Here is a partial list of works that Lutheran seminaries recommend in spiritual formation classes and workshops, organized by author.
• Bernard of Clairvaux: Five Books on Consideration: Advice to a Pope and Other Writings (Cistertian Publications, 1976).
• Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Life Together (HarperOne, 1978) and Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (Augsburg, 1974).
• Barbara E. Bowe: Biblical Foundations of Spirituality (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).
• Simon Chan: Spiritual Theology (IVP Academic, 1998).
• Tilden Edwards: Living in the Presence (HarperOne, 1995).
• Richard J. Foster: Celebration of Discipline (Hodder & Stoughton Religious, 1980).
• Brother Lawrence: The Practice of the Presence of God (Paraclete Press, 2010).
"An Exposition of the Lord's Prayer for Simple Laymen" (Luther's Works, Volume 42; Fortress, 1969).
The Freedom of a Christian (Fortress, 2008).
Large Catechism (Book of Concord, Fortress, 2000).
Lectures on Romans (Westminster John Knox, 2006).
A Simple Way to Pray (Westminster John Knox, 2000).
Small Catechism (Book of Concord, Fortress, 2000).
• Henri J.M. Nouwen: The Living Reminder (HarperOne, 1984) and In the Name of Jesus (Crossroad, 1992).
• Mary Oliver: Thirst (Beacon, 2007).
• Eugene H. Peterson: The Contemplative Pastor (Eerdman's, 1993) and Under the Unpredictable Plant (Eerdman's, 1994).
• Bryan P. Stone and Claire E. Wolfteich: Sabbath in the City (Westminster John Knox, 2008).
• Marjorie J. Thompson: Soul Feast (Westminster John Knox, 1995).
• Lutheran Southern Seminary (Columbia, S.C.) faculty position paper: "Spirituality and Spiritual Formation".
Some things we all know and practice defy neat description. We may call them by a variety of names or no name at all. Spiritual formation falls into that category.
|Lutheran Southern Seminary students walk a prayer labyrinth on the school's Columbia, S.C., campus. Spiritual disciplines are taught as part of seminary life and life in ministry.|
Paul Westermeyer, professor of church music at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., calls spiritual formation "a thicket in which there are no simple descriptions." It's both deeply personal and nearly universal. It predates Christianity yet carries us through the 24/7 days of this 21st century. It is both teaching and practice. It evokes a variety of ancient disciplines to encounter and collaborate with the Spirit. It is living in community and in the spirit.
Luther's website says spiritual formation "describes a whole host of practices or disciplines that enable us to grow in our relationship with God. Some of the traditional practices include prayer, spiritual reading, Sabbath-keeping and spiritual direction."
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