I’ve shared some of the highlights from Jordan Peterson on this site before. He’s blunt and able to hold his arguments about the role of men and women, the power of story, the battle in our minds for chaos and order and his thoughts on what is right and wrong with society.
From Irish Catholic:
Introducing Bishop Jordan Peterson by David Quinn
Peterson is an agnostic. The Bible to him is a collection of stories, but it is also a book of ancient, inherited wisdom which arises almost spontaneously out of the deep structures of the human mind. To him, ‘myths’ (as he sees them), are not false but are stories that explain the meaning of life to us. Again and again the peoples of the world, going back millennia, tell themselves stories that explain the world and the nature of existence to themselves.
We are story-telling creatures. We remember stories far more readily than we remember abstract lessons in philosophy. The best stories (or ‘myths’) are laden with meaning and Peterson approaches the Bible in this spirit.
Again, this is why Doidge’s explanation for the 40 years in the desert would appeal so greatly to him. Here we have a story which tells us something both simple and profound: it is extremely difficult to break out of bad habits and learn the lessons necessary to leading a fulfilling life.
What’s interesting about Peterson is that he does not set out to be liked or to be popular. He simply says it as he sees it, and if you like it, good, and if you don’t, well, so be it.
Watching Peterson on YouTube, and reading his new book, and listening to him talk about the Bible, I started to wonder in my mind what kind of bishop he would make. Such a person would be absolutely anathema to many of the current trends in theology and spirituality which boil down to a sort of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ approach to life. That is to say, if you are happy where you are, then that is fine and I’m here to help you should you ever need it.
A Bishop Peterson would pour scorn on this. He would want to know, objectively speaking, what your situation is. Are you really happy, or are you just pretending? Have you developed all kinds of illusions and bad habits that prevent you becoming the sort of person you ought to be, and what God would want you to be?
He would want to lead you to the right pasture, and not to what you think is the right pasture. Therefore, he would want the cohabiting couple to marry, and the distressed married couple to work out their differences. He would want men and women to raise their children together and stay together. His most constant message is to young men – ‘grow up’ – and young men do not shy away from this challenge. Instead they flock to him because he is a leader.
A Bishop Peterson would speak his mind. If he was interviewed on radio or television he would not seek to curry favour or offer any apologies for what he believes. (To see what I mean look up on YouTube his Channel 4 interview with Cathy Newman. It has been watched millions of times.)
A Bishop Peterson would be controversial and compelling. He would be popular and unpopular, and he would accept his unpopularity as the price to be paid for speaking your mind in a world that seeks to censor speech, especially politically incorrect speech. Much of what Christians believe (or are supposed to), now falls into this category and therefore most bishops avoid it for fear of causing offense.
A Bishop Peterson would believe there is far too high a price to be paid when you seek at all times to avoid sounding offensive; you become inauthentic and you win no-one’s respect. Far better and more authentic to say what you believe. But don’t say what you believe unless you can articulate it properly or you will simply make a fool of yourself and demoralise your own side.
A Bishop Peterson would be a prophetic figure, speaking the truth without fear or favour. There is little enough of that around at present, and this is especially true in a Church that has decided to present a ‘nice’, mostly inoffensive Gospel to the world. A Bishop Peterson would see this for what it is; untruthful. He would set out to speak the truth and suffer the consequences.
Curiously and paradoxically, doing so would also attract both respect, and a following.
Quinn, the author of this piece is worth a deeper look:
In many ways, we now live in one of the most risk-averse societies ever. I don’t just mean Ireland here, I mean the Western world in general. Health and safety campaigns abound. We are always being told to watch what we eat, what we drink, to take enough exercise so as to cut down our risk of falling into ill-health.Speed limits are being reduced all the time and the amount of alcohol we are allowed to consume before we drive is also being cut all the time.Parents are extremely anxious about their children. We have the phenomenon of the ‘helicopter’ parent who is always hovering over their children.Children are to be seen on the streets far less than in the past. This is only partly the result of game consoles and smart phones. The trend towards children staying indoors or being ferried from playdate to playdate or activity to activity has been in place for years. Parents worry about what might happen to their children if they let them roam the streets unsupervised……Christianity itself would never have left Jerusalem if the early disciples were not willing to risk martyrdom. They would still be in the upper room, hiding away from the crowd below.Jesus himself was always taking risks. The ultimate risk was to enter Jerusalem for Passover knowing his enemies were waiting for him and certain death awaited him.But again and again before that, he took risks in standing up to the religious authorities of his day.In almost every territory into which early Christianity expanded, missionaries ran the risk of death. Even if they were not violently killed, they risked death from the elements or local diseases. So yes, safety is important, but risk is also important. In fact, the world (and the Church) ultimately need risk-takers more than we need ultra-cautious people who put safety-first.