Quest for Spiritual Community: Reclaiming Spiritual Guidance for Contemporary Congregations (Hardback)
  • Quest for Spiritual Community: Reclaiming Spiritual Guidance for Contemporary Congregations (Hardback)

Quest for Spiritual Community: Reclaiming Spiritual Guidance for Contemporary Congregations (Hardback)

Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 25/04/2011
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This title is a guide to how to revitalize ancient spiritual practices for the life of the local church. Many churches recognize the importance of the genuine spiritual hunger in our time and are attempting to bridge the gulf between traditional religious institutions and the contemporary spiritual quest by revitalizing and retooling ancient spiritual practices. This book suggests that it is possible to relish the spiritual quest while honoring tradition and theological inquiry through practices such as spiritual guidance. It presents a sociological analysis of contemporary spirituality, case studies of congregations with spiritual guidance ministries, and reflection on historical practices and Protestant theological roots to explore the strengths and pitfalls of nurturing the contemporary spiritual quest in the average congregation. The resulting vision for congregation-based spiritual guidance incorporates practices that attend to person, community, and mission.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567190192
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 458 g
Dimensions: 228 x 153 x 23 mm

Angela Reed has done churches a monumental favour by reminding us that the ancient practice of spiritual guidance is not just for mystics and monks. Reed places spiritual guidance in the middle of congregations, and moves the task of Christian discernment straight to the top of the list of tasks confronting postmodern congregations. Chock-full of practical strategies and concrete examples, Quest for Spiritual Community re-imagines Christian leadership - not as a source of therapeutic or moralistic advice - but as conduit for practical wisdom, wonder, and awe. All I can say is: it's about time. -- Kenda Creasy Dean, Author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (Oxford), Professor of Youth, Church and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA.
Angela Reed honors the contemporary phenomenon of spiritual seeking as a sign of genuine hunger for encounter with the Divine. She claims that historic Christian practices like spiritual guidance can help churches connect seekers to the unfolding mystery of God's presence and activity in the world. Drawing on Scripture, the history of Christian spirituality, and empirical research Reed develops a sound practical theology of spiritual guidance and offers concrete examples of how guidance is practiced in everyday congregational life. Most welcome is her emphasis on the integration of interior and exterior growth, as she demonstrates how spiritual guidance promotes the flourishing of the individual, the community, and the church's mission. This is a wonderfully helpful and insightful book. -- Timothy Hessel - Robinson, Brite Divinity School, USA
Professor Angela Reed offers a unique contribution to the field of spiritual formation studies by making a compelling case for locating spiritual guidance ministries squarely in the midst of congregational life. Though she values (and practices) one-with-one spiritual direction, her deepest passion is for communal formation. Given the stresses and fractures of contemporary life, nothing short of a vibrant community of spiritual practice will satisfy the longings of our hearts and shape the image of Christ in people of faith today. Though many studies in spiritual formation draw upon the rich tradition of Roman Catholic resources, Reed takes the less traveled route by focusing especially on Protestant history and perspectives - mainline, evangelical and Anabaptist-Mennonite streams. Extensive biblical reflections, in-depth exploration of Jurgen Moltmann's theology of formation, as well as on-the-ground research support her vision. Perhaps one of the most unusual features of the book is its exploration of a widely disparate group of spiritual guides - the Apostle Paul, Julian of Norwich, Susanna Wesley, Maria Frelinghuysen Cornell, and Dietriech Bonhoeffer - in search of a sturdy framework for communal formation. Reed demonstrates her own thesis that an improvisatory approach is needed for the future. Pastors and other spiritual leaders will need to be light on their feet - able to read their contexts, draw from deep wells of wisdom and practice, and be open to the Spirit's fresh guidance in order to shape Christians who will authentically be and do God's mission in the world. Practical theologians like Angela Reed give me great hope for the church. Her gentle wisdom, luminous clarity, and passion for the church will guide both congregations and academic institutions into a faith-filled future. -- Marlene Kropf, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, USA.
Quest for Spiritual Community is no mere research report... Rather than laying out a rigid programmatic agenda, Reed offers a way to understand the congregation as God's primary locus for spiritual guidance... she is a trustworthy guide who helps us ponder how cultivating spiritual guidance in our congregations might cause spiritual maturity to flourish. -- Christian Century
Reed's continual integration of the real-life experiences of the participants in congregational spiritual guidance helped make the text more personal... -- Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care
By tackling a myriad of complex and intriguing questions, Baylor University professor Angela Reed attempts to place the growing interest in spiritual direction firmly within the context of the local church while simultaneously curbing some of the individualistic strains within the movement as Protestants seek to rediscover the ancient art of spiritual direction/ seeking to bring the spiritual direction conversation home to its proper resting place in the church, Reed provides a welcome contribution and a much-need corrective to the on-going practices of spiritual direction. -- Jason A. Carter, University of Edinburgh * The Expository Times *

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