reader that faithfulness to God's call is often counter to society's best and most up-to-date wisdom. Through reading this book, my own priorities have shifted for the better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gunia on Sept. 23 2002
Format: Paperback
Eugene Peterson has been thinking about it for a long time and has some advice for pastors out there. Before he gives the advice, he has some words of criticism for them: they've been sucked into the world of "respected" professionals who let money or comfort dictate their career decisons (e.g. the ambulance-chasing lawyer, the salesman who tells you what you want to hear just so he gets the sale). He admonishes pastors who have a similar mentality and advises them to work on their prayer life (especially the Psalms), read the Bible with more fervor, and find a "spiritual counsleor"-- someone who can guide you towards a closer relationship with God.
Of course pastors need to read the Bible and pray! This is no new revelation! He did make me more interested in reading the Psalms, though. The section on "how to read" was not to my liking, either. The section on the importance of finding a spritiual mentor, however was quite interesting. Americans seem to have a fascination with Teddy Roosevelt-style "Rugged Individualism." This apparently carries over to the pastor who now thinks he has to be a strong leader of the church instead of realizing that Christ himself acted like a servent for us. He even humbled himself to wash his disciples feet and act as our "whipping boy"--taking a punishment that was rightfully ours as he died on the cross.
While I whole-heartedly say that Peterson's last section was the best, there are some good points to his first two sections. I already mentioned a new respect for the Psalms; in fact, the word "respect" is the key theme for most of Peterson's book. Respect the fact that, when you pray, you are talking to your Creator and Redeemer! Don't take that lightly! When you read the Bible, realize that it's your Creator and Redeemer talking with you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betty Mulloy on Sept. 26 2001
Format: Paperback
The power, longevity and effectiveness of a church lies in large part on the leadership of its pastor(s). It shouldn't be about his or her administrative skills or ability to jump at every whim a member of the congregation brings forward. It should be about the spiritual life and leadership of the pastor. This isn't about perfection. It's about relationship with God. As a lay person who is active in the local church and works in a ministry to pastors, my heart delights in a pastor who puts God first and everything else in its proper place. You see, when the pastor's hunger for God is alive and well and being fed I can see it, and I have a role model to follow. When the pastor's life demonstrates the results of intimacy with Christ, I am motivated and encouraged.
As a lay person, I was brought up short because for too long I have measured my pastors by the to do list he accomplishes and the teaching she does. I have not always allowed them the space to do the most important things - being the guardian and teacher of the word and sacrament, abiding in Christ through prayer, and being the spiritual director I need rather than the quick answer to a problem I bring forward. I stand corrected.
My hope is that this book crosses the desk of every pastor in America, to renew his or her call to ministry, to give permission and encouragement in keeping the promises of ordination and installation. It will radically change the pastorate and the Church it ministers to.
Well done, Pastor Peterson. Thank you for your honesty, your leadership, and your willingness to be real and tell it like it is.
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Format: Paperback
Book Review – Working the angles. Eugene Peterson.

Pastors, Christian leaders and all the Disciples of Christ are not immune from the influences of pressures of the culture they live in. In “Working the Angles” Peterson presents a platform with some of the basic resources that need revisiting in the pastoral ministry. The author’s intention is to provide the readers not with a remedy but rather the diagnosis which might shake off some dust of the institutionalised and professionalised American pastors in the late 80’.
His description of pastoral ministry uses a trigonometric metaphor of a triangle where he contrasts the noticeability of the lines versus the angles. The lines would be the obvious ones such as preaching, teaching and administration whereas the angles would be prayer, Scripture and spiritual direction.
By passionately dedicating three chapters to each of these three disciplines Peterson unfolds his biblical understanding and leaves it with the reader to come to terms with their meaning and significance for them individually. Pastoral work disconnected from the three angles cannot be given its shape by God. Working the angles is what gives shape and integrity to the daily work of pastors”.
With a distinct emphasis on Psalms, Peterson develops his argument on the first angle of pastoral integrity- prayer. He provides some good historical and theological basis and by adding his own approach in observing Sabbath he develops with a “free hand” (if there is such a thing) an exegesis of Psalm 92, where “praying and playing” belong together. Playing and praying (the Psalms) have vitalized and protected the author’s attentiveness to God therefore he will not compromise his allegiance to the biblical teaching on Sabbath.
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