Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Learned at Harvard

I recently went to the Harvard Medical School Coaching conference, thanks to my generous friend Patty. (I now have a certificate with the Harvard crest on it...).

Here is what I discovered ... much of what is current in coaching circles are things that we followers of Jesus should already know. Meditation ... gratitude...mindfulness ... positivity... having a mission bigger than yourself ... community... all these are practices that the Christian community has known for centuries. I came away feeling that while Christians have been chasing management and programs, business has been discovering the value of investing in human beings.

So I am going to be posting a series of reflections on the practices of our life with God ... by which I mean a life that is truly and fully human. More about that later!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Top Picks: Reading on Spiritual Formation

Gordon Smith, On the Way: A Guide to Christian Spirituality
This brief volume is theologically and practically rich – one of my most recommended books!  (Regent College Publishing, available on Amazon, but unfortunately, not on Kindle.)

Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rythyms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation , IVP
Barton provides an accessible introduction to essential spiritual practices and how to develop a “rule of life.” At under 200 pages, this is an easy read.

Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
Many of the books we read are compilations and summaries. Nouwen is an “original source” who fundamentally influenced the discussion of spiritual transformation in our generation. In this small volume, he draws on the Desert Fathers in inviting us to the practices of Solitude, Silence, and Prayer.

James C. Wilhoit  Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community.
This excellent book is a corrective to some of the more individualized views of spiritual transformation. This is a more substantive book proposing a “curriculum for Christlikeness, grounded in the gospel and the grace that makes it available.”

Dallas Willard: The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives
This book is sure to become a classic for the Christian life.  Indispensible introduction to the place of spiritual disciplines in the Christian life. This is a book you should have in your library and reread periodically.

N.T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters.
If you are looking for a solid theological perspective, read this!!  Few books expound the “telos” , the goal of our transformation and why it matters to God and to the world.  (“We are designed to be, in the end, fully renewed,  image-bearing human beings.”)  Wright is one of the few leading theologians who can write for the general public in an engaging way. It will challenge you!