Chapter 2, “The Pastoral Work of Story-Making: Ruth” (Loc. 683-1087)
Peterson views the pastor’s move from chancel to narthex as very difficult. In the chancel everything was ordered, neat and tidy. In the narthex he runs into the challenges of life (Loc. 697). “Ruth is a particularly useful book for the narthex, for the story is placed in ‘the times the judges judged,’ a notoriously disordered age” (Loc. 719). It is not who Ruth is or who the people of Israel are which makes them important. It is what God has done and declared (Loc. 746). Israel was aware of this aspect of life, which spurred them to write history. “This historical consciousness of Israel, made frm the stuff of election and covenant, has been thoroughly discussed by biblical scholars and does not need further elaboration here” (Loc. 772). Yet Ruh was historically read at Pentecost, a time when the people would be reminded by their own work of God’s work gathering a people.
Peterson finds it important that Ruth is in essence a short story, not a didactic text - as with real life, we get to interpret the story. Peterson elaborates on this at some length, then ties the idea to the give and take found in pastoral counseling and visitation.