Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity: Psychological, Contemplative, and Moral Challenges in Christian Living

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Three 'windows' to spiritual maturity

How can a faithful Christian avoid stagnating in their spiritual development? Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity: Psychological, Contemplative, and Moral Challenges in Christian Living explores effective ways in which Christian discipleship can grow in spiritual maturity. This thoughtful, integrative roadmap explains the journey through three interrelated perspectives, or 'windows,' psychotherapeutic psychology, prayer and contemplation, and moral theology. The author uses numerous examples from everyday life to make the reflections interesting and practical. Unlike other books on Christian spirituality, this book is more challenging and sophisticated in its depth of thought.

Spiritual maturity is a process that begins when a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, and progresses ongoing through a Christian's life. Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity discusses in detail the challenges one must face, including the sustained, in-depth, and faithful attention to psychological wholeness, conversion to the true self, and interpersonal and social responsibility. Effective strategies are given through example and personal story, making understanding of the principles easier. This reflection on Christian maturity helps readers to focus directly on the personal issues all must face when attuning to the Spirit of Christ.

Topics in Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity include:

• reforming the wayward self
• moral or guilt-based perfectionism
• achievement or shame-based perfectionism
• the two types of conversion
• responsibility and accountability
• agape and the loving of oneself
• three virtues at the heart of the responsible life—integrity, courage, and compassion
• virtues as habits
• the relationship between personal fulfillment and the Christian vocation

Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity is a unique look at the path toward spiritual maturity, and is challenging, thoughtful reading for laypersons, ministers, priests, and theological students.

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What People Are Saying

Len Sperry
In an era when spirituality is too readily overly psychologized, Pembroke offers a BRILLIANT synthesis of the psychological, spiritual and moral dimensions of Christian maturity. The description of this integrative journey to wholeness is fully consistent with the best of the Christian tradition. ESSENTIAL READING for pastoral counselors, spiritually-sensitive psychotherapists, spiritual directors, and ministry personnel. (Len Sperry, MD, PhD, Clinical Professsor of Psyciatry, Medical College of Wisconsin; Author of Transforming Self and Community: Revisioning Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction)
Elisabeth McSherry
A FRESH VOICE FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HAS COURAGEOUSLY BROUGHT US A UNIQUE MODEL OF ADULT SPIRITUAL MATURITY. . . . Combines disciplined erudition with solid psychotherapeutic wisdom, laity-care, parish experience and practiced theological application, to tantalizingly synthesize a more comprehensive view of spiritual maturity. . . . A MUST-READ BOOK for those wishing to challenge society and individuals to a more healthy, and more normative life of the spirit. (Elisabeth McSherry, MD, MPH, National Research Consultant, National VA Chaplaincy; Emeritus Director National Decision Support System Development, VA; Emeritus Associate Professor, Dartmouth Medical School Dept of Family & Community Medicine)
Bruce Rumbold
OFFERS BOTH RESOURCES AND A GUIDE FOR THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. He draws upon a wide range of materials, popular and scholarly, sacred and secular, weaving these strands together with consummate skill, creating a conversation that is self-talk with a theological frame. Most importantly he shows us the warp and weft, pointing to the scholarship that supports or challenges popular accounts, the clashing concepts that can underlie apparent similar phraseology. We are encouraged to develop skills for the journey, not to adopt an unexamined technique. . . . Of particular interest to people who long for ways of speaking about the spiritual journey that do not uncritically embrace current self-psychologies on the one hand or theological pietism on the other. (Bruce Rumbold, MSc, PhD, BD(Hons), PhD, MA, Acting Director, Palliative Care Unit, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789033659
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/1/2007
  • Pages: 202
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Setting the Scene: Self-Fulfillment and Vocation
Psychological Approaches to Personal Fulfillment
Continuities and Discontinuities with the Christian Tradition
The Way of Love
Balancing Self-Giving and Self-Love

Chapter 2. Wholeness in the Community of the Self
The Self and Its Subselves
Freud and Berne on Suppression of Selves
Suppression of Selves and the Christian Life
Kohut and Jung on Disowning Selves
Working with Disowned Subselves
Morally Relevant Selves
The Spirit and the Christian's Moral Imperative

Chapter 3. Wholeness, Not Perfection
The Bind of Perfectionism
Christ and Individuation
Paul and the Inner Struggle
Reconciliation of Inner Opposites
Completeness in Christ

Chapter 4. Cognitive Reframing and Perfectionism
Guilt- and Shame-Based Perfectionism
The Basics of Cognitive Therapy
Dealing with Shame-Based Perfectionism

Chapter 5. Spirituality in the Everyday World
Spirituality and Nature
The Spirit of the City
A Spirituality of Time
Spirituality in Marriage and Family
Spirituality and Public Life

Chapter 6. Conversion to the True Self
True and False Selves
"Storied Prayer": Remembering, Attending, and Choosing

Chapter 7. Conversion to Compassion
Compassion in the Bible
Compassion As Hospitality
The Compassionate Community
Prayer As Solidarity

Chapter 8. Conscience and "Contrast Experiences"
Defining Conscience
Conscience and Vision
Conscience and Living a Vision for Discipleship

Chapter 9. The Agape Response
Outka and "Universal Love"
Post and "Communion"
Self-Sacrifice and Oppression

Chapter 10. The Virtues of Responsibility
Aristotle on Virtue
Aquinas on Virtue
The Virtuous Christian
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