A brother has recently drawn my attention back to Peterson’s Under the Predictable Plant. Perusing my highlightization resurfaced the following quotes:
“Parish glamorization is ecclesiastical pornography – taking photographs (skillfully airbrushed) or drawing pictures of congregations that are without spot or wrinkle, the shapes that a few parishes have for a few short years. These provocatively posed pictures are devoid of personal relationships. The pictures excite a lust for domination, for gratification, for uninvolved and impersonal spirituality. My own image of the desirable congregation was shaped by just such pornography – a tall-steeple church with a cheesecake congregation. It alarms and dismays me that even though I long ago quit looking at the magazines and lining the walls of my vocational imagination with pictures, I am still vulnerable to seduction. . . . Listening to many pastors talking to other pastors when they are away from their parishes, you would think none of this [i.e., the reality of Ninevehness] was true. Every conversation features wonderfully glowing stories about successful programs and slick conversions. I used to hear such storeis or read such books and be impressed. After some years of careful Bible reading and congregation watching, I am no longer impressed. I think it far more likely that these pastors, insofar as they are telling the truth, are presiding over some form of Greek mystery religion, or Baal shrine, or Babylonian religious parade.” (pp22, 25)
“Our work is not to make a religious establishment succeed but to nurture the gospel of Jesus Christ into maturity. Holiness cannot be imposed; it must grow from the inside.” (p133).
“We cannot nurture the life of Spirit in a parishioner while holding a stopwatch. We cannot apply time management techniques to the development of souls.” (p164)