a person who cares about words and is honest with them

It is easy to say what either flatters or manipulates and so acquire power over others. In subtle ways, being a pastor subjects our words to corruption. That is why it is important to frequent the company of a poet friend – Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Luci Shaw are some of mine – a person who cares about words and is honest with them, who respects and honors their sheer overwhelming power. I leave such meetings less careless, my reverence for words and the Word restored.

Is it not significant that the biblical prophets and psalmists were all poets? It is a continuing curiosity that so many pastors, whose work integrates the prophetic and psalmic (preaching and praying), are indifferent to poets. In reading poets, I find congenial allies in the world of words. In writing poems, I find myself practicing my pastoral craft in a biblical way.

From The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction by Eugene Peterson in chapter XIV, “Poets and Pastors.”

1 Comment

  1. Eric Alagan says:

    I wonder…

    Many gaze at a painting, entranced and captivated. Each takes away something…not neccessarily the same.

    Placed in reverse, whether it is prose or verse, ultimately we speak of Love of God and Love of Neighbour…

    Many tongues, same language – One God, I reckon.

    Peace, Eric

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