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Eugene Peterson in Seattle -- May 16


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#1 Greg Wolfe

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:45 PM

To go straight to the page on IMAGE's website about this event, click here.

Image's Sixth Annual Denise Levertov Award with Eugene Peterson
Public Reading and Lecture
Saturday, May 16, 7:30 p.m.
University Presbyterian Church

Co-Sponsored by the Seattle Pacific University English Department, the SPU MFA in Creative Writing, and University Presbyterian Church

Join Image journal and acclaimed writer Eugene Peterson for the 2009 Denise Levertov Award lecture and reading, and a celebration of Image’s Twentieth Anniversary.

Peterson, a contributor to Image and author of the bestselling The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, will give a reading and commentary called "Intently Haphazard," about how the arts have formed his vocation as a pastor and writer, at University Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception and book signing.

The Levertov Award is presented annually in the spring to an artist or creative writer whose work exemplifies a serious and sustained engagement with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Past recipients include poets Madeline DeFrees and Franz Wright, nonfiction writers Kathleen Norris and Thomas Lynch, and fiction writer Bret Lott.

Peterson is a pastor and spiritual writer who has written more than thirty books, including A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, The Contemplative Pastor, and Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, one in a multi-volume series of book-length “conversations” in spiritual theology.

In his most recent book, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers, Peterson invokes Emily Dickinson’s words: “Tell all the truth but tell it slant — / Success in Circuit lies / Too bright for our infirm Delight / The Truth’s superb surprise.” Throughout his work, Peterson has insisted on the centrality of the imagination to the life of faith. He suggests that God’s revelation comes through the ambiguities and nuances of story and lyric poetry—highly charged language that calls on our active participation and response for its full meaning to be grasped. With Dickinson, Peterson believes that “the Truth must dazzle gradually” through language that helps us move past “preconceptions, prejudices, defenses, stereotypes, and fact-dominated literalism” into “the language of...the Other.”

Peterson is an SPU alumnus and Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he pastored for twenty-nine years.

The Denise Levertov Award is named for one of the twentieth century's greatest poets. Levertov, who spent her last years in Seattle, embraced the landscape and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Her identity as a Christian believer—a pilgrim whose faith was inextricably entwined with doubt—became another important facet of her work, particularly in her later poetry.

#2 Kyle

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 01:50 PM

I've been blessed to hear Peterson once at SPU a few years and found him very engaging and helpful.

#3 Overstreet

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 02:49 PM

I've had the privilege of getting to know him over the last few years at several conferences and on the phone. He's an SPU alum, and he's in the Chrysostom Society, and he's served as minister at the Glen Workshop, so we just keep running into one another. He's a warm and gracious man with an unmatchable smile and a wicked sense of humor. Example: Another friend of mine has a series of albums called "Selah," and (if I recall the story correctly) when he talked to Peterson about the origins of the term, Peterson "schooled" him in its true meaning, explaining his rigorous research and struggle to resolve conflicts between ancient texts. Then he described discovering the answer, and revealed that the word is, in fact, an expletive. You should have seen the musician's reaction. Peterson let him suffer for a while before letting him off the hook. It was pretty funny.

Edited by Overstreet, 09 May 2009 - 02:53 PM.


#4 Michael Todd

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

I'm confused. Is Selah an expletive?

#5 Overstreet

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 06:09 PM

No. But he convinced my friend that it was just long enough to make him regret using it as a title for praise music.

Edited by Overstreet, 09 May 2009 - 06:10 PM.


#6 Michael Todd

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 09:58 PM

Thanks for clarifying, Jeffrey. That is what I thought you meant.

#7 Andy Whitman

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 11:24 AM

QUOTE (Overstreet @ May 9 2009, 03:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've had the privilege of getting to know him over the last few years at several conferences and on the phone. He's an SPU alum, and he's in the Chrysostom Society, and he's served as minister at the Glen Workshop, so we just keep running into one another. He's a warm and gracious man with an unmatchable smile and a wicked sense of humor. Example: Another friend of mine has a series of albums called "Selah," and (if I recall the story correctly) when he talked to Peterson about the origins of the term, Peterson "schooled" him in its true meaning, explaining his rigorous research and struggle to resolve conflicts between ancient texts. Then he described discovering the answer, and revealed that the word is, in fact, an expletive. You should have seen the musician's reaction. Peterson let him suffer for a while before letting him off the hook. It was pretty funny.

That's wonderful. And the world needs another expletive in the title of worship albums other than Wow! Zounds! would be another good one, and actually has a Christian connotation.

#8 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 04:54 PM

Andy Whitman wrote:
: Zounds! would be another good one, and actually has a Christian connotation.

As does Odsbodkins. Put the two together, and there's your Christmas and Easter, right there.