Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday

Now available through Noesis Press!

Coffeehouse Contemplative: Spiritual Direction for the Everyday, through anecdote, engagement with scripture, theological reflection, and practical application, explores concepts of spirituality, prayer, and spiritual direction for those who are either unclear about these terms' meaning, or haven’t considered them despite a lifetime of religious participation. Over the course of this book, the reader will be introduced to a variety of thinkers including Ignatius of Loyola, Brother Lawrence, Karl Rahner, and Teresa of Avila. Their writings and traditions will help shape a definition of spirituality as seeking a deeper connection with God and understanding of self, wherever we are and in whatever we do. To encourage further consideration of the subject matter, each chapter will include a list of questions for reflection in an individual or group context.

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This book is for...

...aspiring scholars wanting to explore the 
theological foundation of Christian spirituality...

...clergy, teachers, and church leaders desiring an accessible way to introduce spiritual practice in a group setting...

...spiritual directors in search of resources and those curious about spiritual direction...

...committed church members wondering if there are ways to connect with God besides three hymns and a sermon...

...former or non-members wondering if the church has more to offer besides three hymns and a sermon...

...the "spiritual but not religious" seeking guidance in naming what that identity means for one's own journey...

...anyone who sees this great big world of experiences, both good and bad, sensing that God is in all of them somehow and wishing to learn more about cultivating a greater awareness of how that is possible.

Praise for Coffeehouse Contemplative:

"He had me at 'traffic routes to Akron, Ohio.' Jeffrey Nelson lays out the contemporary practice of spiritual direction in a careful and concise way with questions for reflection that remind me in each chapter to go deep rather than fast. Then he suggests that there are as many routes into this traditional practice as there are people seeking paths to their own spiritual goals. I have become very tired of the literature of “one answer will fix” … our prayer lives, our church communities or the problems of the world and this book gave me a new and generous map." - Maren Tirabassi, author of From the Psalms to the Cloud

"Coffeehouse Contemplative offers a warm and accessible invitation to an intentional spiritual life. The grace of God meets us in the ordinary moments of life, and Jeff Nelson's book beautifully captures the down-to-earth nature of life in the Spirit." - Carl McColman, author of Befriending Silence

"As the nursery rhyme asks of Mary, Mary, quite contrary, so Jeffrey Nelson asks that most timeless and faithful question: 'How does the spirit grow?' With reflection and prayer, experience and care comes the pastoral answer in Coffeehouse Contemplative, a resource that invites readers to stroll through the garden of spiritual direction, not merely to observe it but to linger in its richness and to be nourished by its attention to holiness in the everyday. This primer on spiritual direction offers accessible space for digging in the dirt of life to touch and taste God’s goodness and to grow in faith." - Rachel G. Hackenberg, author of Sacred Pause and Writing to God

"We are all looking to make meaning out of our lives. For many, the old forms that once offered such insight are now failing us. Spiritual direction is a practice for discerning meaning that promises to not disappoint. Jeff Nelson provides many ways to engage this ancient but never-more-relevant spiritual practice for today’s seeker." - Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

"Jeff Nelson has made the contemplative life accessible in Coffeehouse Contemplative. Bringing light to the murky waters of 'spirituality,' Nelson fleshes out concepts like meditation, mindfulness and prayer. Most importantly, perhaps, is the encouragement that one find a traveling partner on the path of spiritual deepening, which holds many surprising places in which to encounter the divine." - Bryan Berghoef, author of Pub Theologian: Beer, Conversation, and God

“'Spiritual direction' in many quarters often carries (unfair) overtones of theology that is more therapeutic than rigorous. In this text, Nelson defies that stereotype by demonstrating how the God-images at play in spiritual direction influence not only outcomes but also the rationale for why direction takes place. Written from a progressive Protestant perspective, the text deftly blends ancient wisdom with contemporary concerns. It will be useful both as a textbook in spiritual direction programs and as a more general guide for those interested in how questions of vocation and mindfulness take shape in our age of pressure and distraction." - Robert Saler, Executive Director, Center for Pastoral Excellence; Research Professor of Lutheran Studies, Christian Theological Seminary

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