Top positive review
A Landmark Book on Soul Care from a Christian Perspective
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2019
Probably a half of all the books I review are in the area of psychology, spiritual formation, brain research and spiritual growth. So I was glad to get the recommendation of this book, Care of Souls by David Benner, for review. I was surprised to discover it’s a 1998 book, but recognized that Benner is one of the classic contributors in the field of soul care. His insights are invaluable for anyone concerned with people’s total well-being. The book is divided into two sections: understanding soul care, and giving and receiving soul care. In the first section Benner notes the salient differences between psychology and Christian theology, and the ways in which those two disciplines in the West have complemented and sometimes actually contradicted each other. He describes various aspects of Christian spirituality, what he calls “psycho-spiritual thinking,” and the rise of therapeutic thinking from many contributors in the field of soul care. He maintains that the care of souls from a Christian perspective involves what we do for each other, not for ourselves, within a moral context, in community, through dialogue focused on the well-being of the whole person. The second half of the book details what dialogue actually is in soul care, the distinctives of various practitioners involved in soul care, and the boundaries and challenges for care-givers.
The book has a decidedly academic focus, and is far from an easy read. But I highly recommend it for all those involved in Christian counseling, Christian nurture, spiritual formation, and the healthy integration of psychology and Christian thinking in the care of souls. 5 stars M.L. Codman-Wilson, Ph.D., 1/25/19