So little time, so many books.. and so much technology. I’ve come across a few more articles on the new iPad lately. One of these days I will get my hands on one. I notice that Apple has now released a new version of iPhone.
And mostly I am enjoying WIN 7. Occasionally I wonder if this is the last PC operating system I will install. Yes, with my daughters and many friends on the Mac, and now that I carry an iPod with me most places, I am on the slippery slope.
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Books – I am currently reading Embodying Our Faith, After You Believe, and Life in the Spirit. And The Leadership Ellipse arrived a few days ago. Did I mention that I am obsessive/compulsive? If I had a dollar for every time I almost blogged on After You Believe I would buy new tires for my car. This is an outstanding piece of work and should be read by anyone in pastoral leadership or parachurch discipling ministry.
Yesterday evening I was waiting for my wife after a meeting of the Metro women and I happened to have Life in the Spirit with me. This collection would be well worth the money for many who visit my blog. I just KNOW I have mentioned it previously. Ok, yes, HERE. I need to say a little more about this one for those who had not previously noticed it. The book grows out of the 2009 Wheaton Conference, and here is how Scot McKnight introduced it some months back. He writes,
“It’s not often that you can get a group of front-ranking theologians and scholars together to discuss spiritual formation, spiritual theology and what “life in the Spirit” means. But the Wheaton Theology Conference in 2009 did just that and this volume is the result: Life in the Spirit: Spiritual Formation in Theological Perspective . The book has good scholars and some great topics, and it never strays from developing a theology of spiritual formation.
“Gordon Fee, Dallas Willard, Lawrence Cunningham, Kelly Kapic, Chris Hall and Susan Phillips — to name some. I really like the topics: definition by Jeffrey Greenman, the Spirit by Gordon Fee, the soteriology that shapes how we see spiritual formation with Dallas Willard, Kelly Kapic on John Owen, George Kalantzis on the desert monastics, Bruce Hindmarsh on evangelical spirituality, James Wilhoit on centering prayer, Cherith Fee Nordling on singing and David Gushee on sanctity of life… yes, this is a great roster.
“Jeffrey Greenman’s opening definition can’t be improved upon: “Spiritual formation is our continuing response to the reality of God’s grace shaping us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, in the community of faith, for the sake of the world” (24). “
Let me say a little more about the chapters in the book. They stand on their own, which makes for a very helpful collection.
There are four sections as follows:
One: Theological Contours
Two: Historical Approaches
Three: Spiritual Practices
The first article in part I, by Jeffrey Greenman, is “Spiritual Formation in Theological perspective.” A great article, Greenman surveys classical issues and contemporary challenges.
In part II, two articles held my attention. “The Way and the Ways” is a reflection on Catholic spirituality by Lawrence Cunningham. “Seeking True Religion” is a look at the roots of early evangelical devotion in Catholic spirituality. Bruce Hindmarsh does a masterful job of this one.
Section III is even more loaded with goodness. Chris Hall writes on the theological foundations of Lectio Divina. Susan Philips writes on spiritual direction as a navigation aid in spiritual formation. James Wilhoit writes on centering prayer.
And then, not to avoid the connection – and challenge — of spiritual formation framed within our academic systems, Linda Cannell closes the book and Part IV with her article, “Theology, Spiritual Formation and Theological Education.” I just began this one when my wife arrived last night, but it looks very good. I think I will have a careful read and then summarize in a future post. Linda’s essay has some interesting connections to the arguments James Smith makes in Desiring the Kingdom, esp his closing chapter, “A Christian University is for Lovers.”
The IVP site for complete contents list is HERE.