19 February 2015

Book Review: Tell It Slant

Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (2008) by Eugene Peterson is the 4th book in his 5-volume spiritual theology series. As the subtitle says, Peterson uses the first part of this book to explore the stories and parables of Jesus and the second half to explore Jesus' way of praying.

The first section the book was centered around the journey to Samaria described in Luke 9 to 19. On his journey, Jesus used the opportunity to teach his disciples, typically through the medium of parable. Peterson looks at how Jesus was not simply a theologian, but that he engaged people through the telling of stories. Too often, storytelling seems to be a lost art today, though Jesus was the master storyteller. In this part of the book, chapter 5 "Manure: Luke 13:6-9" was perhaps my favorite. Peterson, through one of the stories of Jesus, educates the reader that Jesus often does not work quickly. He writes, "Manure is a slow solution. When it comes to doing something about what is wrong in the world, Jesus is best known for his fondness for the minute, the invisible, the quiet, the slow--yeast, salt, seeds, light. And manure."

In the second half of the book, Peterson introduces the reader to six prayers of Jesus. His exposition on Jesus' "high priestly prayer" in John 17 is essential reading for the Christian to know that we are invited to join in the Trinity. We are loved by a relational God who invites us in.  Another important concept Peterson raised here was that of the importance of silence in prayer and in language, an oft overlooked virtue, particularly in modern culture.

I would recommend this book, or any in the series, to those who want a deeper understanding of the spiritual life of the believer. 

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