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Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity (The Pastoral series, #2)
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Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity (The Pastoral #2)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  469 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Eugene Peterson issues a provocative call for pastors to abandon their preoccupation with image and standing, administration, success, and economic viability, and to return to the three basic acts critical to the pastoral ministry: praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction.
Paperback, 137 pages
Published May 28th 1989 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published April 30th 1987)
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Eric Chappell
Stop reading this review, and go buy this book. Now.

Using a mathematical metaphor, Eugene Peterson gives readers a trigonometry of pastoral ministry. The lines of the pastoral calling are preaching, teaching, administration, etc. But without angles, there is no triangle. Without the angles of prayer, Scripture reading, and giving spiritual direction, pastoral ministry is mere religious shop-keeping. In a culture where everything is defined by busyness Peterson reminds those in ministry that our
Kessia Reyne
Eugene H. Peterson looms giant on the landscape of modern American Christianity. He is a Presbyterian pastor, but also the author of several well-known books and the man behind The Message (a hugely popular paraphrase of the Bible). Peterson is the man every evangelical author wishes to be: successful, deep, respected (and probably wealthy). I’ve come across Peterson’s work in bits and pieces, always awed at even the elegance of his subtitles, but never delving into a full-length work before th ...more
This was my first time to read Peterson, and while it would have been impossible for this book to live up to the hype I've heard about his writing, I really did enjoy it. It's targeted at a very specific audience to which I no longer belong - the professional pastor. However, having served in some form of that capacity for close to a decade, I was very easily able to relate to his "angle", as it were.

The book is divided into three basic sections which examine foundations of the pastoral vocatio
Evan McCord
Not an easy read but insightful and legit. I like what Peterson has to say.
Todd Wilhelm
"I shelved but did not quite abandon hope for matters in the spiritual life, for mentors in prayer, for experienced companions in the soul's itinerary.
And then I began to find them, one by one, here and there. In obscure corners of libraries far from the best-seller racks. In quiet, easy-to-overlook persons well out of the promotional limelight. I read. I listened. I discovered people who were at the same time sane and devout, disciplined and mature, intelligent and wise. There were not many of
Demetrius Rogers
This is as close as it gets to my personal philosophy of ministry.
This is a book that is written for pastors and though I am not a pastor I came across this book, picked it up, and became immersed in it. I have no desire to be a pastor yet this book has many gems that are for everyone. In this book Peterson looks at three angles of Pastoral ministry: prayer, scripture, and spiritual direction.

Though written in the late 80’s the concerns Peterson addresses in this book are still concerns for today. Pastors tend to lean towards being shopkeepers or office manage
Luke Brown
I read this for my first Seminary class and for some reason I took it negatively. I would like to find that paper and find out why it struck such a nerve, because re-reading it I find it challenging and inspiring. All pastors can fall into a rut, but Pastor Peterson always opens my eyes to what is really going on in what we are fortunate enough to do and challenges and encourages me to do better. I honestly think every pastor should read one of his books every year. Reading it in 2013, there is ...more
I'm proud of myself for only intending to read part of this book at this time. Instead of opening to the beginning, I have turned immediately to the third of the three sections, "Spiritual Direction," and hope to soak up and put to use some of Peterson's wisdom in this area.

Turns out I read the whole thing!

I particularly liked Peterson's "Prayer" and "Scripture" because they begin in unexpected places: "Prayer" begins with a lengthy history lesson, first contrasting Hebrew prayer with Greek sto
This book joins my short-shelf of the three or four best pastor-ing books I've ever read. I'm thankful for my pastor-mentor's recommendation.

Peterson holds that the "triangle" pastoral ministry, whatever the context, has three essential "angles": prayer, reading Scripture (aloud), and spiritual direction. Context will determine how far this angles are from one another, giving each pastor's ministry a different shape. But the angle must be there; otherwise, what you're doing is not pastoral minis
Peterson has some wise words to offer from his decades of pastoral experience. He argues that the three most important pastoral functions are 1)prayer, 2)Scripture, and 3)spiritual direction. These are the "angles" that form the shape of pastoral ministry, while the lines of the triangle represent the visible ministries of teaching, preaching, and administration. Peterson says that it's easy for pastors to fake real ministry by doing the visible things that people expect them to do, while not ac ...more
Joshua D.
Peterson is a pastor to pastors, and in this book looks at the particular vocational responsibilities of pastoral ministry. He concludes that though there are thousands of things that will beckon for our time, the primary work of the pastor resides under three headings: prayer, attentiveness to Scripture, and spiritual direction. The book is broken out in 9 chapters, 3 each under those main headings. Peterson is a gifted writer, and his critique of the modern pastor as CEO model is scathing. At ...more
It's hard to believe this was written over twenty years ago-- Working the Angles is a timely reminder that regardless of where a Pastor finds his ministry, it will ultimately fail if not built on three "angles." Those three angles are not surprising, but are often forgotten in the quest for nickels and noses. The angles are: Prayer, Scripture Study, and Spiritual Direction.

