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Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology

(Spiritual Theology #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,757 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places reunites spirituality and theology in a cultural context where these two vital facets of Christian faith have been rent asunder. Lamenting the vacuous, often pagan nature of contemporary American spirituality, Eugene Peterson here firmly grounds spirituality once more in Trinitarian theology and offers a clear, practical statement of wha ...more
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published February 3rd 2005 by Eerdmans (first published January 1st 1999)
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Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
This was a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. I see that several reviewers have mentioned this isn't an easy book, and I might agree with them. However, I chose to listen to, rather than read, this book. The audio production of this work (much like the audio production of Eugene's The Message) is excellent and really helps with understanding what's being said. The phrasing of words and ideas can sometimes be communicated by voice more effectively than by written word.

The breadth of this b
Michele Morin
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life, Life, and More Life

We picked raspberries a couple of weeks ago — the free kind that grow along the edges of fields and in the company of thistles. They were succulent. I could wrap words around a description of raspberry picking: the gentle encompassing pressure that releases a perfectly ripe berry from its stem; the empty white cone that is left behind on the bush; the scratches on hands and forearms; the sticky red fingertips that carry home the smell of summer and bee-buzzing sweetness.
Apr 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Joel by: Tim Udouj
This is the most marked book I own. It is underlined, circled, bracketed with parentheses, exclamation marked, question marked, starred. Peterson engages me like I hadn't been engaged reading theology and I read a substantial amount of it. Compared to the writing skills of other theologians he is a poet. Not an easy read by any means, but one you may find that on the other side of it you're not quite the same. "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology" sits atop ...more
Justin Lonas
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I never used to like devotional writing, but being in seminary threatens to take Bible study too far into the academic realm and more or less forces you to OD on theology. Hence, I find I need some periodic grounding in lived faith. This series is quite good, and motivates prayer and action.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A grand book.

If you've read my reviews in the past, you know I'm a "short chapters guy." I read more efficiently when I feel I'm making progress (just my jam).

That said, this book is 330 pages long and only three chapters. Granted, there are subheadings and stopping points but it's still only three chapters.

This is a book I feel like I could come back to and dig a little deeper in. If you've read any of Eugene's books, you know he's a fan (and master) of words/images. He will explain a singula
Brian Eshleman
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. Shows a broad appreciation for the Bible and the ability to apply it with insightful illustrations from everyday life. Peterson's vibrant phrasing keeps a work of scholarly depth engaging.

SECOND READING: Still golden. Nebulous in just the right spots so that the reader can escape that tendency to look for Step 1, Step 2 as applied to every Christian ever. The writer's unconditional positive regard comes through warmly enough that he gets the reader's attention when he confronts a
For me, reading this book was quite a labor, but it was worth every minute. The benefit I have received is a fresh perspective on the congruence of the Bible entire. The story of God’s relationship with humans is a long one, and Peterson articulates its purpose in Christ Plays in ways that provide a concrete shape to my pre-existing knowledge. As a result, many of Peterson’s insights and interpretations have sunk in to the extent that I find my engagement with most Scripture readings re-invigora ...more
Reed Fagan
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: partially-read
Disclaimer: I chose not to finish this book (at least as of my first attempt to read it, summer 2020).

