Reliable Authors and Wise Spirituality

Core Authors and Reliable Guides: For me - Gordon T. Smith is one of that tribe.

I read widely. I think carefully. I reflect deeply. I synthesize constantly. And then I seek to implement and integrate into life, ministry and mission the fruit of reading, thinking, refelction and synthesis.

At the core of my ministry/vocation is that of developing people. Through preaching and teaching, through writing, through seminars, courses, classes, workshops and retreats - the desire of my heart is to empower followers of Jesus (and especially those called to leadership) for maturity, fruitfulness and finishing well. It is an UNDERSTATEMENT to say this is important. It is urgent, vital, critical . . . The challenges facing the evangelical church of Christ in North America are difficult and daunting. The culture is not simply post-Christendom, it is post-Christian . . . and I believe, increasingly antagonistic to the Christian faith.

The culture around us is imprinting us with far greater effectiveness then the few hours (maybe it is that much) we spend at church, in fellowship and communion with the body of Christ, attending to the preached Word, engaging in missional service in the world . . . and lingering in personal devotional times with Christ. The World is imprinting us 24/7/365. The Word/Life of Jesus, for most of us, gets fringe time.

So . . . as I read, think, study, learn, process and IMPLEMENT - my question is always:

Who are the most reliable guides?
Who are the authors i can really trust and learn from?
Who has wisdom about our life with Christ and the spiritual formation processes?
Who has studied the biblical text, who has considered the great theological themes, who has walked through the history of the church on these matters?

One of those on my Core Authors list is Gordon T. Smith. I have loved three of his previous books. (Check out his Home Page.)








I especially recommend The Voice of Jesus to you. In this book, Smith explores John Wesley, Ignatius of Loyola and Jonathan Edwards and weaves a beautiful tapestry of insight about prayer, discernment and the leading of the Spirit of God in our lives. it is brilliant, warm and devotional, illuminating, theologically rich and spiritually useful. 

Now, there is a brand new book out which I have just picked up and only skimmed. It has moved to the TOP OF MY LIST for books to start when I am finished several others. Usually I have several books going at a time. I enjoy the cross-fertilization of ideas from reading different books. But when I start Smith's new book - I'll just dive into that one exclusively until I am finished.

The book is Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity. I'll just give you the chapters so you see the themes he is exploring.

  1. Called to Be Saints: The Need for a Compelling Theology of Holiness
  2. Union With Christ: The Essence of the Christian Life
  3. Holy People are  Wise People: An Invitation to Sapiential Holines
  4. Called to Do Good Work: An Invitation to Vocational Holiness
  5. Learning to Love: An Invitation to Social Holiness
  6. Joy and Ordering of the Affections: An Invitation to Emotional Holiness

In addition he has appendices on (1) Congregations and Transformation/Spiritual Maturity and (2) Christian Higher Education. 

I hope you are as attracted to these themes as I am drawn to them. From my post the other day on a book where I had major disagreements with the author on page after page, and found his approach to sanctificatiion and the Christian life unhelpful and at times even harmful... the writings of Gordon T. Smith are contiually helpful, edifying, encouraging, substantial, practical, theological and spiritual.

For those of you who have a ministry of teaching and training, discipling and maturing...
For those of you who are interested in thoughtful reading and reflection that leads to Christ-like living...
For those of you who want to "love the Lord your God with all your mind...

Pick up a copy of Called to be Saints. As you read it, let me know what you think and how Smith helps you on your journey of loving God, following Jesus, keeping in step with the Spirit and being a missional friend of God in the world.

Much grace, love, peace and joy to you.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

LCI - here to help you on the Spiritual Journey of Intimacy With God and Missional Service