Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Eugene Peterson. Philip Yancey. Anne Lamott. Dallas Willard. Larry Crabb. There you have it. My reading list. You can have most of the other books on a Christian best-sellers list. But give me the things these people are writing. Today an old (1980) gem from Peterson: "Pastoral difficulties develop when people . . . instead of putting trust in the God who is able to work beyond our expectations, attempt to find a point of leverage at which they can pry a miracle out of God to satisfy what they think they need. Miracle for them has almost nothing to do with God; it is a demand item which will get them what they want. "In such a way religion is misunderstood as a kind of technology of the supernatural: it provides the know-how to get things done when physicians give up, when counselors fail, when the economy disintegrates. If one learns to pray according to the correct formulas and has 'enough faith' a miracle can be produced. "But that is not what the Bible, ever, means by miracle. True, miracles are evidence of a God who does things we cannot do for ourselves. But it is not a power that is put at our disposal. The function of miracles, biblically, is to break open reality so that we see existence in its essence, see beneath the surface routines we took as the whole picture, and we have revealed to us what was hidden by our stubborn insistence on sense-data or our slow-witted faith, and have more and more of our lives drawn into the healing-saving orbit of personal love. Chesterton drew attention 'to the fact that Christ worked his miracles not to escape time but to plunge men into the choices time presses upon them.'"

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