Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship and Direction

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"The modern world has taught us to value autonomy and individualism. Our churches often see spirituality as personal and private. But we cannot go long in our Christian pilgrimage before realizing that isolation leads to spiritual barrenness. We soon discover that our souls long for accompaniment, intimacy and spiritual friendship. As a result, many Christians today are rediscovering the ancient practice of spiritual direction." "In this guide, David Benner introduces readers to the riches of spiritual friendship and direction, explaining what
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Overview

"The modern world has taught us to value autonomy and individualism. Our churches often see spirituality as personal and private. But we cannot go long in our Christian pilgrimage before realizing that isolation leads to spiritual barrenness. We soon discover that our souls long for accompaniment, intimacy and spiritual friendship. As a result, many Christians today are rediscovering the ancient practice of spiritual direction." "In this guide, David Benner introduces readers to the riches of spiritual friendship and direction, explaining what they are and how they are practiced. Spiritual direction moves beyond mere moral lifestyle accountability and goes deeper than popular notions of mentoring or discipling. Through prayerful, guided attunement to God's activity, sacred companions provide care for the soul." If we are to experience significant spiritual formation and growth, our souls must be nurtured through spiritual companions. Benner, well-accustomed to God's work through relationships, models the kind of traveling companion who can move us toward deeper intimacy with God.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spiritual direction is in vogue, although like so many other practices found in contemporary spiritual expression, it's a time-honored discipline for spiritual development. Benner, with impressive credentials in depth-psychology and psychoanalysis and author or editor of multiple books in the field, gives evangelical Christians a gentle introduction to spiritual direction and friendship, and to the mystical knowledge of God in which these practices are rooted. He acknowledges early in the book the skepticism of his intended audience. "Protestants are often suspicious of mysticism," he writes, linking this observation to a criticism of excessively intellectual processing of God's word as revealed in the Bible and as proclaimed from the pulpit by centuries of preachers. There is another way of knowing God, Benner suggests, and spiritual direction is a useful and legitimate tool for working toward this theologically unimpeachable aim. He uses the Protestant-friendly language of "spiritual discipline" and "prayer" and widens the meaning of these terms by adding Catholic figures such as Ignatius Loyola, Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen to the mix. He also draws upon early Christian history and its practice of centering prayer. His writing is occasionally repetitive and abstract too many words circling around a core of meaning. On the whole, however, Benner's book represents a vital attempt to stoke the fire of spirit in order to grow in Christian faith. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830823420
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.93 (d)

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