Joan N, Reviewer
Spiritual formation has been an interest of mine for decades and I had high hopes for this book. I was particularly impressed by the authors realizing a kind of spiritual formation appealing to the intellect has not served us well. “Only when we see formation as an exercise in love, not information, will our Christian life begin to flourish.” (136/2118) They suggest the use of imagination. They say our aim should be “knowing and enjoying God in his manifest works in the world and salvation.” (319/2118) They appeal to the historic idea that the pinnacle of Christian life is beholding God in his infinite wonder and beauty. We are off to a good start, I thought. However, when the authors write of the work of the Spirit, they suggest understanding that work, as act of the intellect, the accumulation of information, rather than a spiritual endeavor. While they do later write about meditating on the Word, there is no encouragement to learn how to sense the leading of the Spirit. In fact, they say we are not to depend on spiritual and emotional experiences but rather the “gospel fruit forged in the trials of everyday life.” (952/2118) We are not given any insights into living in the Spirit or walking in the Spirit as Paul commanded in Gal. 5:25, something I think is essential to being transformed in the inner being. In the end, this book is typical to others on spiritual formation and does not add any new insights into means or methods. Go to church. Be in the Word. Have a spiritual friend. Learn through suffering. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.