Also Available: Tell It Slant Study Guide
Just as God used words both to create the world and to give us commandments, we too use words for many different purposes. In fact, we use the same language to talk to each other and to talk to God. Can our everyday speech, then, be just as important as the words and prayers we hear from the pulpit? Eugene Peterson unequivocally says “Yes!”Tell It Slant
explores how Jesus used language -- he was earthy, not abstract; metaphorical, not dogmatic. His was not a direct language of information or instruction but an indirect, oblique language requiring a participating imagination -- “slant” language. In order to witness and teach accurately in Jesus' name, then, it is important for us to use language the way he did.
Part 1 focuses on Jesus' words in everyday contexts -- his teachings to the crowds, the stories he told, his conversations with his disciples. Part 2 shifts the focus to Jesus' prayers -- the words he spoke to God the Father.
Peterson's Tell It Slant
promises to deepen our understanding of Jesus' words, strengthen our awareness of language as a gift of God, and nurture our efforts to make all of our speech convey a blessing to others.
“Language -- given to us to glorify God, to receive the revelation of God, to witness to the truth of God, to offer praise to God -- is constantly at risk. Too often the living word is desiccated into propositional cadavers, then sorted into exegetical specimens in bottles of formaldehyde. We end up with godtalk. . . . My concern is that we use God's gift of language in consonance with the God who speaks. Jesus is the primary person with whom we have to do in this business. Jesus most of all. Jesus, the Word made flesh. . . . I want to nurture an awareness of the sanctity of words, the holy gift of language whether it is directed vertically or horizontally. Just as Jesus did.”
-- from the introduction
AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
Christianity Today, Award of Merit, Spirituality (2009)
Arthur Paul Boers
— author of The Way Is Made by Walking
"Winsome and wise as ever, Eugene Peterson considers the words of the Word made flesh. His probing of the parables and prayers of Jesus will inform and inspire all who love the Gospels. Peterson has far too many masterpieces to determine which are his 'top ten.' Suffice it to say that this volume is among the vast collection of his very best."
Peter W. Marty
— Grace Matters Radio
"If books were priced according to the linguistic care with which their sentences were assembled, this volume would be priceless. Eugene Peterson strikes forcefully at theological abstraction and sentimental godtalk, offering a provocative treatise on the conversational giftedness of Jesus. . . A compendium of marvelous insights for rethinking our own expressions of faith."
Susan S. Phillips
— author of Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction
"Few persons have so lived in and with the language of Jesus as Eugene Peterson. Here he explores the common speech of the Bible, masterfully exercising God's gift of language so that Jesus' words of storytelling and prayer dazzle us gradually with truth. Jesus speaks directly to us through this book, as we loiter with him on the road, at the table, and in the garden. Tell It Slant sheds light on this soil-blanketed kingdom in which we speak, live, move, and have our being, providing encouragement for prayer, nourishment for the journey of faith, and the wellspring of true community. A hearty feast for mind and soul, to be enjoyed time and again."
Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"Peterson's greatest gift is his ability to write about such ideas as sin, repentance, grace and glory in masterfully simple—and concrete—ways."