Peterson, Eugene H., and Peter Santucci. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing up in Christ. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 6, “Peace and the Broken Wall: Ephesians 2:11-22” Loc. 1214-1457.
Peterson begins this chapter with an observation that our minds are full of information, much of it unintuitive, much that we could never observe, but that we tend to be ignorant of the God who is central to it all (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1226). In this passage Paul tells us of God’s role in all our lives, placing us in his Church (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1246). As Paul begins to orient us to the Church, he works in “through the thorny brambles of individualism” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1250). Peterson considers that American individualism is a great hindrance to our growth as Christians. The Christian life, counter to our frequent desires, is based on Jesus, not us (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1267). This life in Jesus, according to Ephesians 1:22-23, is found in the Church. Peterson discusses the visible institution of the Church (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1272) with a building and a sign. This seems like a very normal place where normal people assemble. Because it is so normal, Peterson suggests many people lose interest (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1284). He then compares this to observations made in a poem about a bicycle rider who stops to consider churches (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1296). His conclusion is that the Church will always be relevant. “There is far more going on in the matter of church than meets the eye” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1309). Paul uses verbs in this passage which show Jesus doing the work and us as passive recipients. “We acquire our identity not by what we do but by what is done to us” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1316).
A problem Peterson sees in the church in America is a pragmatic view of the church (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1318). If we cannot see its function we assume it is of no value. Our pragmatism results in our attempts to do God’s work for him. It is always a wrong approach (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1327). The remedy Paul proposes is remembering what we were without Jesus (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1336). The Church is what we enter into, not what we create. It has its own identity, which forms us (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1359). This church, Peterson observes, is centered around Jesus, “our peace” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 1397).