by Tiffany Randall Su, Langham Partnership International
He’s a Presbyterian pastor of a church in Rio de Janeiro that he planted ten years ago. He is also the Spiritual Leader of Renovare Brazil, a Christian organization committed to starting a spiritual formation movement in Brazil. And he still finds time to teach university-level classes on corporative sustainability and spirituality in the context of corporative world. But perhaps Eduardo Pedreira’s most important achievement in the next two years is writing – as recipient of a grant from the Langham Writers program – about the critical need for deep spiritual formation in Brazil. In this recent interview, Eduardo tells about the lost spiritual wisdom of his country, and how he along with 30 other pastors are using writing and retreats to launch a spiritual journey – the journey of a few dozen men that hopefully transforms into a spiritual movement for all of Latin America.
To begin, please tell me a little about your spiritual history. Did you come from a family of believers, how did you come to faith in Jesus Christ and when and how did you receive a calling to ministry?
I was a born in a typical Brazilian Catholic family, attending a church twice a year (Easter and Christmas) and once in a while going to a priest for sin confession. In my teen years, I moved out from my hometown to another city in order to attend a high school. After settling down I was invited to go to a Presbyterian church that, back then, was experiencing a spiritual revival among the youth. In the context of that outstanding revival, I surrendered myself to Christ, and under a juvenile, evangelistic-mystic driving force, I had one of the best seasons of my spiritual life. I was seventeen and in a spiritual retreat in the mountains; during a midnight prayer meeting that took place nearby a small river, I felt the God’ s voice calling me to the ministry.
What is your book about?
Starting at 4th century and spreading its influence in the next nine centuries of the Church’s history, the monastic spirituality was the most influential force that shaped the Christian life, devotion and even theology in this time frame. There is a tremendous spiritual wisdom in the monastic spirituality that has been lost, either by lack of knowledge or bias against it. The main goal of my book is to rediscover this lost treasure and connect it with our spiritual formation process today. I intend to demonstrate how some aspects of this spirituality can help us as Christians in urban and postmodern society. I have three public targets: people in our churches who are struggling to increase their spiritual growth in the midst of a stressful and busy lifestyle in our urban venues; pastors and leaders who are in charge of the local churches; and theology students preparing themselves to became future pastors.
How did you identify the 30 pastors from across Brazil who are participating in the development of your manuscript?
This group of pastors is a result of friendship. I invited some friends who invited other friends and unexpectedly we gathered the group. I invited them to “walk” with me on a spiritual journey of three years based on the content of the book. This journey includes a three-day spiritual retreat twice a year. Two weeks before the retreat days, I sent chapters of the book to all participants. They read it and then during the retreat, we take opportunity to look deep in the content. Then I will revise the content in order to reflect their contributions.
What do you hope that these pastors will be able to take back to their congregations as a result of this experience? What is the potential for impact on their communities?
My book will engage these pastors in a deep conversation with both God and their souls. I strongly believe that in some aspects their congregations will gain a renewed pastor. As a natural outcome of this process, the congregation might have the opportunity to explore renewed spiritual journey.
Can you give me a specific example of how a pastor’s experience of the practice of spiritual disciplines has informed or shaped the content of your manuscript?
For instance one of the chapters is about how to live under a rule of life. I would like to see how the pastors would react to this. Considering that informality and spontaneity are major traits in our culture, I foresee some interesting reactions. I believe that the wide variety of personalities and views will enrich so much the content of the book, giving me perspectives that I would never get on my own.
Do you have a title yet? When is it scheduled to be published?
I don’t have a title yet! I want to finish the manuscripts in this coming June and to have it published in the June of 2013. After the book comes out, in July 2013, we will have an international retreat totally based on the book content.
As I understand it, Renovare’s mission is to encourage individuals and churches to develop renewed, sustainable, and enriched spiritual lives. When and how did you begin to sense the need for this specific movement in your country?
In the last four decades, the Protestant church became one of the fastest growing phenomenons in the Brazilian society. Brazil used to be the world’s biggest Catholic country. Forty years ago, Protestantism represented only 5 percent of our entire population. Nowadays, as a result of an unpredictable growth, we have become almost 25 percent. Unfortunately this outstanding numerical growth was not able to produce authentic Christ followers. As soon as I realized the spiritual paradox that we are living in Brazil (there is spirituality all over, but we lack spiritual formation), I saw a deep need for a spiritual formation movement.
Is there anything else you would like to share? How can we be praying for you?
Please pray that God give me discernment, strength, courage, love to fulfill his calling for my life.
Langham Writers are supported by Langham Partnership International’s Literature program. Langham Literature works with writers in Majority-World markets to produce quality texts for pastors and students that are appropriate to their contexts. For more information or to learn how you can help support important Majority World writers like Eduardo, visit http://www.langhampartnership.org/literature/.
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