This book is an exceptionally good introduction to the meaning of personal relationships that are called “spiritual friendship” and ” spiritual direction”. Good spiritual formation doesn’t happen well on a purely individual level. It’s important to have some trusted person(s) with whom one can discuss just about anything and be vulnerable and open. American Protestant Christianity in particular has been too individualistic for it’s own good. The “just me and Jesus” mindset works out little better than “just me” without a third person who is just as committed to life as a spiritual journey being there to observe and help discern the direction of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.
David Benner does a very good job of clearly describing the qualities and characteristics of spiritual friendship and spiritual direction, how they differ from each other and from other similar relationships like counseling, life coaching, discipleship, etc. and how then can be combined in a small group setting or (even!) within the marriage relationship. I highly recommend this book for those who want a good basic understanding of what it means to be “sacred companions”. This is a much needed ministry within the church today. I’m very thankful for the people who have filled this role in my life.
Hi, Paul. I can see that I have been too individualistically oriented in my spiritual walk. Marilyn is my closest spiritual partner, as in other areas of life, but even so, we don’t purposefully walk together in spiritual relationship. I have considered that it might be be good to have this kind of relationship with her or someone, but I have never done amything about it. I wondered if “scared companions” was a typo, or if it referred to walking together in the fear of God. David
I think the title, “sacred companions” is a general term that covers bother “spiritual friendship” and the spiritual direction relationship. They’re different but they both involve an intentional accompaniment of one person with the other in the pursuit of fellowship with and service to God. The book covers both types of relationship. It’s interesting that Benner met with some skepticism in suggesting that this type of relationship can exist between a husband and wife. There are obvious pit-falls there because the two are so close to one another in many other ways, but I think he gives some very good principles for making it work.
By the way, you and Marilyn are among those I thought of in writing that last sentence of my review. You both have been a tremendous blessing to me and my family.
[Edit:] I was a little slow to grasp your point about my typo in writing this. Fear not, you finally made it plain to me, and I have corrected it.