Scholarly, yet accessible, Leech's book explores the range of issues that concern both directors and those who seek direction: the history of spiritual direction, the relationship between director and directee, the practice of prayer in the Christian spiritual tradition, and the role of the spiritual director, not just for the individual but in the larger society. Using contemporary theories in the field of psychology and spiritual practice, Leech never loses sight of the richness of ancient understandings.
In 1977, Kenneth Leech wrote the book Soul Friend, which quickly became one of the classic contemporary explorations of the Christian practice of spiritual direction. Out of print for many years, a revised edition of this book, mildly updated to include changes in the spiritual climate since 1977, is now available. Leech's scholarly, yet accessible, exploration examines the climate in which spiritual direction takes place today-the influence of the drug culture of the 1960's, Eastern influences on prayer and spiritual practice, the Pentecostal movement, and others. He then provides background on the history of spiritual direction, both Protestant and Catholic, from the earliest Church through the twentieth century. Leech also explores other questions of interest to directors and those seeking out direction: the relationship between counseling and direction; the practice of prayer in Christian spiritual tradition; and the prophetic role of the spiritual director, not just for the individual but for the larger society. An excellent course book, and a fascinating book for those contemplating direction, Soul Friend will continue to be a classic for years to come.
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