Besides "The Message"The Message Devotional Bible: Featuring Notes & Reflections from Eugene H. Peterson, this was my first Peterson book. I was really excited about it based on the things I had heard about Peterson. The gist I got about his thoughts on Christianity was that they were a lot "fresher" than what a lot of evangelical leaders were sharing at the time (late 20th, early 21st centuries
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015, spirit
I love Eugene Peterson. A slow, let-it-sink-in, savorful read. A perfect blend of intellect/poet, which suits both parts of me very satisfyingly. There were a few wee points I might have wanted to question him about, and there were swaths of the book that needed more depth or specificity, but if I view the whole book as a dip-and-dive discourse on spiritual theology (a term well described and now quite useful to me), then I'm not bothered by the surface/dive quality of the text. I was delightful ...more
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this in audiobook form. In some ways I liked that - it kept me moving so I caught the big picture of what Peterson was sharing. But now I find I want to reread the book in written form, so I can stop and ponder many things he shares. And with so many books I want to read, it's high praise to say I can't wait to re-read this one! ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am in LOVE with this book. The only kind of theology I care much about is the kind that we live out and that makes us love Jesus more-this book talks about exactly that. So far he has dug pretty deep into the creation story and the exodus story in ways that I haven't thought about before. Not the easiest read, but not too heady either. ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
slow going - very intellectually driven. very thoughtful. a 'nibbling' book. ...more
Ethan Smith
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dense, but beautifully written. A needed corrective for American Dream spirituality.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had little idea of what to expect from this book. I’d heard of Eugene Peterson and his translation of the Bible into “The Message,” but what would this be about? From the back of the book: “A tour de force in spiritual theology combining incisive cultural analysis and biblical exposition with a sweeping and engaging vision of the Christian life.” After reading, I think that summary is pretty good. Peterson’s writing was thought-provoking, insightful, fresh and engaging throughout.

I liked this
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If we don't know where we are going, any road will get us there. But if we have a destination - in this case a life lived to the glory of God - there is a well-marked way, the Jesus-revealed way. Pg 1

The central verb, "play," catches the exuberance and freedom that mark life when it is lived beyond necessity, beyond mere survival. "Play" also suggests words and sounds and actions that are "played" for another, intentional and meaningful renderings of beauty or truth or goodness. Hopkins incorpo
Abby Tamkin
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. But hard to summarize. I had the though when I first started reading that this was both a familiar and startling book. On one hand, it was describing my faith and theology and thoughts perfectly. On the other hand, it was describing all of that in a fresh but jarring way.
I think some of the difficulty in summarizing this book is the conversational way Peterson has of writing. He's not very quotable: It's hard to pin him down in a concise snippet. This has made it hard for me to
Nathan Boyett
Nov 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Many great concepts. This read invites the reader into a very thorough look at a lot of concepts and terms that we as Christians typically tend to gloss over in text or speech. Regular discussion with a fellow reader may help to develop/concrete some of these ideas. I don't know that I fully agreed with everything he said (but does anyone agree with everything anyone says?), but there was enough good content to cause me to keep reading. This is one that I think I would love to read again in 10-2 ...more
Ann Gemmel
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was assigned this book for a seminary class on spiritual formation. Wow! Peterson's years both as a pastor and later as a seminary professor provide him a unique perspective from the trenches coupled with the wisdom of a theologian and the heart of a shepherd. I highlighted so much and will need to return to this over and over again as I continue to ponder its ramifications. Peterson has the credibility to call out the North American church as to the various circuitous paths that have gotten u ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, 2018
My copy is now inked-up, dog-eared, and worn. I'm considering starting at the beginning and reading it again... and again. This is a slow book with big and true ideas that need time to grow. But it is SO worth all of that precious time. Eugene Peterson is a "good shepherd," unwaveringly faithful to the true heart of Christianity. His honesty and graciousness is life-giving. This book is a good tool to return to when life in our frenetic culture leaves you feeling distracted, confused, and pulled ...more
Brian Stevenson
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio book version. It truly does come off as a conversation in spiritual theology. Eugene was all over the map (hence the "10,000 places"), so writing a succinct review would take a tremendous amount of effort. I didn't mind his ramblings because he has so many great things to say. I may need to buy a hard copy of this book because it seems like the type of book that I would mark up cover-to-cover. ...more
Laurel Hicks
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, 0-kindle, 2019-8
This is the third book this year that I have wanted to start reading again immediately after finishing it. (The others were the Bible arranged chronologically and Silence and Beauty, by Makoto Fujimura.)
Eloquently and intelligently, Eugene Peterson pairs the Books of Moses to those of the gospel writers to show how spirituality can and must grow out of an understanding of biblical doctrine. I am amazed by the depth and beauty of Peterson’s writing.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's not very often that a gifted theologian and thinker is also a gifted writer. Eugene Peterson is both. This is a wonderful book. ...more
Steven Bullmer
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
First, this is a wonderful book. It is a deep dive into what Peterson calls "spiritual theology." In his words, "'Theology' is the attention we give to God, the effort we give to knowing God.... 'Spiritual' is the insistence that everything God reveals ... is capable of being lived by ordinary men and women in their homes and workplaces." In other words, Peterson wants spirituality to be about our relationship with God and not some veiled self-fulfillment of our own desires. And Peterson wants t ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book took me months to read. I normally read books in about 3 days. I could not digest this book quickly, it is slow, thoughtful, meaningful, and would not be rushed. I read other reviews on here and felt much better as it seemed to be the same for many other readers! There were too many aspects to this book to try to do a summary on it. Overall, I can say, it made an impact on my life and that I highly recommend it to others. Here are a couple quotes from me finishing up reading the book y ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book to read. Eugene Peterson engages spiritual theology poetically by exploring the themes of Christ plays in creation, Christ plays in history, and Christ plays in community.

