Skip to content


Working the Angles

I just made a poster for my new office at church. If you do recognize, these three elements are from Eugene Peterson‘s book Working the Angles. He argues that these are the three essential acts of ministry that pastors should never neglect. He says:

Three pastoral acts are so basic, so critical that they determine the shape of everything else. The acts are praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction. Besides being basic, these three acts are quiet. They do not call attention to themselves and so are often not attended to. In the clamorous world of pastoral work nobody yells at us to engage in these acts……

The three areas constitute acts of attention: prayer is an act in which I bring myself to attention before God; reading Scripture is an act of attending to God in his speech and action across two millennia in Israel and Christ; spiritual direction is an act of giving attention to what God is doing in the person who happens to be before me at any given moment.

Always it is God to whom we are paying, or trying to pay, attention. (3-4)

He also warns us:

Pastoral work disconnected from the angle actions — the acts of attention to God in relation to myself, the biblical communities of Israel and church, the other person — is no longer given its shape by God. (5)

Fellow pastors, if you find it useful, feel free to download this poster (300dpi, letter size) and put it up on the wall of your office (or home). Read the book too.

Posted in Pastoral, Posts in English, Spirituality.

Tagged with , , , , , , .