What the World Needs Now – an excerpt from Human Being and Becoming

The following is an excerpt from Human Being and Becoming by Dr. David Benner.

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Given the potency of love for healing, growth, and transformation, what could possibly be more important for the world than humans learning to give and receive love? The love we need to learn to give and receive, however, is not the soft, sentimental kind of love associated with Valentine’s Day but the hard, unflinching kind associated with loving those who will not or cannot return our love.

Love has become a transaction rather than a gift. But the only love that can ever be transformational is love that is given away, not exchanged. The only love that can ever truly make us and others whole is the love we give and receive as a surprise, even to ourselves.

Cover ArtBut notice that I speak of giving and receiving love—not receiving and then giving. Love has not only become a commodity of transaction, but it has also become something we have come to believe we must store up and pass on only after our own supplies are at a high enough level to warrant the risk of depletion. We think that the love we have to give to others is the excess of what we have received and hoarded. But this misses the whole point of love.

Love is like a stream: it is meant to flow. Once you block the flow, it begins to go stagnant. Love that is hoarded is no longer life-enhancing. It quickly becomes toxic. Wounds don’t heal by soaking in love but by passing love on.

Hoarding love always means that at least two people lose. The person who hoards love loses it because it is in the giving of love, not simply the receiving of it, that life is nurtured. And the person who was deprived of love because someone else hoarded and didn’t pass it on to him or her is robbed of the chance to pass love on to others.

The world’s great spiritual teachers have always challenged us to do exactly this. Jesus taught by word and example to love one’s enemies, not just one’s friends. He was clear that love given in exchange—that is, given so it will be given back—is not love at all. Love that is not freely given is not love at all.

©2016 by David G. Benner. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

This Just In: Human Being and Becoming

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Becoming fully human is a lifelong journey. It can also be an incredible adventure. Here internationally respected depth psychologist, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach Dr. David Benner explores the mysteries of human being and becoming.

Drawing on insights from science, philosophy, and forty years of experience integrating psychology and spirituality, he presents concrete steps for living in ways that move us toward wholeness. He also draws on mysticism, the perennial wisdom tradition, interfaith dialogue, and the contemplative Christian tradition, developing a robust spirituality that reveals how we can align ourselves with God’s presence in the world.

 

David G. Benner PhDDavid G. Benner (PhD, York University; postdoctoral studies, Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has authored or edited more than thirty books, lectures widely around the world, and has held numerous clinical and academic appointments. Visit his website at www.drdavidgbenner.ca.

 

Praise for Human Being and Becoming:

“David Benner is an adventurer and an explorer of geographical horizons and spiritual landscapes. Thank God he invites us to join him in the adventure, for the journey he describes is truly glorious!”—Ruth Haley Barton, founder and CEO, Transforming Center; author of Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation

“David Benner again offers winsome wisdom. His contribution and legacy will most certainly be taking concepts like being and becoming and not simplifying them, for they would then be less satisfying, but giving us insights and connections to create a beautiful elegance that helps us grasp them….Please read this. Please integrate this. Please pass this around. We will have a richer and more current Christian expression because of it: a Christianity that is truly becoming in a world that continues becoming and unfolding. Both the book and the author are gifts.”—Ron Martoia, author of Transformational Architecture

“From his own adventures in the human journey, David Benner offers this exquisite and engaging mosaic to expand our awareness of being as vital interconnectedness and to compel us toward our destined wholeness through timely practices of receptivity, hospitality, and consent to love-guided living.”—John Kiemele, founder and executive director, Selah Center, Woodway, Washington

The Weekly Hit List: May 1, 2015

The Englewood Review of Books reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider.

Sider’s latest work is not a book to be read quickly. Rather, the reader is best served by engaging each story slowly and letting the lessons it contains sink in over time.

Present here are not only additional stories of successful nonviolent action, but also useful current statistics from scholars such as Gene Sharp, Erica Chenoweth, and Maria J. Stephan. The fruits of their labor are intelligently deployed by Sider to prove that even without many resources, there is no denying the success nonviolent approaches have had in the last 100 years.

Sider uses the proof of these successes to question why our society has never systematically put resources to exploring nonviolent action in any sustained or serious way.

Read the entire review here.

 

Rejoicing in Lament (by J. Todd Billings) Media:

First Things shared video of the discussion between Todd Billings and R. R. Reno from Billings’ NYC lecture and book signing event in early April.

Todd wrote “Praying in the Dark: Lament, Providence and Protest” for Perspectives Journal.

Todd appeared on Morning Express with Brock Tozer (Family Radio CHRI 99.1FM – Ontario).

 

Spiritual Friendship (by Wesley Hill) Media:

Dan Brennan reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

YALT (the CRC’s Young Adult Leadership Initiative) interviewed Wesley Hill about Spiritual Friendship.

Chris Woznicki reivewed Spiritual Friendship.

 

Quick Hits:

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed by Paul A. Nierengarten.

Scot McKnight discussed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was reviewed by Patrick Schreiner.

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, appeared at Lipscomb University April 22-23, and wrote about it here. Lipscomb University wrote about it here.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was quoted by The Mennonite.

