Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eugene Peterson and Quiet Living

I enjoyed an article about Eugene Peterson entitled, “A Patient Peterson” by Susan Olasky (World, vol. 23, no. 9, 2008). (It is available online here, but you have to register to see the entire text.)

Peterson and his wife Jan seek to live patiently, quietly, and deliberately. “We like quite, we like rhythm,” the article quotes Peterson. He says that the rituals of daily life “give a quality of sacredness to it.”

The article describes Peterson’s daily routine. His weekdays begin around 5:00 in the morning when he makes coffee for himself and his wife. They spend the next hour and half by themselves, privately reading Scripture and praying. At 7:30, Peterson takes a morning walk, and then he joins his wife for breakfast. He spends the mornings writing, and they always spend afternoons outside—they snow ski, kayak, or canoe. In the evening, they prepare dinner together and read to each other.

Although most people who work or have children cannot entirely emulate the patterns of the Petersons’ lifestyle, the point of the article is clear. One does not need to be retired to combat the busyness of American life. We all can do things to resist the allure of our high-speed culture. Perhaps by turning off the T.V., checking our email less often, or going for a walk, we will begin to experience the peaceful rhythms of life that our hectic schedules tend to suppress.

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