a long obedience 6a

I shared part of this quotation in the previous post, but wanted to give the larger context and emphasize it a bit more. This is one of my favorite parts in the book so far (and I’ve got several). Peterson is talking about the riskiness of putting faith, hope, and love “on the line” each day in the face of never having seen God (faith), not knowing what the future holds (hope), and the following on love:

“Every day I put love on the line. There is nothing I am less good at than love. I am far better in competition than in love. I am far better at responding to my instincts and ambitions to get ahead and make my mark than I am at figuring out how to love another. And yet I decide, every day, to set aside what can do best and attempt what I do very clumsily–open myself to the frustrations and failures of loving, daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding in pride” (p. 77, italics mine).

This is a classic example of I love about Eugene Peterson–authenticity and candor. Plus, that clause at the end in italics must be, for me, one of the best summaries of the true joy and happiness of the Christian life–that falling on our face in attempting the good far surpasses marvelous success in accomplishing the evil. Or, as I think G.K. Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” In other words, if it is good to do, it must be good to do right now, while we’re yet to have it perfected. Peterson captures that spirit beautifully here.

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