I like reading Eugene Peterson.
He is a pastor, a teacher, an example of a Christian life lived with integrity, joy, and passion. His work challenges me, sometimes makes me laugh, and always makes me feel better about the faith I want to live.
In his book The Contemplative Pastor, Peterson talks about becoming a subversive pastor. He isn't talking about subverting anything more or less than the human heart.
It's necessary because so often, we think our hearts are fine. We “think the church is already the kingdom of God . . . ” and we are often surprised to find it isn't! We forget the church is made up of men and women who are still too much in the world, too much of the world.
We don't want to give up our familiarity with all the world we see has to offer – its entertainments, its fashions, its opinions – but then we wonder why, as Christians, we aren't more, well, Christian.
Peterson suggests a good pastor will subvert such a heart, come at it with prayer and parable, hoping to somehow remind us that the real world, the one that matters most, is not the one we see, but the one God calls us to create right here where we live, in the midst of the world we see.
Prayer and parable – being in conversation with God, and listening to His stories – call us to turn away from what is shallow, what is fleeting, what is worth-less, and turn to what is lovely, what is true, and noble, and pure.