Inner Way: Toward a Rebirth Essay
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" (Romans 12.6 and 1 Cor. 12) This includes the gift of spiritual direction. Therefore, it can be garnered that the Holy Spirit provides the contemporary Church "with forms other than those used by the ancient elder to achieve this same purpose." (2000) Allen writes that it would be erroneous to claim that the Holy Spirit "could not again, in any age, raise up the pater penumatikos (the spiritual father) for the continuing ministry of the Church." (2000) in fact, since the Holy Spirit abides in the Church, then according to Allen, it "follows that there will be an ever-renewing form of pneumatophoroi, or 'bearers' or 'carriers' of that Spirit.
II. The Central Task of Spiritual Direction
Allen writes that the central task of spiritual direction in terms of its goal and historical goals is the leading of individuals "deeper and deeper into the struggle for the Christian life, that is, toward wholeness and healing." (2000) Allen states that this task is "central whether or not the life of the person being directed is currently undergoing a crisis." (2000) the individual's prayer life is not the only focus but the individual's overall experience is stated to have become" the very content of dialogue with the director. As one was led toward a deeper communion with God, there was always a focus on what was operational within oneself -- the perceptions of heart and mind -- and between oneself and God and his or her fellows -- behavioral concerns." (Allen, 2000) in fact, Allen writes that Christian communion is dependent upon these two specific experiential factors.
III. The Formation of the Spiritual Director's Evaluations
Allen writes that the formation of the spiritual director's evaluations was traditionally on the Christian anthropology in which he was rooted, and measured everything in life against its paradigm: the Theanthropos himself, the God-man, Christ Jesus. According to James Empereur in his work entitled "Enneagram and Spiritual Culture: Nine Paths to Spiritual Guidance" Joseph
Allen place the ministry of spiritual direction "in the context of two other important ministries, that or liturgy and of reconciliation." (p.26) Empereur writes, "It is a refreshing change of perspective from many in the Western tradition who tend to isolate spiritual direction as an individualized ministry, one that at times appear to distance itself from liturgy and the ministry of reconciliation of the church itself." (p.26) Allen writes that the directee of the spiritual life is such that involves entering into a relationship of trust with the director who enters an agreement to "walk with that person on his or her 'faith journey' through life." (2000) According to Allen "Relationship' and 'story' are key words in the study of spiritual direction.
Summary and Conclusion
The work of Joseph J. Allen reviewed in this study focuses on reawakening the ministry of spiritual direction in the Christian life. Several primary points are made by Allen in his book including that the inner way is a risky way and the path that takes the individual into God's very presence -- that is the presence of the living God. Allen also emphasizes the need for the contemporary spiritual direction to use contemporary methods that the Holy Spirit makes available which are specific to today's issues and challenges in living the Christian life. Allen emphasizes that the primary role of spiritual direction is the leading of the individual into a relationship with God that continually grows deeper and that is focused on the individual's healing and wholeness of being. The relationship between the directee and the spiritual director is one that involves trust. Allen writes that the words 'relationship' and story' are key in the study of spiritual direction.
Allen, J.J. (2000) Inner Way: Toward a Rebirth of Easter Christian Spiritual Direction. Holy Cross Orthodox Press.
Empereur, J. (1990) Ennagram and Spiritual Culture: Nine Paths to Spiritual Guidance. Continuum. 6 Jan. Retrieved from: http://books.google.com/books?id=cW02lGhChlgC&dq=Allen:+Inner+Way:+Toward+a+Rebirth+of+Eastern+Christian+Spiritual+Direction&source=gbs_navlinks_s
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