Item description for Changing Life Patterns: Adult Development in Spiritual Direction by Elizabeth Liebert...
Overview "This splendid text has served well as a dependable guide for defining spirituality, connecting it with developmental thought, and placing both in the congregational context. All who are concerned with the necessary spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation of persons who will be living and serving in the complex worlds of our new millennium will be guided, challenged, and graced by its profound insights."
Publishers Description Designed to help pastors and worship planners integrate four of the most important biblical themes into worship, each volume provides complete services for a number of different scripture passages. These resources can be used in conjunction with the new Bible Quest curriculum or in other worship contexts, including churches that follow the lectionary.The services, written by pastors and lay leaders from several denominations, feature a call to worship, an opening prayer, a prayer of confession, words of assurance, prayers of the people, a children's sermon, two sermon starters, an offering meditation, an offering prayer, a communion meditation, and a benediction.This landmark work, originally published in 1992, traces the various stages of spiritual development and discusses how developmental change can be fostered in individual and congregational settings.Elizabeth Liebert has developed an excellent resource for seminary classrooms and pastors. Her new chapter in this edition offers particularly helpful reflection on religious leadership in contemporary North American life. I'm delighted to continue to use this book in my classes.
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Studio: Christian Board of Publication
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Aug 15, 2006
Publisher Christian Board of Publication
ISBN 0827204795 ISBN13 9780827204799
Availability 0 units.
More About Elizabeth Liebert
Elizabeth Liebert is professor of spiritual life at San Fransisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California. She has published several books including Changing Life Patterns: Adult Development in Spiritual Direction with Chalice Press.
Elizabeth Liebert currently resides in the state of California. Elizabeth Liebert was born in 1944.
Reviews - What do customers think about Changing Life Patterns?
Human development theory applied to spiritual direction Jul 25, 2009
This book is not so much about spiritual direction as it is an application of human development theories to the practice of spiritual direction. As such, it offers some interesting and useful insights in places but, for the most part, I found this book to be dry reading and, at times, very frustrating in its point of view. That people typically grow though stages of development which have some common characteristics as they age and experience the vicissitudes of life is well documented by sociological and psychological studies, especially in the earlier stages. The models produced can provide a helpful interpretive framework for counselors, clergy and spiritual directors in helping others grow emotionally and spiritually. But, as the theories progress to defining later, more "mature" or "highly developed" stages of development they become more problematic, in my opinion. The later stages aren't as well substantiated as the earlier ones, because there are fewer people to study who have reached those stages. Yet, the expected characteristics of these later stages seem to be applied with as much confidence as are the earlier ones. The positive characteristics of later stages seem to reflect more the ideals and values held by the theorists than anything else. The progression of stages in this book is presented as linear with no forks in the road, only stops or regressions along the way.
In spite of the author's occasional insistence to the contrary (the two caveats she discusses on pages 127-8 are very important and well stated), the stages end up looking like some kind of grading system for degrees of maturity and spiritual growth. What's even more disturbing is that the characteristics of these stages tend toward a kind of relativism and universalism in one's moral and theological beliefs as one goes up the scale from "lower" to "higher" stages. The problem with the stages is that they seem to explain too much and so don't explain much at all. Depending on one's point of view, for example, one could view a move toward relativism and universalism as a degenerate one rather than one toward maturation. Who's to say? The application of the framework to individuals who contradict it would seem to put them in a "lower" stage as a means to explain (away) why such people think the way they do (e.g., they're a bit "narrow minded" or they've "gone soft"). The appeal to "paradox", for example to resolve conflicts seems way overdone as a sign of mature development. If one doesn't understand and maintain the difference between paradox and contradiction, then the appeal to paradox can be an immature way of insulating oneself and one's beliefs from challenge and change. Or, it can be used simply as a way to resolve an inner tension or discomfort with an unpopular, or "politically incorrect" point of view, just another way of being a "conformist," albeit to a new set of values. To leave behind consistency and comprehensiveness for the sake of some vague and ill defined concept of "oneness" and "universal principles" just doesn't seem like the pinnacle of adult development to me. Not necessarily. It could just be a self insulating way of easing inner conflicts as one ages, the process of caring less about issues that one will not be able to effectively influence in the remainder of his or her lifetime.
It matters more to me how well a person has remained engaged with the implications of their own point of view and that of others with respect to it, during their life experience. Those who still believe in the truth about serious matters which are important to them and others while still also being able to honestly understand and graciously engage opposing viewpoints are the most mature human beings. I've met "broadminded" and "inclusive" persons who have very elitist attitudes toward their more "conformist" neighbors, family or church members. They love humanity, but dislike particular people very much. On the other hand, there are plenty of those who might be labeled "conformist" who may seem insensitive to global or systemic evils but who will reach out in love to any individual in need. Who's more mature? I could see each type of person taking a different path toward maturity. I have found Hagberg and Guelich's model of life stages more helpful than the one presented in this book because it's not applied in a linear fashion and seems to present a model of maturity that is more inclusive of all stages. (See their book, The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, Second Edition.) I also found Spiritual Journey: Critical Thresholds and Stages of Adult Spiritual Genesis by Nemeck and Coombs very helpful and insightful.
Among the other problems I had with this book, I didn't find it to be a very Christ centered approach to spiritual direction. There is very little or nothing in the way of examples drawn from Jesus' life and teaching. The best I can say is that the book reflects a kind of "spilled Christianity", indistinct, rubbed into the fabric of society and a politically and theologically "liberal" value system. There is nothing that seems distinctively Christian in this book's approach to spiritual direction, perhaps because such distinctiveness is not seen as a good or helpful thing.