Spiritual Friendship after Religion

Walking with People while the Rules Are Changing

Joseph A. Stewart-Sicking, Foreword by Diana Butler Bass

Mar/2016, 144 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819232496



• Innovative approach to re-engaging those who have distanced themselves from church
• Updated overview of fields of religion, psychology, and pastoral practice
• Companion to Christianity after Religion by Diana Butler Bass

Hardly a day goes by without some poll or news story documenting the changing relationship between the general population and religion, often accompanied by predictions of doom. The rise of the "nones" and the "dones" leaves many adrift in a world with multiple complex challenges. Providers of "spiritual friendship"--pastors, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, concerned Christians--will need to change their approach as those with whom they interact distance themselves from the church. How should we talk with the "nones" and the "dones" about their spiritual lives? How can we be with them in their struggles when they are suspicious of our motives?

These are questions providers of spiritual friendship face every day. This book offers answers that can help them look at their work in new ways. Stewart-Sicking presents an innovative approach to spiritual friendship, addressing major challenges of modern life and significant challenges in the lives of individuals, as well as making accessible scholarship on the subject that is difficult for practitioners to access.

Audience: Spiritual directors and pastoral counselors, pastors and providers of pastoral care, professors in seminaries and in religion and psychology, interested people trying to understand the role of religion in the world today.

Read the first chapter

Joe Stewart-Sicking is an Episcopal priest and Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling at Loyala University Maryland, where he directs the PhD program. His research explores the impact of modernity and postmodernity on spiritual formation, the emotional health and vocational satisfaction of clergy, and the relationship between spiritual direction and psychology. He was the associate project director for the Project of Congregations of Intentional Practice at Virginia Theological Seminary, directed by Diana Butler Bass. He coedited with her From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations and wrote the study guide for Christianity for the Rest of Us. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Spiritual Friendship After Religion is less of a directive ‘how to’ book and more of a practical ‘what if’ one.  What if we treated all our friendships as the opportunity for the Spirit to show up?  What if we encouraged people in our congregations to consider their communal vocation as spiritual companions?  What if people of faith took on the task of befriending the postmodern world?”

—Diana Butler Bass, author of Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution

"In today's fluid society, spiritual improvisation is as important as contemplation for those who serve as companions to others on a spiritual path. Joseph Stewart-Sicking serves as an interpretive guide for anyone negotiating the unfamiliar terrain of a post-religious world."

—Eric Elnes, author of Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers)

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  • Spiritual Direction
  • Religion and Society

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