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Invitation to a Journey - insights from a book on spiritual formation

One of the books I read and reviewed for my last Masters subject was "Invitation to a Journey: a road map for spiritual formation" by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.  I found it a thought provoking and helpful book and so I thought over the next few weeks I would provide some extracts and summaries of key points:

"I do not know what your perception of Christian discipleship might be, but much contemporary Christian spirituality tends to view the spiritual life as a static possession rather than a dynamic ever-developing growth towards wholeness in the image of Christ.  When spirituality is viewed as a static possession, the way to spiritual wholeness is seen as the acquisition of information and techniques that enable us to gain possession of the desired state of spirituality.  Discipleship is perceived as "my" spiritual life and tends to be defined by actions that ensure its possession.  The the endless quest for techniques, methods, programs by which we hope to "achieve" spiritual fulfillment.  The hidden premise behind all of this is the unquestioned assumption that we alone are in control of our spirituality.  In brief, we assume we are in control of our relationship with God." (p12)

His proposed definition of Christian spiritual formation is:
"Spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others".   All elements of this definition are significant. 

Next time we will look at the first two elements of this definition - process, and being conformed.  In the mean time you might like to pray this prayer:

"Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours.  You know the misformed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life.  You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas.  Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to be open to your transforming presence.  Lord have mercy." (p19)

David Wanstall, 11/02/2009