Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices
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InterVarsity Press / 2004 / Paperback
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Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices

InterVarsity Press / 2004 / Paperback

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Product Description

Representatives of each major Christian tradition---Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Reformed, Wesleyan-Holiness, Social Justice, and Pentecostal/Charismatic---give their take on how to bring people to deeper maturity through the role of a spiritual director. Features expert contributors. 276 pages, softcover. InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 254
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2004
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0830827773
ISBN-13: 9780830827770

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Publisher's Description

In recent years, many Christian clergy, laity and mental health professionals have rediscovered the ancient practices of spiritual direction. Seen as a refreshing alternative to the techniques and limitations of modern psychology, such practices offer new insights for pastoral care. But many remain unclear on what spiritual direction is and whether its methods are applicable to their own clients and parishioners. Spiritual direction is a practice of Christian soul care that is found most notably in the Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopal traditions but is also present in Wesleyan/Holiness, Pentecostal/charismatic, social justice and Reformed communities. Predating modern counseling and psychotherapy movements but sharing key principles and insights for spiritual formation, spiritual direction offers significant resources for today’s pastors, counselors, therapists, chaplains and other caregivers attuned to the work of God in people’s lives. In this landmark volume, editors Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner, along with a team of expert contributors, provide a comprehensive survey of spiritual direction in its myriad Christian forms. Specific chapters offer careful historical perspective and contemporary analysis of how Christians from various backgrounds have practiced spiritual direction, with particular attention to each tradition’s definition of spiritual direction, the process of authentic transformation, the role of the spiritual director, indicators of mature spirituality and other aspects of the spiritual direction process. Chapters also provide psychological and clinical insight into how spiritual direction is similar to, different from and can be integrated with psychotherapy and pastoral counseling to help others experience spiritual transformation and union with God.

Author Bio

Gary W. Moon (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is director of the Martin Family Institute and Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He served as distinguished professor of psychology and Christian spirituality at Richmont Graduate University. He has served as the editor in chief for the journal and the director of the Renovaré International Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. His books include and . David G. Benner (PhD, York University) is an internationally known depth psychologist, transformational coach and author whose life passion has been helping people walk the human path in a deeply spiritual way and the spiritual path in a deeply human way. Some of his books include , , and .

Editorial Reviews

"There is a tradition of wisdom about human life and the nature of change that has been lost to many of us in the evangelical community. Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls recaptures that wisdom from multiple perspectives and makes it available to us all. This is a rich resource for pastors, counselors, small group leaders and everyone interested in change."
Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls encourages us to respond to the cry of the wider Christian faith community for true transformation by examining our particular traditions-—not to erase the important differences among them, but to find commonalities and overarching direction. This book helps us see how soul care is understood and practiced in the larger Christian world and among related disciplines of spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, and psychotherapy.
"[This book] offers a sound alternative that taps into rich theological traditions and still seeks to answer questions that the modern soul is asking. . . . The book is more than a history lesson or a 'how to' guide. The book defines spiritual formation and direction, analyzes today's interest in spirituality and dares church leaders to pursue Christian soul care. . . . For pastors, counselors, laity, cell leaders, students and Christians seeking a deeper understanding of soul care, the pages serve as needed literature to define and train. The information can inspire more people to give, and receive, true care for today's souls.
"The variety of insightful authors brought together by the editors of this book offer the reader a unique and valuable perspective on the ways eight different Christian traditions understand and practice spiritual companionship, as well as elucidating the relation of this historic spiritual practice to modern pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. The book offers a distinctive contribution to the growing literature on this vital subject."
"Is anything more needed in our present culture than spiritual direction and soul care? I think not. So I'm elated with this comprehensive guide to spiritual direction. It is both theoretical and practical. I welcome it especially for pastors, professors and persons training for ministry. Only able advocates and practitioners of spiritual direction--Dr. Benner and Dr. Moon--could have put together this remarkable resource. I commend it."
"Gary W. Moon and David G. Benner are respected and visionary leaders in contemporary Christian soul care. Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand major traditions of spiritual direction and distinguish among psychotherapy, spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. History, wisdom, faith and compassion meet in the pages of this book."

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  1. Dr. Robert W. Kellemen
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 29, 2005
    Dr. Robert W. Kellemen
    "Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls" guides the reader on a historical journey exploring the depths of ancient spiritual direction. Editors Moon and Benner gather experts from seven classic Christian traditions (most of whom had written similar articles in earlier editions of "The Journal of Psychology and Theology"). Using the grid of Clebsch and Jaekle's "sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding," these authors explain the philosophy and process of spiritual direction as practiced over the past 2000 years of Church history. This excellent section is followed by one that some may see as not quite as strong. Here various authors explore the pros and cons of integrating spiritual direction into psychotherapy. At times, the discussion seems slanted toward a professional, therapeutic focus. That is, the 2000 years of spiritual direction detailed in the first section seems minimized by the concern to work within the boundaries of the ever-changing modern psychotherapeutic milieu. Perhaps this section would have been strengthened if equal weight had been given to integrating historical spiritual direction into modern pastoral and lay counseling. These seem to be places with great hope for constructive dialogue. A final intriguing chapter leaves the reader wishing for more of the same. Three writers from diverse backgrounds explore cases and how they might be handled from different perspectives in different settings. Perhaps a sequel (Volume 2?) could further develop this area, adding prescriptions for practical implementation to the books excellent theoretical orientation. Reviewer: Dr. Bob Kellemen, author of "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction" and "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
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