In Spiritual Companioning: A Guide to Protestant Theology and Practice by Angela H. Reed, Richard R. Osmer, and Marcus G. Smucker the authors seek to address the disconnectedness and isolation many feel in regards to their spiritual lives in the local church.
The book is composed of seven chapters. The first chapter addresses how spiritual companionship serves as the answer to the problem of isolation many feel within the walls of church. The authors state that this social isolation can often lead to a sense of spiritual isolation in that the individual in being separated from others can feel separated from God. Chapters two through five address different spheres within which spiritual companioning may occur those being: the congregation, in a spiritual director/directee relationships, small groups, and every day relationships. Chapter six involves finding our place in God’s story and sharing that with others. Chapter seven addresses the challenges of spiritual companioning for those who serve in ministry.
This book addresses a key problem within the church today, and despite areas of disagreement this book is commendable. The general concepts found throughout the book and strategies for implementing and developing spiritual companioning are sound. We are so focused on trying to be connected with everyone through electronic media that we fail to cultivate face to face relationships with those around us. Reading this book has helped me to place my finger on that problem that I hadn’t given a lot of thought to. Chapters four and seven will probably prove to be the most helpful for those engaged in ministry.
The idea behind this book is sound, it is an issue that needs to be addressed. However it seems that this book fails to live up to its title in some key areas. First and foremost a great deal of what is put forward in this book is developed from Catholicism and mysticism. Frequent reference is made to Catholic monastic practices such as the Benedictine Way. In addressing the Protestant tradition of spirituality slight attention is given to the Puritans which is a disservice to readers.
The book has its good and its bad the reader just has to be aware of the backgrounds of the authors so as not to be surprised at where they disagree with the author. I’m surprised with how much I found to be helpful in this book when taking into account their various denominational backgrounds.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Academic through the Baker Academic Bloggers program for review purposes. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.