Paperback: 206 pages; Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (31 Dec 1996); ISBN-10: 0802808484; ISBN-13: 978-0802808486
Like Eugene Peterson’s other books on pastoring,Under the Unpredictable Plant is full of stimulating insights, candid observations, and biblically grounded prescriptions. Yet this book emanates with a special poignancy out of Peterson’s own crisis experience as a pastor. Peterson tells about the “abyss,” the “gaping crevasse,” the “chasm” that he experienced, early in his ministry, between his Christian faith and his pastoral vocation. He was astonished and dismayed to find that his personal spirituality, his piety, was inadequate for his vocation – and he argues that the same is true of pastors in general. In the book of Jonah – a parable with a prayer at its center – Peterson finds a subversive, captivating story that can help pastors recover their “vocational holiness.” Using the Jonah story as a narrative structure, Peterson probes the spiritual dimensions of the pastoral calling and seeks to reclaim the ground taken over by those who are trying to enlist pastors in religious careers.