Excerpt from Soulful Spirituality

The following is an excerpt from the third chapter of Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human by David G. Benner.

Now through October 19, the ebook of Soulful Spirituality is available for only $3.99 (77% off).

More information and a list of participating retailers is available here.

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Authentic spirituality is also a spirituality of becoming. Being itself contains this important dynamic of becoming. The roots of the English-language verb to be make this clear. The Sanskrit form of this verb is bhu. Literally translated this means “to grow into being” or “to become.” Becoming is a foundational part of being, particularly of human being. To be human is to possess a vital drive to become—to relentlessly push toward the goal of fulfilling our self, of becoming all we can be. The quest to flourish is deeply embedded in being human. From the perspective of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, this quest is rooted in the imago Dei. The human quest to become is a spiritual reflection of our participation in the life of the Spirit.

Because authentic spirituality participates in life rather than positioning itself either against or outside the flow of life, it is endlessly evolving and changing. While change sometimes may be resisted, it should be welcomed as the very heartbeat of life—the sure sign that life still pulses through the world, inviting not just our own personal growth but human and cosmic evolution. From a theistic perspective, change is the sign that God remains present and active, holding and sustaining all things in the Divine Being and moving all of life forward toward actualization and completion. Spirituality that supports the human journey will always involve saying yes to this flow and consenting to participate in this great journey of becoming.

Becoming balances doing and being. Spiritual teachers sometimes put too much distance between doing and being, as if one could ever be without any doing, or do without any being. The point they are usually trying to make when they assert the priority of being over doing is that all human doing should emerge out of our more basic being. We are, after all, human beings, not human doings. One way to keep doing and being in equilibrium is to keep the horizon of becoming always in sight. The person who is no longer in a process  of becoming is a person who has lost something fundamental to fullfledged humanity. Perhaps this state of nonbecoming is what Christian theology refers to as hell—something that for too many people is a present reality devoid of becoming and devoid of vitality.

An embrace of becoming all that we can be is a deeply spiritual way of living. It orients us to that which is larger and beyond our individual selves, channeling our vitality and making life meaningful. It is a spirituality of growth and the fulfillment of our potentialities.

 

©2011 by David G. Benner. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Ebook Special for Soulful Spirituality by David G. Benner

Now through October 19, the ebook for Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human by David G. Benner is only $3.99—77% off! 

More information and a list of participating retailers is available here.

 

“Someone needed to write this book and I’m glad it was David Benner. His wise, incisive, and winsome style makes unsettling truth easier to receive and challenges to the status quo profoundly liberating.”
—Ruth Haley Barton, founder, Transforming Center; author, Sacred Rhythms and Invitation to Solitude and Silence

Spirituality has an indispensable role to play in the expression of our humanity. However, spiritual practices can sometimes make us less, not more, authentically human. We may be good Christians, but we aren’t good human beings. How can we ensure that our spiritual journey is conducted in a way that allows us to become fully alive and deeply human?

David Benner has spent thirty-five years integrating psychology and spirituality. Here he presents an expansive, psychologically informed understanding of spirituality, probing the contrasts between soulful and soulless spirituality, deep and shallow religion, and healthy and unhealthy relationships with God to affirm the vital role of human development in the spiritual journey. Benner then suggests soulful practices for cultivating the Christian spiritual life.

This book will appeal to readers seeking depth and substance in their quest for authentic spirituality. It will also be a helpful resource for mental health professionals and spiritual directors. Reflection questions and exercises for individual or group use are included at the end of each chapter.

David G. Benner (PhD, York University; postdoctoral studies, Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach. He currently serves as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality at the Psychological Studies Institute, Richmont Graduate University. He has authored or edited more than twenty books, including Soulful Spirituality and Strategic Pastoral Counseling. Benner lectures widely around the world and has held numerous clinical and academic appointments. Visit his website at www.drdavidgbenner.ca.

The Weekly Hit List: February 1, 2013

Speaking of DyingSpeaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was chosen by the Academy of Parish Clergy as one of their Top 10 Books of the Year.

This book offers a critical analysis of the church’s failure to communicate constructively about dying, reminding the church of its considerable liturgical, scriptural, and pastoral resources when it ministers to the terminally ill. The authors, who have all been personally and professionally involved in end-of-life issues, suggest practical, theological bases for speaking about dying, communicating with those facing death, and preaching about dying.