Peterson describes ministry as a triangle. The three angles mentioned above direct the three sides of teaching, preaching, a
Aug 05, 2014 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Again, Peterson saves the day. If there were a superhero who could swoop in a save pastors hearts and souls from the distractions and wreckage of normal dramatic every day life and ministry, it would be Peterson. I wonder if he has a cape.
Another book that should be handy for all pastors and seminarians. Great insights on every page. Worth reading every two years at least.
Aug 20, 2007 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those working in Ministry
The three angles Peterson wants ministers of the Gospel to return to are Scripture, Prayer, and what he terms "Spiritual direction" (basically, leading people you're ministering to into a deeper understanding of how God is working in your life). Some of the discussions are rather abstract (I found scripture the most indirect), but at times very powerful. Prayer was an excellent section, and spiritual direction is great for those who do a lot of one-on-one ministry.
Helps the pastor to work through the three main areas the pastor should be focused on: Prayer, Scripture and Spiritual Direction. I felt like Peterson was very honest about his own struggles in ministry and how we should learn from those struggles to realize our main task as pastors. I would definitely recommend it for people who are pastors, and other leaders within a variety of ministries to help keep their focus. Definitely re-reading this book.
Ryan Strebeck
This was probably the first EP book I heard about, yet i just got around to it this year. I found in this book some of the most strong pastoral rebukes I've ever received in literature. Like any good sage, though, Peterson doesn't rant but rather offers discipline and correction that will help recover what he believes gets lost in every pastoral generation - paying attention to God, and doing what we have been ordained to do.

For someone barely beginning to gain his footing in pastoral ministry this book was a godsend! In it Peterson contends that the work of a pastor is to develop a listening awareness of God and that this is to be cultivated in Scripture, prayer, and spiritual direction. In these ways we learn to be alert to God's presence and activity not only in our own lives, but in the lives of the men and women we serve.
Peterson is great here on Prayer and Spiritual Direction. I felt his Scripture section leaving me hungry for "how tos". The benefit of this book was not in what I learned but how I felt after reading it. I want to be quiet and hear from the LORD, I want to be more attentive to people. I would recommend this book to any pastor who feels they are in a rut or in need of spiritual nourishment.
Lee Bertsch
First read this book 25 years ago. How many highly touted Christian books I have read ended up being completely forgettable. In this case I was surprised how much of this book has lingered with me over those years and how compelling it was to read again. Peterson remains one of my most significant mentors though I have never so much as shaken his hand.
Jan 17, 2011 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pastors
Recommended to Mark by: no one
'Eugene Peterson issues a provocative call for pastors to abandon their preoccupation with image and standing, administration, success, and economic viability, and to return to the three basic acts critical to the pastoral ministry: praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction.'

- from Visual Bookshelf summary
Dec 14, 2007 Jeremy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ministers
Shelves: life
This is a timely read in a culture of shortcuts, flashy ministry plans, and facades of personal character thinner than the pages of really nice Bible.

This book discusses the elements of the private life of a minister that will truly determine the effectiveness of that minister. Crucial message.
Chris Zuraff
What I like about Eugene Peterson, and this book in particular, is that he always keeps me accountable to what a pastor should be about. I always feel encouraged that the hurried progress that society and even other pastors demand and expect is not what I'm about.
Al Gritten
Peterson reflects on the primary requirements of functional pastoral ministry. Some of this is covered in his "Eat This Book" but is worth the repeat. Some of this is newer material. I almost always find Peterson to be an insightful and inspiring pastoral guide.
Danny Yang
"The visible lines of pastoral work are preaching, teaching, and administration. The small angles of this ministry are prayer, Scripture, and spiritual direction... Working the angles is what gives shape and integrity to the daily work of pastors and priests."
David Campton
Not an easy read... either on a literary basis or on a professional one, as he really encourages a radical overhaul of what those of us who claim to be pastors do with our time... The difficulty is putting words into practice when an entire system is against you.
Dustin Williams
If you are currently involved in or are considering any type of pastoral ministry, this is a must-read. It's not how-to. He doesn't offer 17 keys to anything. Just a clear and poignant call for course correction for American pastoral culture.
Sarah Burton
Read for an assignment. He gives three areas where pastoral integrity is lacking: prayer, scripture, and spiritual direction. I agree with a lot of what he says. i found it interesting, would recommend to anyone who is in leadership in a church.
I thought that he made it more complicated than what it needed to be, but there was some good ideas in the book. I especially enjoyed reading some of his ideas on teaching and the spoken word in contrast to the written word.
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Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He has written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language a contemporary translation of t ...more
More about Eugene H. Peterson...

Other Books in the Series

The Pastoral (4 books)
  • Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (The Pastoral series, #1)
  • Under the Unpredictable Plant an Exploration in Vocational Holiness (The Pastoral series, #3)
  • The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction (The Pastoral series, #4)
The Message Remix (Bible in Contemporary Language) A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology (Spiritual Theology #1) Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Spiritual Theology #2) The Pastor: A Memoir

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