What does “a long obedience” mean?

September 21, 2021

“The essential thing in ‘heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

This profound quote, surprisingly penned by the famed atheist philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, inspired the title of Eugene Peterson’s devotional: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society.

In this Christian classicPeterson uses Psalms 120-134 to articulate the virtues and qualities of Christian discipleship: repentance, providence, worship, service, help, security, joy, work, happiness, perseverance, hope, humility, obedience, community, and blessing.

At the Campolo Center for Ministry, experience tells us that what a student learns in the classroom must be practiced in the street and what is learned in the street must inform what is taught in the classroom.

Our training and mentorship program, therefore, provides each scholar with the form of discipleship that Peterson teaches – the opportunities needed to put what they learn into practice. It is our goal that every scholar be personally, relationally, spiritually, and financially equipped for their vocation upon graduating. As the Campolo Scholars embark on a new year at Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary, we have adopted A Long Obedience in the Same Direction as our theme for the year.

Perhaps you are considering what these spiritual practices might look like for you. I encourage you to join us by reading along this year.

While we encourage the long obedience of the Campolo Scholars, we are also mindful of the longevity of the supporters who make this ministry possible. Whether monthly, quarterly, or annually, the faithful support of our donors is an encouragement and blessing to Tony and the Campolo Scholars.

As you read about the Scholars (and more!) in the weeks ahead, I would humbly ask that you prayerfully consider whether the Spirit is prompting you to make a monthly commitment to the Campolo Center for Ministry.

We thank God for the Campolo Scholars, for the strategic Christian community at Eastern, and for your continued support of such a wonderful partnership in the Gospel. God bless you!