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.
Part 1 “Ephesus and the Ephesians.” Chapter 1, “The Church of Ephesus: Ephesians 1:1-2.” (Loc. 141)
Peterson observes that in our Christian life we often fail to understand growing in Christ, something which, in his introduction, he cited Wendell Berry as terming “practice resurrection.” Eventually we need to deal with the church. “Many Christians find church to be the most difficult aspect of being a Christian. As many drop out - there may be more Christians who don’t go to church or go only occasionally than who embrace it, warts and all” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 145). Yet this is the place God has appointed for Christians to live together and witness to Christ. The church is the place of resurrection in a world of death (Peterson 2010, Loc. 153). “But the practice of resurrection, by its very nature, is not something any of us are very good at” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 163). What is the solution to these failings? Peterson suggests “we look at what has been given to us in our Scriptures and in Jesus and try to understand why we have a church in the first place, what the church, as it is given to us, is” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 177).
This church which we never really see is revealed to us in Ephesians. “It is an inside look at what is beneath and behind and within the church that we do see wherever and whenever it becomes visible” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 183). Peterson observes that the apostle Paul was in Ephesus from 52-55. The letter to the Ephesians speaks especially to the inner workings, even the inner life of the church (Peterson 2010, Loc. 193). Of all the New Testament letters to churches this is the only one which was not provoked by a problem in the church (Peterson 2010, Loc. 195). The emphasis Peterson finds is “that church is not what we do; it is what God does, although we participate in it” (Peterson 2010, Loc. 212).
Lest we assume the church at Ephesus was perfect, Peterson reminds us that Timothy was sent there as a pastor and found a church in disorder (1 Timothy) (Peterson 2010, Loc. 228). There is alway much to be done as even a well-functioning church grows in Christ.
After a lengthy discussion of Peterson’s own experiences with idealism and church marketing, Peterson leaves us with Ephesians, a description of God’s grace at work.