Spiritual direction has been an intrinsic part of the Christian tradition since the earliest days of the church when desert mothers and fathers were sought out for their wisdom and guidance.
Today, the popularity of retreats and renewed interest in monastic spirituality has put spiritual direction in the spotlight. It is shedding its rather exotic, mystical associations and is increasingly regarded as a core component of Christian ministry.
This guide aims to equip clergy and laity engaged in this task, or in training for it. It includes,
Part One: What is spiritual direction? This is an exploration of biblical, historical and contemporary models of spiritual direction. What makes a good spiritual director?
Part Two covers listening and responding to God, prayer, paying attention, discernment, interpreting religious experience, recognising God in the every day, journalling, and holy leisure. P
art Three covers listening and responding to others, listening to stories and experience, looking for signs of grace, pain or crises.
Part Four covers listening and responding to ourselves, and Part Five covers spiritual direction in the local church.
'This is quite simply the book on spiritual direction we've been waiting on for years. Perhaps some of the book's freshness might lie in the author being a New Zealander. The sub-title of the book is 'A practical introduction’ and it's almost a course in itself. There are questions for reflection, a multitude of possible exercises and sometimes the reader is invited to think about a topic before reading the relevant section of the book. There are also lots of verbatim transcripts of chunks of direction sessions. While outlining the various models of spiritual direction as well as other varieties of helping relationships, Pickering details her approach which she calls 'contemplative, incarnational spiritual direction'. Gordon Jeff, spiritual director and author
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