Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction

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Second, there is marriage. Sadly, many marriages, even if successful, lack spiritual content, and Dr. Benner offers ideas of how actively pursuing spiritual friendship and direction with your spouse can be a relationship which draws you together spiritually. Sacred Companions is written for someone who is relatively new to spiritual accompaniment, and as such is written with relatively little jargon.

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Also, he includes an extensive topical list of suggestion for further reading on a number of topics, from prayer to Lectio to spiritual direction and theology. If you're looking for a book that's a good introduction to spiritual accompaniment, then this is a book I would certainly recommend. Sacred Companionsby David G.

BennerInterVarsity Press Description of the BookSacred Companions describes spiritual friendship and spiritual direction for the contemporary Christian who wishes to be intentional about growing in their Christian life. Benner writes as a psychologist and a spiritual director, specifically aiming to describe these ancient practices to protestant Christians for whom the practices are new and unfamiliar.

Interpretation of the Book The book is organized in three major sections. The first describes spiritual friendship, an intentional relationship in which spiritual growth is a stated goal. The second section focuses on spiritual direction, and the third section outlines specific scenarios combining friendship and direction, for small groups and in marriages. The author writes comfortably, providing an approachable environment for Christians of all backgrounds who wish to grow in fruitfulness and seek spiritual accompaniment as the means to help them.

Benner lightly references his background as a psychologist, but focuses more on his mostly self-trained spiritual direction practice. He introduces classic practices such as centering prayer and the Ignatian Examen, usually by telling stories of his experience as a director or a directee. Application This may be the friendliest, most approachable book available on the art of spiritual direction. It strongly prefers the approach of spiritual direction to more general spiritual friendship, but makes only passing reference to the Celtic approach of anamchara, or soul friendship.

The last section's discussion of spiritual accompaniment in small groups is intriguing, and the author has great hopes for this blend of spiritual friendship and the small group movement. I found myself wanting more information on this subject.

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He also writes from his experience working with his wife in bi-directional spiritual direction. I must also note here that the book's hidden gem is its page annotated bibliography, organized by topics and referencing current and classic works in related fields. This section of the book would be worth the cover price, even if the book were disappointing. Here at Walmart.

Sacred Companions

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SACRED COMPANIONS: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship and Direction

Recent searches Clear All. Update Location. Of all the social changes in the last several decades, nothing has surprised me more than the recent rise of interest in spirituality. For many in Western societies, a hunger for the sacred has emerged out of the bankruptcy of materialism and secularism. And for many in the church, a longing for a deep encounter with God has arisen out of the arid soil of knowing about God but having little personal, experiential knowing of him.

My world is full of people on a spiritual journey—cradle Roman Catholics rediscovering their church and faith, former atheists visiting aboriginal healing circles, Christians practicing Buddhist meditation, new age seekers pursuing encounters with the sacred, evangelicals discovering mysticism, Roman Catholics discovering Bible study and intercessory prayer, and Protestants discovering liturgy and the sacraments.

Lunch hours in the public mental health clinic where I work used to be filled with the usual topics of conversation—gossip, weekend activities and plans, sports and entertainment. Now the number-one topic is often spirituality. The number two remains clinic gossip! People seem to be bursting to tell anyone who will listen about their spiritual quest.

They long to share their journey with others. They want people who not only will listen to them but can relate to their story because they are on a spiritual journey of their own. Spirituality means different things to these people. But a common component of those diverse meanings is the notion of being connected.

The hunger for connection is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart. We are like immigrants in a new land, with no family or friends and no sense of place. We seem to have lost our mooring. Or perhaps we have lost some part of ourselves. Like pieces of a puzzle seeking their adjoining pieces, we long for connections that will assure us that we belong. But it is not just connections in general that we seek. In the core of our being we yearn for intimacy.

We want people to share our lives. We want soul friends. We were never intended to make the life pilgrimage alone. And attempting to make the spiritual journey on our own is particularly hazardous.

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Paradoxically, however, what we most deeply long for we also fear. How else can we explain our reluctance to be genuinely known by those with whom we are most intimate? Often it seems that what we want is the fruit of companionship without the demands of genuine intimacy. Yet something within us remains dissatisfied with the safe but superficial relationships we experience. Our souls ache for a place of deep encounter with others.

We want companions for the journey, companions with whom we can share our soul and our journey. I have mentioned the ambiguity of the term spirituality. But now I have introduced another equally ambiguous term— soul. Because these two concepts are foundational to what I will be developing in the rest of the book, it is important that I clarify what I mean by these terms.

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The soul that interests me in these pages is not the technical concept of the theologian or philosopher. My use of the term is more metaphorical. I use it to refer to persons in their depths and totality, with particular emphasis on their inner life. The same is true when he promised rest for the souls of those who come to him Matthew The soul rest that Jesus offers touches the whole of our being—physical, spiritual and psychological—but is particularly focused on our inner self.

A soul friendship is therefore a relationship to which I bring my whole self, especially my inner self. And the care that I offer for the other person in a soul friendship is a care for his or her whole self, especially the inner self. They seek to meet each other as whole people and help each other become whole people. They offer each other the sacred gift of accompaniment on the human journey. What, then, does the concept of spirituality add to this? On the basis of this I would argue that to be human is to be spiritual. Everybody has some awareness of God.

We differ only in the degree of that awareness and the nature of the response we make to it. We all face the inescapable challenge of working out our existence in relationship to God. That is our spirituality. That is what it means to be human. Christian spirituality is, of course, something much more specific. Christian spirituality involves working out our existence within the context of the Christian faith and community.

Spirituality is not Christian if it is not centered in the Spirit.

Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction by David G. Benner | LibraryThing

Christian spirituality is our response to the Spirit. He is the one who initiates and guides the journey for Christians. For Christians, the spiritual journey is at the core of the human journey. We believe that the ultimate fulfillment of our humanity is found in union with God through Christ. Nothing is therefore more important than discovering and actualizing the unique self-in-Christ that is my eternal destiny. This is the core of Christian spirituality. Spiritual friends. If you are making significant progress on the transformational journey of Christian spirituality, you have one or more friendships that support that journey. If you do not, you are not. It is that simple.

Their love for each other translates into a desire that the other settle for nothing less than becoming all that he or she was intended to be. What they offer each other in response to this desire is not a professional role. Nor is it specialized expertise. Rather, it is the gift of themselves and their companionship on the transformational journey of Christian spirituality. Spiritual friends are soul friends. This means that they care for each other as whole people, not simply as spiritual beings.

Soul friends become spiritual friends when they seek to help each other attend and respond to God. In what follows I will generally refer to spiritual friends. I will, however, use the term soul friends when I wish to emphasize the basic aspects of caring for others in their depths and totality, and true friends when I wish to emphasize the ideal nature of these relationships.