Item description for Desiring God's Will: Embracing God's Passion for Ethnic Diversity by David G. Benner, S.J. Thomas H. Green & Thomas H. Green S. J....
Overview Benner asks and answers the question, "How might we discipline our wills so that we become both willing and able to do what God asks of us?"
Publishers Description We overhear Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane--"not my will, but thine be done"--but have trouble honestly making it our own. (from the Introduction) Most people think of God's will as something to be found or as the receiving of guidance from God when making decisions. We assume that if we just knew what God wanted, we'd do it. Too often, however, the problem is not that we don't know what God desires for our lives, but rather that we just don't want to do what we already know he wants. Sometimes, though, we try to live the Christian life out of sheer self-determination and grit, only to discover that our will is not sufficient to sustain us. How might our wills be changed so that we become both willing and able to do what God asks of us? In Desiring God's Will psychologist and spiritual director David G. Benner explores the transformation of the will in Christian spirituality. He examines why our desires are disordered and how our human volition can be brought into alignment with God's intentions so that we willingly choose that which God wants for us. In so doing, Benner shows us that cultivating discernment and being attuned to God's desires is the path to true life, spiritual health and freedom. God wants to change our choosing, not just our choices. By aligning our hearts with God's, we will find liberation from the kingdom of self and instead experience the joy of the kingdom of God.
From Publishers Weekly Discovering God's will is much more than simply making right choices regarding
such events as marriage or career. According to psychologist and spiritual
director Benner, surrendering to God's will is choosing God over self in all
areas of life. It is willingness instead of willfulness. In this short book,
veteran spirituality writer Benner takes a close look at willfulness in the
forms of discipline and rigidity, then contrasts those with the freedom that
comes with knowing God's love. That love, he says, is the basis for our
surrender to God. With that surrender comes desire, and with that desire a
willingness to make God, not self, the center of life. Benner admits to his
struggles with willfulness, including God's plan for him to write this book
instead of the one Benner planned, but he also describes the spiritual
transformation he desires and sometimes fully achieves. He quotes often from
the spiritual leaders of the past, a refreshing change from some modern
authors who reduce God's will to "sin avoidance." His discussion of
consolation, the name given by St. Ignatius for the feeling that we are
aligned with God, and desolation, the feeling of being far from God, is an
interesting and valuable addition to the book. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed
Citations And Professional Reviews Desiring God's Will: Embracing God's Passion for Ethnic Diversity by David G. Benner, S.J. Thomas H. Green & Thomas H. Green S. J. has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 02/07/2005 page 14
Publishers Weekly - 12/13/2004 page 61
Ingram Advance - 02/01/2005 page 92
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Studio: IVP Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Feb 1, 2005
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830832610 ISBN13 9780830832613
Availability 0 units.
More About David G. Benner, S.J. Thomas H. Green & Thomas H. Green S. J.
David G. Benner is professor of psychology at Redeemer College (Ontario) and a practicing clinical psychologist. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling Dr. Benner is also the founding director of the Institute for Psychospiritual Health, an international network of scholars and practitioners.
David G. Benner currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.
David G. Benner has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts With The Heart Of God?
Knowing God's will Sep 17, 2005
David Benner states in his epilogue that there is a difference between doing the right 'thing' and following the right 'way'. It is by going the right way that our will is most aligned with God's will for us - it is not something that is simply reducible to a list of things to do, or even a figuring out for particular decisions 'What would Jesus do?' This might have a component in the process, but this is not the entirety of the process.
In the Benedictine rule, one of the vows made is conversion of life. This isn't the road to Damascus kind of conversion, and Benner recognises that in the kind of transformation most of us are called to seek. 'Our response to God's presence is not usually the Damascus Road knocked-off-our-feet-and-struck-blind epxerience of Paul (Acts 9:1-9). Typically, God's presence is more subtle, and our reactions are correspondingly attenuated.'
Benner discusses the Examen and discernment process of St. Ignatius as a key way of looking at how our will and God's will might work together. The opposite poles of consolation and desolation are highlighted as means by which we can attune ourselves more completely with God's will. This is a very different thing that seeing the idea of following God's will as one more new year's resolution (an analogy Benner draws early in the book). We all have willfulness, which can have a darker side (Benner highlights the character of Judas, among others, and certainly the apostle Paul spoke at length about the problems of the will).
Benner calls love the antidote of this dark side of willfulness. This is contained in the Lord's Prayer - how often do we say this prayer by rote recitation, rather than hearing the impact of the words. Thy kindgom come. Thy will be done. These are very different from our natural impulses, which would guide each of us to say to herself or himself, 'my will be done.' Benner says that the question is not whether to pray or not, but rather which prayer to say, and that, 'when it comes right down to it, there are really only two possible prayers that can be prayed.' My will be done, or thy will be done.
Benner also introduces the spiritual practice of lectio divina, a time honoured practice that engages scripture and other spiritual classic writing with our heart, head and spirit. Approaching the scripture with open heart and mind, with an air of expectation that something new from the spirit will be revealed, is at the centre of this practice.
Benner is honest in saying that the will of God does not always lead to happiness, at least not as the world perceives it. This is no 'prosperity gospel' text. Sometimes the will of God leads to the cross, as any Christian should be well aware. However, there is the consolation, the heart-felt acceptance of God's presence, that comes from the entry into this kind of process.
Benner's book is a wonderful guide to the beginnings of spiritual direction. While spiritual direction is something best done in community or with a more experience person as guide, there are insights to be gained from this text about individual practices. Hopefully it will motivate the reader to continue further into discernment of where God's will lies.