They explore how dying–in baptism–begins and informs the Christian’s life story. They also emphasize that the narrative of faith embraces dying, and they remind readers of scriptural and christological resources that can lead toward a “good dying.” In addition, they present current best practices from health professionals for communication among caregivers and those facing death.

 

Quick Hits:

A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson was chosen as the “Most Timely Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“What is so interesting about this is how seamlessly Dickerson weaves together contemporary social ethics — from justice issues to questions about the body — and the Tolkien narratives.”

Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider was chosen the “Most Needed Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“I think everyone who votes should read this book! Just Politics is one of the year’s best.”

Soulful Spirituality by David Benner was recommended by Steve Saccone.

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was recommended by Matthew Barrett on Credo.com.

 

February Ebook Specials:

During the month of February, several ebooks from Brazos Press & Baker Academic are on sale.

Click on book covers for more information on that title.

For a list of places to purchase the ebooks, visit www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials

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The Weekly Hit List: December 7, 2012

The Space Between by Eric O. Jacobsen, author of Sidewalks in the Kingdom, was reviewed by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books for Comment magazine

“Since Jacobsen’s 2003 Brazos Press introductory book Sidewalks of the Kingdom, many were hoping that the Presbyterian pastor turned new urbanist would write a more substantial follow up, taking readers further into the fascinating study of our built environment.

“His nearly decade of further study, writing, speaking, and engaging this interdisciplinary field has paid off with extraordinary fruitfulness, and Jacobsen’s new book is, without a doubt, one of the most important books in the field, and should be considered to be one of the most important books of the year.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Lee C. Camp, author of Who Is My Enemy?, was interviewed on “Kresta in the Afternoon” on Ave Maria Radio on December 3, 2012.

A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson was reviewed in Family Fiction.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was recommended by Andrew Wilson on the Theology Matters blog.

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was recommended by Dana Cassell.

Frank G. Honeycutt, author of The Truth Shall Make You Odd, wrote an article for The Christian Century: “New life without parole.” (The full text is available to subscribers only.)

Soulful Spirituality by David Benner was recommended by Barry Pearman.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

December ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 60% off.

The Virtuous Reader by Richard S. Briggs
Healing in the Bible by Frederick J. Gaiser
1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart
Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen
Claiming Abraham by Michael Lodahl
Where Mortals Dwell by Craig G. Bartholomew
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass
The Vampire Defanged by Susannah Clements
Adventures in Daily Prayer by Bert Ghezzi
Seven Deadly Spirits by T. Scott Daniels

The Weekly Hit List: September 7, 2012

Luke (a Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by David Lyle Jeffrey was reviewed in Englewood Review of Books.

Brazos Theological Commentary has, in my opinion, offered a breath of fresh air to the sometimes stale academic air of commentaries.  The newest volume in the series is Luke by David Lyle Jeffrey. . . .

This is a great commentary series for its scholarship and unabashed emphasis on how scripture leads us into the sacred story of self-giving love.  I would commend David Lyle Jeffrey’s volume on Luke in particular for those, especially in ministry, who are looking to dive deeper into the theological power of Luke.

Read the full review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Soulful Spirituality by David G. Benner was reviewed in Englewood Review of Books.

Rachel Held Evans concluded her review of Peter Enns’s Inspiration and Incarnation.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

September ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 50% off.

Who Is My Enemy? by Lee. C. Camp
A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf
Christians and the Common Good by Charles E. Gutenson
War and the American Difference by Stanley Hauerwas
The Politics of Discipleship by Graham Ward
Christians at the Border by M. Daniel Carroll R.
Hope in Troubled Times by Bob Goudzwaard and David Van Heemst and Mark Vander Vennen

 

A Hobbit Journey Giveaway Winners:

Congratulations to George Mearns, Lynn Kauppi, Caroline Batchelder, Valerio Bernardi, and Jonathan Ruehs.

They have each won a copy of A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth by Matthew Dickersonon on The Brazos Blog.

Keep checking back for our next giveaway.

 

Don’t Miss It:

This month we celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Brazos Blog!

During the week of September 10-14 we will be highlighting some of the best posts from our first year of blogging. This will include our interview with Miroslav Volf, videos from Lee C. Camp, and posts written exclusively for the blog from Peter Enns and Christian Scharen.

During this week we will also be giving several Brazos books away.  Don’t miss it!