There are so many beautiful and timely comments that this is among my most marked-up, underlined, postit books that is not for research purposes. I recognize this work as a result of Peterson's many years' experience as both pastor and scholar reflecting upon the state of contemporary Christian spirituality (esp
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in the middle of reading this book when I heard that Eugene Peterson had died, so it became something of a memorial read. Reading Peterson is a little bit of a strange experience. At times he feels quite periphrastic, and you sense that he could say things more succinctly and yet when you reach the end, particularly of a book like this one, you marvel at just how much he managed to pack into a little over 300 pages.

A lot of ground is covered. This isn't systematic theology but it is held t
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant work by the translator who wrote The Message. Peterson delves deep into theological issues, but addresses them from a pastor's perspective. The book is long and addresses many topics. However, it is organized in 1-2 page segments, which makes it a good daily devotional. That is the way I read it and the reason it took 9 months for me to finish it.
Peterson uses the imagery of Gerard Manley Hopkin's sonnet, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, to set the stage for this book:
I say more: the just
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read with a friend over much of a year. We also met to discuss it and our conversations would often last for half of a Saturday. It was a lot to take in, and although a very positive experience, I’ll be glad to take a break and read something less challenging.

I was not expecting something so all encompassing. It felt like we were reading a theology book that took in the whole of scripture and Christian life. I will probably keep it as a reference but I don’t expect to read it again.

I was most i
F.C. Shultz
“The two terms, ‘spiritual’ and ‘theology,’ keep good company with one another. ‘Theology’ is the attention that we give to God, the effort we give to knowing God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and in Jesus Christ. ‘Spiritual’ is the insistence that everything that God reveals of Himself and His works is capable of being lived by ordinary men and women in their homes and workplaces. ‘Spiritual’ keeps ‘theology’ from degenerating into merely thinking and talking and writing about God at a dis ...more
Lee Hudson
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I liked this more than I expected to ... am I allowed to say that about the guy that rewrote the Bible? I didn't realize I needed a "Conversation in Spiritual Theology" as much as I did. Peterson does this interesting analogy of the Trinity in creation, history and community, i.e. God the Father in Creation, God the Son In history and God the Spirit in community (hope I got that right). In my opinion, it would make an excellent devotional assist ... the way he's broken down various aspects of ea ...more
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Eugene H. Peterson was a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He had written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language ...more

Other books in the series

Spiritual Theology (5 books)
  • Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Spiritual Theology #2)
  • The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way (Spiritual Theology #3)
  • Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (Spiritual Theology #4)
  • Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Spiritual Theology #5)

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