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Culture

Resources for Spiritual Growth

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October 7th, 2009

 

These pages are filled with resources that should help meet at least some of your spiritual-growth needs. We’ve provided a section of mostly brand new books and music (in the style of TOOLS reviews), resource recommendations from Christian leaders—within and without youth ministry.

Books

  • THE DAILY BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER: READINGS AND PRAYERS THROUGH THE YEAR
    Compiled by Owen Collins
    Eerdmans, 1999, 366 pp., $15
    800/253-7521

    Drawn from the classic Book of Common Prayer, this compact nightstand companion includes a page for each day of the year; each page contains a theme, Bible verse, and a reading.

  • DANCING TO THE HEARTBEAT OF REDEMPTION: THE CREATIVE PROCESS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
    Joy Sawyer
    InterVarsity Press, 2000, 163 pp., $10.99
    800/843-9487

    The author throws aside the rule book and invites the reader to experience the Christian walk as a work of art-in-progress. The power of poetry is employed throughout as a thematic touchstone, as well as grace and redemption.

  • EVERYDAY SIMPLICITY: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
    Robert J. Wicks
    Sorin Books, 2000, 207 pp., $11.95
    800/282-1865

    The first third of this book focuses on “softening the soul,” and much of the remainder is filled with practical suggestions for fostering compassion, a strong prayer life—even a month’s worth of reflections on relaxing with God.

  • FEEDING YOUR SOUL: A QUIET TIME HANDBOOK
    Jean Fleming
    NavPress, 1999, 144 pp., $8
    800/366-7788

    Remember your “quiet time”? If not—or if it feels more like an anvil chorus—this book might be helpful. It’s organized sequentially, as if you’re following a step-by-step manual for repairing your daily time alone with God. Equal time given to philosophical and practical discussions. Packed.

  • FINDING REST: WHEN THE WORK IS NEVER DONE
    Patrick Klingaman
    Chariot Victor, 2000, 201 pp., $10.99
    800/437-4337

    The author examines the concept of rest as if it’s a lost art—exploring the definitions of true rest in God and practical ways you can incorporate rest into your life and in the lives and places around you. The bright cover belies the text-heavy, drab interior, though clearly Klingaman has done his homework.

  • THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
    Wilfrid Stinissen
    Liguori, 1999, 116 pp., $13.95 
    800/325-9521

    For those interested in doing or receiving spiritual direction. This volume’s brevity and wide margins gives it more of a coffee table- than instruction-book feel. The author—a Swedish Carmelite friar, lecturer, and “retreat master”—writes with the air of a theologically grounded philosopher.

  • HEART AFLAME: DAILY READINGS FROM CALVIN ON THE PSALMS
    John Calvin
    P&R, 1999, 366 pp., $14.99
    800/631-0094

    Calvin thought of the Psalms as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” This collection of selected readings from Calvin’s Commentary on the Psalms—divided into daily meditations for the entire year—seems to cover quite a bit of ground to that end.

  • HUNGRY FOR GOD
    Ralph Martin
    Ignatius, 2000, 157 pp., $10.95
    800/651-1531

    In this newly revised edition of his 1974 original, Martin—a Catholic lay evangelist for more than two decades—focuses on ways to develop a more profound prayer life so that readers can experience a deeper union with God—or perhaps union with God for the very first time.

  • JOURNEYING INTO GOD: SEVEN EARLY MONASTIC LIVES
    Translated by Tim Vivian
    Augsburg, 1996, 207 pp., $18
    800/328-4648

    Stories of seven male and female monks from the fourth to the seventh centuries—Saint Antony of Egypt, Abba Pambo, Syncletica of Palestine, Saint George of Choziba, Abba Aaron, Saint Theognius, and Saint Onnophrius—and their quests to imitate Christ and fully live the gospel.

  • KNOWING GOD JOURNAL
    J.I. Packer with Carolyn Nystrom
    InterVarsity Press, 2000, 118 pp., $7.99
    800/843-9487

    A true companion to Packer’s classic Knowing God—you need the book for the journal to work. Each of the 22 selections uses an excerpt from Knowing God, a call to study a related Scripture, pray, reflect on God’s character, and compose your thoughts in the journal.

  • LIVING BEFORE GOD: DEEPENING OUR SENSE OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE
    Ben Campbell Johnson
    Eerdmans, 2000, 142 pp., $15
    800/253-7521

    The premise here is that most people live their lives as if God doesn’t exist—but Christians, knowing God is alive, ought to be aware every second that God is everpresent. So why don’t we? Johnson focuses on this question and offers very practical methods for not only answering it, but also for growing into a deeper sense of the “Divine Presence.”

  • LIVING PEACEFULLY IN A STRESSFUL WORLD: A STRATEGY FOR REPLACING STRESS WITH PEACE
    Ron Hutchcraft
    Discovery House, 2000, 253 pp., $9.95
    800/653-8333

    Hutchcraft takes an aggressive approach to guarding and fighting for spiritual peace in the midst of a turbulent world. Very practical, although this volume squeezes the author’s words on the pages with very small print—might be an intimidating first look.

