The Cookbook Section
I was watching this video of an interview of Eugene Peterson [thank you Sammie Bennett!] and he said something that I’ve been pondering for the last week before even watching this video. I highly recommend taking a half hour to watch the video. The way Peterson talks about Christian life and God is refreshing…
Here’s a snippet of the conversation. Quick note: I know not all of you reading this blog are writers. As you read this conversation with Peterson substitute the word writer with a word describing your art or profession.
Dean Nelson: Tell me why you’d rather have your books in a bookstore section that’s not in the inspiration section but you’d rather have your books in the cook books section…
Eugene Peterson: I guess I feel that there’s so much religious or inspirational so called writing that is so thin, thin soup, soupy. I’d rather be associated with serious writers who’ve lived what they’ve written who’ve spent their lives trying to get this straight. You know writing is hard work and religious writing is often really badly written…I don’t know, the cookbook thing – people buy cookbooks because they want to cook. People don’t always buy religious books because they want to be good or serve God.
Peterson goes on to say “…the immersion in life it requires to tell the truth” is the only way to produce work that is not ‘soupy’. My insides are screaming because this is what I want. To write like C.S. Lewis, Eugene Peterson, Anne Lamott and all the other greats who have birthed pieces that are timeless. Truth is timeless. God is timeless.
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12 The Message
So I find myself praying. “God work in me. I want to be formed into the woman you created me to be – before I landed here, a broken soul in a broken world.” To be in this place spiritually is to be the best artist I can be. This kind of living takes terrifying courage. I don’t have what it takes. But something inside me keeps driving me.
What is driving you? What do you aspire to do? What do you hope your life will produce?