Spiritual Care Resources - page 2
The following list includes books recommended by members of the Spiritual Care Committee as resources for individuals, small group studies, and local churches.
The World’s Religions
The World’s Religions, by beloved author and pioneering professor Huston Smith (Tales of Wonder), is the definitive classic for introducing the essential elements and teachings of the world's predominant faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as regional native traditions.
This revised and updated edition provides sympathetic descriptions of the various traditions, explaining how they work “from the inside,” which is a big reason why this cherished classic has sold more than two million copies since it first appeared in 1958.
Practicing Discernment Together
To discern is to hear and understand God's voice as articulated by the Holy Spirit, resident within us. Discernment is a necessary precondition for faithfulness to God's leadings. This is as true for groups as it is for individuals, which means it is true for congregations and businesses that want to obey Christ....Group discernment is an essential ingredient of anything that Christ's followers seek to do together. Even the smallest Bible study group or informal gathering makes decisions. That decision making carries with it the potential of strengthening the spiritual depth of each member of the group--but it also makes misunderstanding, division, and even the complete destruction of the group possible.
Celebration of Discipline
Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth is hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality with millions of copies sold since its original publication in 1978.
In Celebration of Discipline, Foster explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith to show how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life.
Foster, the bestselling author of several books (Prayer and Streams of Living Water) and intrachurch movement founder of Renovaré, helps motivate Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.
A Hidden Wholeness
In A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer reveals the same compassionate intelligence and informed heart that shaped his best-selling books Let Your Life Speak and The Courage to Teach. Here he speaks to our yearning to live undivided lives—lives that are congruent with our inner truth—in a world filled with the forces of fragmentation.
Mapping an inner journey that we take in solitude and in the company of others, Palmer describes a form of community that fits the limits of our active lives. Defining a “circle of trust” as “a space between us that honors the soul,” he shows how people in settings ranging from friendship to organizational life can support each other on the journey toward living “divided no more.”
The time is past, says Bruce Bawer, when denominational names and other traditional labels provided an accurate reflection of Christian America's religious beliefs and practices. The meaningful distinction today is not between Protestant and Catholic, or Baptist and Episcopalian, but rather between "legalistic" and "nonlegalistic" religion, between the Church of Law and the Church of Love. On one side is the fundamentalist right, which draws a sharp distinction between "saved" and "unsaved" and worships a God of wrath and judgment; on the other are more mainstream Christians who view all humankind as children of a loving God who calls them to break down barriers of hate, prejudice, and distrust.
Pointing out that the supposedly "traditional" beliefs of American fundamentalism—about which most mainstream Christians, clergy included, know shockingly little—are in fact of relatively recent origin, are distinctively American in many ways, and are dramatically at odds with the values that Jesus actually spread, Bawer fascinatingly demonstrates the way in which these beliefs have increasingly come to supplant genuinely fundamental Christian tenets in the American church and to become synonymous with Christianity in the minds of many people.
Creating a Healthier Church
Ronald W. Richardson helps us to understand how congregations function emotionally. Without being simplistic, he gives clear directions on how to improve their quality of life together and function more effectively in achieving mission goals. This book offers: A theory about human behavior that will aid understanding of how things can get out of control in the human community of the church; A practical set of leadership ideas and behaviors; Guidelines for how to behave in the midst of upsetting and conflictual circumstances; Personal steps that leaders in the church can take to become more positive forces for healing and cooperation.
A Convergent Model of Renewal
A Convergent Model of Renewal addresses a perceived crisis for faith traditions. How do we continue to value tradition while allowing for innovative and contextual expressions of faith to emerge? How do we foster deeper participation and decentralization of power rather than entrenched institutionalism? Drawing on insights from contemporary philosophy, contextual theology, and participatory culture, C. Wess Daniels calls for a revitalization of faith traditions. In A Convergent Model of Renewal he proposes a model that holds together both tradition and innovation in ways that foster participatory change. This convergent model of renewal is then applied to two case studies based in the Quaker tradition: one from the early part of the tradition and the second from an innovative community today. The model, however, is capable of being implemented and adapted by communities with various faith backgrounds.