  • NOURISHED BY THE WORD: READING THE BIBLE CONTEMPLATIVELY
    Wilfred Stinissen
    Liguori, 1999, 120 pp., $11.95
    800/325-9521

    Same design and relative length as his book on spiritual direction (and the following book he wrote on the Jesus Prayer). Stinissen views Scripture from a holistic perspective, employing wisdom of Christian mystics as well as hands-on examples of prayer and Bible study.

  • PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS: THE ANCIENT WISDOM OF THE JESUS PRAYER
    Wilfrid Stinissen
    Liguori, 1999, 132 pp., $13.95
    800/325-9521

    “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” That’s perhaps the most common form of the Jesus Prayer—an ancient phrase that not only sums up the essence of the gospel, but also has been used throughout the centuries as a path to greater communion with God. This book traces its history and how it can be used today.

  • PROVOCATIONS: SPIRITUAL WRITINGS OF KIERKEGAARD
    Charles E. Moore (ed.) 
    Plough, 2000, 430 pp., $14
    800/521-8011

    A thick volume, full of Kierkegaard’s famous sayings, essays, and parables. Ideal as an introduction to his spiritual philosophies. Divided into thematic sections: To Will One Thing, Truth and the Passion of Inwardness, The Works of Love, Anxiety and the Gospel of Suffering, Christian Collisions, and Thoughts That Radically Cure.

  • RECEIVING THE DAY: CHRISTIAN PRACTICES FOR OPENING THE GIFT OF TIME
    Dorothy C. Bass
    Jossey-Bass, 2000, 142 pp., $20
    800/956-7739

    One universal lament is that life is too busy, too hectic to smell the roses. But the author charges readers to stop looking at time through modern eyes. Time isn’t a burden to get around, Bass writes, but a vehicle for experiencing God’s blessings and grace. Ancient wisdom and practical suggestions illustrate how time can indeed be back on our side.

  • RESTORING MARGIN TO OVERLOADED LIVES
    Richard A. Swenson, M.D. with Karen Lee-Thorp
    NavPress, 1999, 179 pp., $12
    800/366-7788

    Eleven sections on setting limits and prioritizing activities before burnout hits. Each study contains an intro, objectives, questions, related Bible verses, anecdotes, and options for further study.

  • THE SHAPE OF LIVING: SPIRITUAL DIRECTIONS FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
    David F. Ford
    Baker, 1997, 201 pp., $13.99
    800/877-2665

    The focus here is not allowing life to shape us, but rather to learn how we can shape our own lives—all aspects of it—in accordance with God’s will. The Anglican author is a professor of divinity from Cambridge University. The book is quite text heavy and reads just a bit academically.

  • SOULCRAFT: HOW GOD SHAPES US THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS
    Douglas D. Webster
    InterVarsity Press, 1999, 228 pp., $12.99
    800/843-9487

    An examination of our relationships with others through the prism of our relationship with God. Many topics are covered: Creation, humanity, devotion to God, singleness, love, sex, a Christ-centered response to homosexuality, marriage, parenting, divorce, and grief.

  • SOUL GARDENING: CULTIVATING THE GOOD LIFE
    Terry Hershey
    Augsburg, 2000, 167 pp., $13.99
    800/328-4648

    A unique look at the spiritual life through the eyes of the gardener. Why? Because, as the author notes, gardeners pay attention to and cherish what they’ve planted. Sections divided appropriately into the four seasons. A poetic, anecdotal, insightful creation.

  • THE UNKNOWN GOD: SEARCHING FOR SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT
    Alister McGrath
    Eerdmans, 1999, 123 pp., $18
    800/253-7521

    A beautifully constructed work from cover to cover! Soothing, eye-catching art—with several reproductions of classical religious paintings— accentuates the inviting-yet-intellectual read. (The author employs commentary from a variety of well-known thinkers.) For seekers and mature Christians alike.

  • A VACATION WITH THE LORD: A PERSONAL DIRECTED RETREAT BASED ON THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
    Thomas H. Green
    Ignatius, 2000, 156 pp., $11.95
    800/651-1531

    This book can be used in several ways: By retreat directors looking for easy-to-grasp retreat structures, by individuals interested in a personal retreat. It can be broken into an eight-day retreat in conjunction with the chapters or extended to daily devotionals for use over one or several months.

Periodicals

  • SPIRITUAL LIFE: A QUARTERLY OF CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY
    About 60 pages/issue; one year subscription/$16
    phone: 800/832-8489; Web site: www.spiritual-life.org

    This Catholic-produced journal includes about six feature articles per issue, along with book and media reviews and spirituality resources.

Music

  • COMMONSONG: ACOUSTIC MEDITATIONS INSTRUMENTALISTS OF THE NOTRE DAME FOLK CHOIR
    Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (cassette/$9.95)
    800/282-1865

    Familiar tunes such as “We Gather Together” are mixed with lesser-known sacred songs from a variety of regions (the Netherlands, France, England, Ireland, Wales, and America) and traditions (Native American and Gregorian chant). Violin, mandolin, acoustic guitars, Appalachian dulcimer, Celtic harp are among the instruments employed.

  • DÁNTA DÉ: CLASSIC SACRED MUSIC OF IRELAND
    Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (cassette/$9.95)
    800/282-1865

    Eighteen instrumentals taken directly from an Irish hymnal—Dánta Dé (or “lyrics of God”)—created shortly after the Easter Rebellion of 1928. Celtic harp, violin, mandolin, guitar, and string bass create the haunting selections here.
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