Eugene Peterson may be best known for his work on The Message: a paraphrase of the Bible in more modern English. But before he worked on The Message, he was already putting the Bible into modern English in his weekly sermons. As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a collection of 49 of these sermons.
Peterson says, “When I prepare and preach a sermon, I need constant reminding that I am part of a company that has a rich and varied genealogy. I do not start from scratch. I do not make up something new.” These sermons are divided into seven categories, in which Peterson states he is “preaching in the company of Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John.”
To be honest with you, this collection of sermons was a bit of a disappointment to me. I was anticipating sermons that were much more expositional in nature, but instead I read sermons which were Peterson’s poetic thoughts about a passage of Scripture. I found this curious since Peterson himself says in the introduction to this book that “the Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence…between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation” (emphasis mine). And yet I found in these sermons very few details to actually attend to and live out.
If you prefer poetic discussions of Scripture in which you will have to find your own way of applying biblical principles to your life, you will probably enjoy this collection. But if you are looking for a meatier walk through the Bible, these sermons will probably leave you—as they did me—a bit flat.
I am a WaterBrook book reviewer.