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Regent College Establishes Eugene and Jan Peterson Chair in Theology and the Arts | Alive Literary

Regent College Establishes Eugene and Jan Peterson Chair in Theology and the Arts


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada–October 25, 2013 — Regent College today announced the establishment of the Eugene and Jan Peterson Chair in Theology and the Arts.

“In filling this chair with someone with expertise in both arts and theology, we will continue a long tradition at Regent College where the arts are not seen strictly as entertainment or idiosyncrasy, but as one of the areas where God is working in powerful ways in this culture,” said President Ron Wilson.

Eugene and Jan Peterson have long sought to re-imagine pastoral theology through the world of the arts. In Dr. Peterson’s remarks, he stated that, “Theology is the North Pole and Art the South Pole of the Christian Life.  Theology is the study of what God does and says;  Art is what people do and say in the entire context of what God does and says.  We need both poles to comprehend the Christian Life:  the North Pole of God’s revelation and the South Pole of our participation in that revelation . . . .

“Art uses the stuff of God’s creation  (form, color, sound, touch, taste) in such ways that our imaginations are enabled to apprehend and respond to the invisible . . . to be present to the God who is present to us.  Every work of art— a sonata by Mozart, a painting by Rouault, a sculpture by Rodin, a poem by Luci Shaw, a song by Bono—is a way of keeping us intent and attentive to all that is around us and in us:  faces, flowers, animals, clouds, music, dance—whatever.”

Eugene Peterson was the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College from 1993 to 1998. In addition to being a poet, author, and scholar, Dr. Peterson is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Maryland, where he pastored for twenty-nine years. Dr. Peterson has written numerous books including The Pastor: A Memoir, The Jesus Way, Practice Resurrection, Leap Over a Wall, and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. He is perhaps best known for his paraphrase of the Bible, The Message.

Alive Communications President Rick Christian reminisced about his long relationship with the Petersons, which has spanned over two decades: “I’m thrilled that Eugene and Jan Peterson are being recognized in this way. It’s been an honor to walk side by side with them through the years, helping to bring The Message to life, and most recently, Eugene’s memoir, The Pastor. Jan and Eugene, more than anyone I know, embody the practice of spiritual theology, discovering the divine in the ‘dailyness’ of life. ”–DC

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