This anthology offers clergy, laity, and professional counselors alike a multi-faceted, multi-denominational introduction to the purpose and process of spiritual direction. Despite its modern, 'faddish' ring, the practice enjoys a long and time-honored place in the Christian tradition, with roots in scripture and in the earliest history of the church. Editors Moon and Benner represent both this history and the proliferation of approaches in recent years by including chapters penned by experts from seven faith traditions: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Reformed, Wesleyan-Holiness, social justice (United Church of Christ), and Pentecostal. To help readers better compare approaches, each contributor addresses set topics (definitions, role of the spiritual director, hallmarks of spiritual maturity, etc.) and provides a short bibliography. This imposed template produces some uneven results, but a deep yearning for healing, spiritual transformation and, ultimately, union with God shines through each selection. Additional chapters help distinguish spiritual direction from psychotherapy and pastoral counseling. The editors deserve commendation for offering an overview both comprehensive and concise, and for their fine introduction, which stresses common ground (spiritual direction as a process of healing, sustaining, reconciling, and guiding) without glossing over the differences between Christian traditions. 254 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
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.