The Weekly Hit List: March 20, 2015

The Gospel Coalition reviewed Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings

“Dealing with our own troubles and sharing in those of others are among the most challenging aspects of the Christian life.

“It isn’t always easy to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Foolish and insensitive things get said by well-meaning folks.

“J. Todd Billings’s excellent new book, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, will go a long way in equipping us to endure and to minister to one another in more theologically grounded and helpful ways.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Books at a Glance reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Tim Challies recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

Derek Emerson reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Bobby Grow reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

 

 

Congratulations to David G. Benner!

Presence and Encounter: The Sacramental Possibilities of Everyday Life is a Foreword Reviews 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist in the Body, Mind & Spirit category.

Foreword Reviews, the only review magazine solely dedicated to discovering new independent books, announced the finalists for its 17th Annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Blomberg, author of Can We Still Believe the Bible?, is answering readers’ questions on Margaret Feinberg’s blog.

Bob Trube reviewed Can We Still Believe the Bible?.

The Weekly Hit List: March 13, 2015

Outreach Magazine Resources of the Year Awards:

Congratulations to Scot McKnight: Outreach Magazine chose Kingdom Conspiracy as their Resource of the Year in the Missional Church category.

Todd Engstrom, executive pastor of ministries at The Austin Stone Community Church, described Kingdom Conspiracy as “a timely resource for the missional church to re-examine some basic assumptions that impact church practice in the everyday.”

 

Also congratulations to Craig Detweiler: Outreach Magazine honored iGods in the Culture category.

 

 

Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Todd Billings was interviewed on Jesus Creed.

“Instead of a theodicy, scripture gives us a prayer book. The Psalms shape our response to evil through laments, which focus our eyes upon God’s promise to make things right, even when things are a mess and through thanksgiving, which rightly recognizes that we are not “entitled” to good things, but the goods of creation and redemption come from the gracious hand of God.

“I think that we cultivate our confidence in God and his promise through prayer, through worship – feeding upon Christ by Word and Sacrament in community – and through compassionate service.”

Read the entire interview here.

 

Todd appeared on INSIGHT (on Canada’s Miracle Channel).

Immanuel UCC‘s blog reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Dr. Conrade Yap reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

 

 

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory Media:

Scot McKnight recommended Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls on Jesus Creed.

“No one in the world has thought more about heaven, hell and purgatory than Jerry Walls.

“He has an academic, but accessible, book on each topic and now he has brought all his thinking together in one far more accessible, rearranged book called Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: A Protestant View of the Cosmic Drama.”

 

Peter Leithart discussed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls on his First Things blog.

 

Jerry M. Ireland reviewed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

 

 

Quick Hits:

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was recommended by Kathy Milans on Soul Care Collective.

Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider was reviewed by Chris Woznicki.

 

Ebook Specials:

The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns is only $2.99 (83% off) from participating retailers through March 13.

The Weekly Hit List: February 13, 2015

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, wrote “Avoiding the Dead Ends of Providence: Monocausal Fatalism and Open Theism” for Reformation 21.

“It is not easy to leave suffering as an open question, particularly in the midst of crisis. At times, I’ve sensed that there must be a reason that this cancer has hit me.

“Perhaps God couldn’t do anything about it? Perhaps God is ‘relational’ in such a way that some things are truly ‘pointless’ even to God? There might be some reassurance in affirming such an ‘answer.’ Yet, this is not an answer that would keep cultivating Christian lament with the Psalmist. The Psalmists keep asking, questioning, and petitioning because they believe God is the almighty Lord.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Publishers Weekly named Rejoicing in Lament a “Spirituality & Religion Book of Note.”

Billings will appear for a book signing and interview with Neal Plantinga in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Baker Book House on Thursday, February 19.

Billings appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show.

 

Quick Hits:

Spiritual Friendship by Wesley Hill (April 2015) and Divine Sex by Jonathan Grant (July 2015) were mentioned in Publishers Weekly article “Sex and Religion: A Crop of Books Addresses a Fraught Relationship.”

Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner was called a “treasure trove” by Lacy Clark Ellman.

Ben Witherington wrote a series of posts on Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy, including a lengthy interview with McKnight. Parts: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

The Weekly Hit List: January 23, 2015

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

“An exploration of complex, age-old questions about suffering and God’s nature leads Billings to extol the beauty of mystery and the limits of human wisdom: ‘humans don’t have an answer to the problem of evil, and we shouldn’t claim that we have one.’

“Along with disclosing his wrenching questions, fears, and hopes, Billings explores ‘the ways in which God’s story intersects with the cancer story.’

“His poignant insight into the role of lament in faithful Christian living makes this a work of both astute scholarship and powerful testimony.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

The Justice Calling by Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson (July 2015) was recommended by Relevant Magazine as one of “12 Books We’re Excited About This Year.”

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Denver Journal.

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was reviewed by Chris Hennessey and by Johnny Walker.

Scot McKnight was appointed by Bishop Todd Hunter as a Canon Theologian for the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others.

