July 27, 2016

Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog

I'm reading this book about the prophet Jeremiah by Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message bible. He's a huuuuge fan of Jeremiah, to put it mildly. It sounds like he is his spiritual soul mate and guard against mediocrity, an irritating thus needful message to this devoted medocrite.

I guess it's not surprising given he's so driven that he translated the Bible singlehandedly, ala Knox but unlike Knox without being asked to. He believes in himself, and I mean that in the best sense – that he believes God has made him in His image and empowers.

I find it amazing because so few people are fans of the famously downcast Biblical author. He seems too harsh, too negative, for our time. Which is why it's interesting to see this paean in print. The contrarian in me approves.

He writes:
Good people, virtuous lives, mostly seem a bit dull. Jeremiah is a stunning exception. For most of my adult life he has attracted me. The complexity and intensity of his person caught and kept my attention. The captivating quality in the man is his goodness, his virtue, his excellence…It is understandable that there are retreats from excellence, veerings away from risk, withdrawals from faith. It is easier to define oneself minimally (“ a featherless biped”) and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (“ little less than God”) and live adventurously in that reality.
“The whole meaning of history is in the proof that there have lived people before the present time whom it is important to meet” - EUGEN ROSENSTOCK-HUESSY
All the great stories of the world elaborate one of two themes: that all life is an exploration like that of the Odyssey or that all life is a battle like that of the Iliad. The stories of Odysseus and Achilles are archetypal. Everyone’s childhood serves up the raw material that is shaped by grace into the life of mature faith.

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