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A Burning in My Bones

The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message

Winn Collier

About A Burning in My Bones

This essential authorized biography of Eugene Peterson offers unique insights into the experiences and spiritual convictions of the iconic American pastor and beloved translator of The Message.  

“In the time of a generation-wide breakdown in trust with leaders in every sphere of society, Eugene’s quiet life of deep integrity and gospel purpose is a bright light against a dark backdrop.”—John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

“This hunger for something radical—something so true that it burned in his bones—was a constant in Eugene’s life. His longing for God ignited a ferocity in his soul.”  

Encounter the multifaceted life of one of the most influential and creative pastors of the past half century with unforgettable stories of Eugene’s lifelong devotion to his craft and love of language, the influences and experiences that shaped his unquenchable faith, the inspiration for his decision to translate The Message, and his success and struggles as a pastor, husband, and father.  

Author Winn Collier was given exclusive access to Eugene and his materials for the production of this landmark work. Drawing from his friendship and expansive view of Peterson’s life, Collier offers an intimate, beautiful, and earthy look into a remarkable life.
 
For Eugene, the gifts of life were inexhaustible: the glint of fading light over the lake; a kiss from his wife, Jan; a good joke; a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. As you enter into his story, you’ll find yourself doing the same—noticing how the most ordinary things shimmer with a new and unexpected beauty.

Praise

“Winn Collier captures Eugene Peterson’s sense of wonder over the presence of God and the radiance of Scripture. Through A Burning in My Bones, you’ll learn to experience life through Eugene’s eyes: dig deep, look for what is real, find the sacred in the rough and ordinary, and live like God is real.”—Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker and lead pastor of National Community Church

“How do you reduce into words the vital reality of this man, scholar, searcher, teacher, and faithful friend? Eugene was a man who brought Scripture to fresh life for me and millions of others—who else would invite the phrase Holy Luck into a retelling of the Beatitudes? Winn Collier’s skilled storytelling weaves the threads of Eugene’s life into something fitting, like the prayer shawl he wore in his study every day.”—Luci Shaw, Regent College writer in residence and author of The Generosity poems

“I knew Eugene Peterson for thirty years, or at least I thought I did. He didn’t talk much, especially about himself. I knew nothing about his mouse tattoo, his Pentecostal mother’s radio program, the abysmal failure of his first church plant attempt, his friendship with a young Pat Robertson, or his square dancing prowess. Somehow Winn Collier ferreted out the little known facts about Eugene that, taken together, complete the picture of a humble, gentle giant who brought the Bible to new life for millions and became an inspirational model for beleaguered pastors everywhere.”—Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing About Grace

“Captivating from the first page, Collier’s artful storytelling immerses us into the life of a spiritual sage. With a gentle hand, he weaves together moments and words and letters and prayers, drawing out themes like threads in a tapestry, never imposing a narrative. In these pages, we go beyond The Message and the pastor, and meet the human in all his earthiness and holiness. This is a work of art worthy of the man who wanted to be a saint.”—Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor of New Life Church and author of Blessed Broken Given

“In the time of a generation-wide breakdown in trust with leaders in every sphere of society, Eugene’s quiet life of deep integrity and gospel purpose is a bright light against a dark backdrop. For years his life has been the North Star for my life and pastoral call. This seminal biography is an unmistakable call to quiet resistance against the way of the world and, when necessary, the way of the church. Only read this book if you’re ready to live differently.”—John Mark Comer, pastor for teaching and vision at Bridgetown Church and author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

About Winn Collier

In addition to A Burning in My Bones, Winn Collier has authored four books (Restless Faith, Let God: The Transforming Wisdom of François Fénelon, Holy Curiosity, and Love Big, Be Well) and contributed to numerous other volumes. He has written for multiple periodicals including Christianity Today, Christian Century, Relevant, and the Washington Post.
 
A pastor for twenty-five years, Winn was the founding pastor of All Souls Charlottesville in Virginia. He now directs the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination at Western Theological Seminary in Michigan. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia, where he focused on the intersection of religion and literary fiction. Winn and his wife, Miska, a spiritual director, live in Holland, Michigan, with their two sons.