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, spoke at Calvin College’s January Series on “Apple, Google, and other ‘iGods’.”

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was recommended on Hearts & Minds Books and reviewed on Anabaptist Redux.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was recommended on Hearts & Minds Books.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was recommended by Eddie Olliffe.

A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf was reviewed on The Christian Mind.

The Brazos Press Best of 2014

Many of our titles received awards and were included in “best of” lists in 2014.

Following are some of the honors Brazos Press books received this year.

 

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg won Christianity Today‘s Award of Merit in the Apologetics/Evangelism category.

iGods by Craig Detweiler won a Top Shelf Book Cover Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

iGods also won an IndieFab Book of the Year Award in the Popular Culture category.

Of Games and God by Kevin Schut won in the Culture category of the 26th annual Word Awards.

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was included on The Englewood Review of Books “Best Books of 2014” and Missio Alliance‘s “Essential Reading List of 2014.”

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner, PhD, was included on LeaderKick‘s “Top Books of 2014.”

 

Happy 2015!

The Weekly Hit List: December 12, 2014

Presence and Encounter by Dr. David G. Benner was reviewed by Englewood Review of Books.

“For being a relatively short book, it is contains a deeply powerful message. Although at times what Benner writes is complicated because of some philosophical language, it is challenging nonetheless.

“Most are seeking life change, and most seek it by adding more to their lives. We are told that that if we only had this thing or went to this seminar, then we could be changed. The truth is, true transformation starts with being present and will lead us to encounter with the divine. . . .

“Presence is such a powerful idea, but most of us miss it everyday. David Benner’s book presents us with a message that we all need to hear.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, was quoted extensively in “The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill” in Leadership Journal.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed in Christian Courier and on Disembodied Beard.

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter spoke at Trinity Western University.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on One Theology.

 

Ebook Specials:

Creating a Spiritual Legacy: How to Share Your Stories, Values, and Wisdom by Daniel Taylor is only $1.99 (88% off) from participating retailers through December 13.

A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching by Stanley Hauerwas is only $2.99 (85% off) from participating retailers through December 15.

Every volume in the Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina series by Stephen J. Binz is only $0.99 (92% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Truth Shall Make You Odd: Speaking with Pastoral Integrity in Awkward Situations by Frank G. Honeycutt is only $1.99 (90% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Weekly Hit List: December 5, 2014

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, answered readers’ questions on Rachel Held Evans’ blog.

“Let’s agree that evangelicalism is almost uncontainable in a definition. But we can give a ballpark generic-package, lump-into-one-ball idea: evangelicalism affirms the necessity of personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior; it affirms the primacy of Scripture in forming beliefs and convictions; it affirms the centrality of Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection and rule.

“Yet evangelicalism transcends its core beliefs and has a history of its people and that means there’s some sociology or social description in this term so that it refers to America’s Calvinist and revivalist and holiness and Anabaptist impulses. Some are very evangelical and some are barely.”

Read the entire post here.

 

Other Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Scot McKnight wrote “Kingdom: A Proposal,” “The Biggest Mistake in Kingdom Talk,” and “The Character of the King” on Jesus Creed.

Missio Alliance discussed and recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

Joshua Reich recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

 

 

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament (February 2015), wrote “Deadly Healing Medicine” for Christianity Today‘s The Behemoth.

“Incurable cancer.

“I could hardly believe it when I heard the diagnosis. My wife and I had just celebrated our tenth anniversary, and our lives were spinning in joyful commotion with one- and three- year-olds at home. Initial testing brought back some worrying results. I had researched the possibilities, and I didn’t sound like a likely prospect for this cancer.

“The average diagnosis age is about 70; I had just turned 39. But here it was: an active cancer that had already been eroding the bones in my skull, arm, and hip.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Billings wrote “Undying Love” for the December 2014 issue of First Things.

Aimee Byrd recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

 

 

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Englewood Review of Books.

“[Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins] earns its spot as a highly useful tool for understanding sin in our own lives, and in our culture.  In a tone that is gentle but frank, it’s full of useful observations and counsel, from both the ancients and the moderns.

“Okholm delves into the monks’ focus on concepts such as the importance of habits – habits for good and habits that degenerate into sin, or, seeing sin in the context of community and its counterproductive privatizing impact. There’s a strong pastoral and devotional impact to this volume, and while it’s aimed at Christians who assume that sin is essential to address, a great deal will be useful to all students of the soul.”

Read the entire review here.

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins was also reviewed by Philip Zoutendam.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, was interviewed by WORLD magazine’s Warren Cole Smith for Listening In.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by Evangelicals for Social Action.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner, PhD, was reviewed by Leader Kick.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on Wineskins.

Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster, was interviewed on Inside Out.

A Beautiful Disaster was recommended by Suzanne BurdenDorothy Greco, and Mark Votava.

 

Ebook Specials:

Every volume in the Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina series by Stephen J. Binz is only $0.99 (92% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Truth Shall Make You Odd: Speaking with Pastoral Integrity in Awkward Situations by Frank G. Honeycutt is only $1.99 (90% off) from participating retailers through December 31.