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This Christian formation text combines insights from social science, biblical studies, and ethics to present a dynamic vision of human holiness and wholeness.
Many of us long to experience the fullness of God and his purpose for our lives. Not a whole lot of us ever do. The reason is that we have departed in some significant ways from the biblical view of Christian life and growth. The New Testament highlights the communal, missional, and eschatological aspects of our walk with God. We grow in our faith as individual Christians to the degree that we are (a) deeply rooted relationally in a local church community that is (b) passionately playing its part in God’s grand story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration, and (c) intently anticipating the summing of all things in Christ when Jesus returns. In recent decades, American evangelicals have traded away community, outreach, and the Bible’s teaching about eternity future for the pursuit of individual religious experience in the here-and-now. Why We Need the Church to Become More Like Jesus traces this departure from biblical Christianity through recent decades of popular evangelical trends and reminds us that faith centered on community, mission, and the story line of Scripture remains the key to the spiritual formation of the individual Christian.
Relational Integration of Psychology and Christian Theology offers an in-depth, interdisciplinary relational framework that integrates theology, psychology, and clinical and other applications. Building on existing models and debates about the relationship between psychology and theology, the authors provide a much-needed examination of the actual interpersonal dynamics of integration and its implications for training and clinical practice. Case studies from a variety of clinical and educational contexts illustrate and support the authors’ model of relational integration. Using an approach that is sensitive to theological diversity and to social context, this book puts forward a theological and therapeutic framework that values diversity, the repairing of ruptures, and collaboration.
For many Christians, spirituality and ethics are in separate mental and experiential compartments. Spirituality may be understood as an inner experience, while ethics is focused on decisions or positions on issues. Both of these views reduce spirituality and morality in Christian faith and practice, and ignore the centrality of desire for God and the things of God as key focal points for spiritual and moral formation. These aspects of Christian formation must be located in their scriptural and theological contexts in order to understand more fully what God desires for human life. This focus on desire provides content and context to Christian spirituality and morality. We are drawn outward to focus on God and the good of others while we learn to embody virtues, such as compassion, courage, self-control, gratitude, humility, and hope. Practices are crucial ways by which we learn to incarnate our ultimate desire of love for God and for what God desires in the pursuit of justice and goodness for all creation. In so doing, practices enable us to more fully integrate spiritual and moral growth in the processes of our desire for God and the things of God.
Critically examining the Western, secular approach to formal education, the author contests the value of an education system focusing solely on the intellectual and physical aspects of human development. The methodological aim and structure of this approach are compared to those of Islam which Dr. Al Zeera notes gives credence to the importance of spiritual and religious factors, as well as scholarly ones, with the overall objective of forming whole and holy human being who, instead of resisting the paradoxes of life, uses their interrelatedness as a means of personal and societal development. One interesting factor examined within the broader framework of the study is the area of female spirituality, an element, which the author argues, is vastly under-represented in prevalent Islamic literature. This study is a holistic view of knowledge and a sociological discussion adopting an unconventional approach of using the author’s own personal experiences as the basis for debate and analysis. We are invited to enter the world of understanding and observation to experience for ourselves an unusual approach to dialectical thinking.
"To reject power and its legitimate use is ultimately to reject God's gift and intention for Christians as we live in the world," writes Robert W. Pazmino.

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