Dr. Peterson is a fascinating man. When we began our conversation I was blindsided by his willingness to reveal, without hesitation, his journey. What was even more fascinating was the reasoning behind his placing words on a page that were and still are today.... transformational.
Rick: When did you first realize that you had the ability to write in ways that were transforming?
Dr. Peterson: Since being in school, high school, I had the sense I was a writer. Writing would be part of my life. I thought I’d be a novelist.
I liked books and study. I thought I’d be a professor. I had no thoughts of being a pastor. I went to church and was a Christian but pastoring just didn’t seem exciting.
I went on to seminary. I loved theology and biblical studies. I was teaching Greek and Hebrew at my seminary. They weren’t paying much and the baby was coming. I took a job as associate pastor and for the first time in my life I was around a pastor who was a man of God. I realized I didn’t know there was work like this. I sensed I had been a pastor my whole life. Suddenly I was in the midst of the action, people doing real life, struggling. This energized me. After a couple of years I realized I wasn’t a professor, I was a pastor. When I became a pastor I started writing for pastors.
Writing grew out of me naturally. Writer and pastor were not separate things for me. One led into the other.
Rick: Who encouraged you to write your first book and how did it feel when you realized the magnitude of the project you were about to do?
Dr. Peterson: No one encouraged me. I was learning how to be a pastor and writing my way into that. My first book came out of a confirmation class. I wrote a curriculum for a confirmation class. I realized these kids were getting it. I started gathering the parents together every week. They were seeing kids as problems they had to fix. I was trying to get them to see their kids as gifts. When they started seeing their kids companions in the growing up business it changed everything. I realized that these are the people I wanted to write for, people seeking their identity in Christ.