Product Details

368 pages | Published by WaterBrook

On Sale Date: Mar 23, 2021

Trim Size: 6 x 9

Carton Quantity: 12

Sneak Peek

Start reading A Burning In My Bones This essential authorized biography of Eugene Peterson offers unique insights into the experiences and spiritual convictions of the iconic American pastor and beloved translator of The Message. “This hunger for something radical—something so true that it burned in his bones—was a constant in Eugene’s life. His longing for God ignited a ferocity in his soul.” Encounter the multifaceted life of one of the most influential and creative pastors of the past half century with unforgettable stories of his lifelong devotion to his craft and love of language, the influences and experiences that shaped his unquenchable faith, the inspiration for his decision to translate The Message, and his success and struggles as a pastor, husband, and father. Author Winn Collier was given exclusive access to Eugene and his materials for the production of this landmark work. Drawing from his friendship and expansive view of Peterson’s life, Collier offers an intimate look into a rare, remarkable life that is at once artful, sacred, and earthy. For Eugene, the gifts of life were inexhaustible: the glint of fading light over the lake, a kiss from Jan, a good joke, a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. As you enter into his story, you’ll find yourself doing the same—noticing how the most ordinary things shimmer with a new and unexpected beauty.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chelsea Woodward, Publicist
cwoodward@penguinrandomhouse.com / (719) 268-1915
 
“Winn Collier’s telling of Eugene Peterson’s story is elegant and profound, richly researched and thoughtfully composed…If you want to remind yourself in this distressing time what it means to be wise and generous and good, I cannot recommend a better book.”
—Timothy Dalrymple, CEO of Christianity Today

“Readers unfamiliar with this spiritual giant who was friends with Bono will enjoy the introduction, while Peterson's fans will love this biography that acknowledges even his faults and failings with reverence.” –Booklist


A BURNING IN MY BONES
By Winn Collier
A WaterBrook Hardcover | On Sale 3/23/21 
On October 22, 2018, Christians around the world mourned the death of Eugene Peterson, iconic pastor, author, and beloved translator of The Message Bible. Across the last half century, Peterson had become a trusted voice, a source of abundant wisdom, and a man regarded by many as “America’s Pastor.” But less well known is the life behind his remarkable legacy, a journey that took “Gene” from a butcher’s son in Montana to becoming one of the most influential faith figures of our time.
 
In A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson, Translator of The Message (3/23/21, WaterBrook), author Winn Collier draws on his years-long friendship with Peterson, extensive personal interviews, and access to his journals, letters, and photos to offer an exclusive, intimate look into Peterson’s life that is artful, sacred, and earthy. He takes readers back to Peterson’s humble beginnings in the wilds of the American West, explores the shaping influences on his faith and biblical study, and details his success and struggles as a pastor, husband, and father. Readers also get a behind-the-scenes look at Peterson’s other personal relationships, including his unlikely friendship with Bono, lead singer of U2. 
 
In addition to highlighting his role as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian, a congregation he served for nearly 30 years, this narrative gives particular attention to Peterson as a writer and his devotion to that craft. It answers questions such as: What inspired him to translate The Message? Who were the writers who impacted his faith and life? How did he deal with discouragement or setback? What struggles and frustrations did he encounter?
 
Ministry leaders and readers of Peterson’s nearly 40 works—including The Message which has sold over 20 million copies—have long been intrigued by his rich theology and thoughtful insights. As they enter into his story, they will find themselves deeply inspired by the man behind the acclaimed books, accolades, and public appearances—the man who beautifully showed what it means to live in faithful presence with God. 

“It’s powerful to encounter a person of substance and discover, in his most interior world, genuine gratitude and humility,” writes Collier. “Eugene carried no false modesty, no tempering of his achievements or attempts to appear small. He simply lived in a very large world (God’s world), and in this largeness, everything whether mundane or marvelous, evoked wonder.”

