Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987 - Religion - 137 pages
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American pastors, says Eugene Peterson, are abandoning their posts at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Instead, they have become "a company of shopkeepers, and the shops they keep are churches." Pastors and the communities they serve have become preoccupied with image and standing, with administration, measurable success, sociological impact, and economic viability.

In Working the Angles, Peterson calls the attention of his fellow pastors to three basic acts--which he sees as the three angles of a triangle--that are so critical to the pastoral ministry that they determine the shape of everything else. The acts--prayer, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction--are acts of attention to God in three different contexts: oneself, the community of faith, and another person. Only by being attentive to these three critical acts, says Peterson, can pastors fulfill their prime responsibility of keeping the religious community attentive to God.

Written out of the author's own experience as pastor of a "single pastor church," this well-written, provocative book will be stimulating reading for lay Christians and pastors alike.

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pastor or parishioner -- listen up

User Review  - ValS -

Meant to inspire and critique the pastoring profession, it is great to read even for non-pastors. It's an old book, but the message is still fresh and urgent -- pastoring is not principally administration or entertainment. It's so pithy and can keep us ALL on our toes. Read full review

User Review  - John Curtis -

The book is not as well organized as Peterson is capable of, but its thematic and practical content - particularly the chapter to the tendency of pastors/counselors to classify people - is pretty much seminal. This is an important book. Read full review

Selected pages


Greek Stories and Hebrew Prayers
Praying by the Book
Prayer Time
Turning Eyes into Ears
Contemplative Exegesis
Gaza Notes
Being a Spiritual Director
Getting a Spiritual Director
Practicing Spiritual Direction

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About the author (1987)

Eugene H. Peterson (1932-2018) was a longtime pastor and professor of spiritual theology at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. His many acclaimed books include Tell It Slant, The Jesus Way, Eat This Book, and the contemporary translation of the Bible titled The Message.

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