Tag Archives: Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson on American Ambitions

“Competitive ambition and the accompanying disciplines that bring about its achievement can be pursued, and more often that not are pursued, without conscience, without love, without compassion, without humility, without generosity, without righteousness, without holiness. Which is to say, quite apart from maturity. Immature entertainment celebrities routinely walk out on their families. Immature scholars and scientists who collect Nobel Prizes make do with estranged and godless lives. Immature star athletes regularly embarrass their coaches and fans by infantile and adolescent, sometimes criminal, behavior.

These are the men and women who set the standards for a life fueled by ambition, getting to the top, making a name for themselves, beating out the competition. These are the men and women who provide the images and examples for North Americans of what it means to be standout human beings. Do any of us want to live, I mean really LIVE, that way? Is that living? Has that ever, in the entire history of humankind, been living—fully alive?

I don’t think so. And I don’t think many other people think so when they stop to think, if they ever do. The misery, the emptiness, the superficiality, the boredom, the desolation that accompanies this kind of living is devastating, not only to the individuals involved but to their families and communities. And the seepage of such lives into our culture—for no man is an island unto himself—impoverishes us all.”

Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 90-91.

Eugene Peterson on individualism

“Individualism is the growth-stunting, maturity-inhibiting habit of understanding growth as an isolated self-project. Individualism is self-ism with swagger. The individualist is the person who is convinced that he or she can serve God without dealing with God. This is the person who is sure that he or she can love neighbors without knowing their names. This is the person who assumes that “getting ahead” involves leaving other people behind. This is the person who, having gained competence in knowing God or people or world, uses that knowledge to take charge of God or people or world.”

Eugene H. Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company), 112