I bought a copy of ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Soceity’ on the recommendation of a fellow leader in our church. We’ve recently been working through the Songs of Ascents, the group of psalms on which this series of reflections was based, using them in sermons and a series of daily Bible notes (accessible via: http://www.wormleyfreechurch.org.uk or directly here: http://songsofascents.blogspot.co.uk). Having heard of it, I didn’t hesitate in placing my order, as I have often found Peterson’s ‘The Message’ paraphrases of the psalms to be both playful and inspirational in a way in which the NIV translation has often ceased to be for me now through it’s over-familiarity. I also found his ‘commentary’ on the Book of Revelation, Reversed Thunder’ to be extremely helpful (see my brief review here).
The book didn’t disappoint, and has been extremely useful in provoking reflection and as an aide to produce our materials. If you’re looking for quick fixes for personal problems, step by step advice, or fast spirituality, you won’t find it here. Instead, much of the book is a reflection on the character of God and a call for our lives to reflect and respond to this, a much slower process as we soak in his blessings and express our gratitude in return. This of course makes it hard to review – does it fulfil it’s objective? You’ll have to check in with me in a decade or so to find out! That said, I suspect it will and the fact that it is in a new and updated version suggests that others have found this to be the case. I will, I’m sure, return to this and read it once more and gradually let it assist me in reading these wonderful poems.