For more information, visit www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In addition to A Burning in My Bones, Winn Collier has authored four books (Restless Faith, Let God: The Transforming Wisdom of François Fénelon, Holy Curiosity, and Love Big, Be Well) and contributed to numerous other volumes. He has written for multiple periodicals including Christianity Today, Christian Century, Relevant, and the Washington Post.
 
A pastor for 25 years, Collier was the founding pastor of All Souls Charlottesville in Virginia. He now directs the Eugene Peterson Center for Christian Imagination at Western Theological Seminary in Michigan. He holds a PhD from the University of Virginia, where he focused on the intersection of religion and literary fiction. Collier and his wife, Miska, a spiritual director, live in Holland, Michigan, with their two sons.

ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR A BURNING IN MY BONES
 
“In the time of a generation-wide breakdown in trust with leaders in every sphere of society, Eugene’s quiet life of deep integrity and gospel purpose is a bright light against a dark backdrop. For years his life has been the North Star for my life and pastoral call. This seminal biography is an unmistakable call to quiet resistance against the way of the world and, when necessary, the way of the church. Only read this book if you’re ready to live differently.”
—John Mark Comer, pastor for teaching and vision at Bridgetown Church and author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
 
“Winn Collier captures Eugene Peterson’s sense of wonder over the presence of God and the radiance of Scripture. Through A Burning in My Bones, you’ll learn to experience life through Eugene’s eyes: dig deep, look for what is real, find the sacred in the rough and ordinary, and live like God is real.”
—Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker and lead pastor of National Community Church
 
“How do you reduce into words the vital reality of this man, scholar, searcher, teacher, and faithful friend? Eugene was a man who brought Scripture to fresh life for me and millions of others—who else would invite the phrase Holy Luck into a retelling of the Beatitudes? Winn Collier’s skilled storytelling weaves the threads of Eugene’s life into something fitting, like the prayer shawl he wore in his study every day.”
—Luci Shaw, Regent College writer in residence and author of The Generosity poems
 
“I knew Eugene Peterson for thirty years, or at least I thought I did. He didn’t talk much, especially about himself. I knew nothing about his mouse tattoo, his Pentecostal mother’s radio program, the abysmal failure of his first church plant attempt, his friendship with a young Pat Robertson, or his square dancing prowess. Somehow Winn Collier ferreted out the little known facts about Eugene that, taken together, complete the picture of a humble, gentle giant who brought the Bible to new life for millions and became an inspirational model for beleaguered pastors everywhere.”
—Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing About Grace
 
“When a book begins with a map, you know it’s going to be good. When it’s a biography of a Christian thinker, it’s even better. A map means place and embodied experience are going to be part of his story of faith. In the same way Peterson’s words welcomed us to walk in the world of the Bible, Collier’s words welcome us into Peterson’s world, with warmth and generosity. As we spend time in the presence of Peterson, we catch glimpses of the Presence that animated his entire life.”
—Mandy Smith, author of The Vulnerable Pastor and pastor of University Christian Church
 
“Eugene Peterson’s was a momentous life. He held together so much we pull apart: academia and the church, the liberal mainline and evangelicalism, the mystical and the rustic, Hebrew grammar and Dostoyevsky, Jesus and his creation. Now Eugene’s life has a suitably momentous biography—an unassuming setting from which this jewel of a life shines. Whether you are a Peterson junkie or have never bought one of his twenty-two million books sold (to date), you will find yourself drawn in and delighted.”
—Jason Byassee, Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation at Vancouver School of Theology and editor, with Roger Owens, of Pastoral Work: Engagements with the Vision of Eugene Peterson
 
A Burning in My Bones is an intimate portrait of one of the greatest spiritual writers of a generation. But in these pages, Eugene Peterson isn’t enshrined. To read Collier’s sweeping biography is to understand Peterson’s faithfulness as something earthy, even imitable. Every chapter inspires our own courage for the long obedience of faith. In short, this isn’t a book that simply sketches a life; it’s a book that makes one long to be saint.” 
—Jen Pollock Michel, author of Surprised by Paradox

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