Learning from the Songs of Ascents

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant SocietyA Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene H. Peterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this was an enjoyable and edifying read. Peterson looks at the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) one by one, explicating a theme in each one. I think that the chapters that I liked best were the ones on Psalms 121 (providence: here’s a quote that I enjoyed), 122 (worship), 125 (security), 126 (joy), 127 (work), 130 (hope), and 132 (obedience). Some of the others were hit and miss.

In his epilogue to the second edition, Peterson urges Christians to pursue spirituality by uniting the practices of listening to God speak in the Bible and their speaking to God in prayer as they seek to follow Christ, in contrast to the numerous “spirituality” fads unmoored from prayer and Scripture:

For as long as Christian “spirituality” accelerates without an equivalent commitment to its means, nothing much is going to come of it. There is virtual unanimity among our Christian ancestors that the means consists precisely in this fusion of Scripture in prayer. It is not a terribly difficult way of reading and writing, but it does require diligent attentiveness. The fusion is accomplished by reading these Scriptures slowly, imaginatively, prayerfully and obediently. (203)

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