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Preaching to Found Souls

Learning to listen is the first step toward preaching for spiritual formation.

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Awhile back evangelicals like me began climbing rickety stairs to rummage around in the attic. There, under the eaves and covered in dust, we found boxes of stuff labeled "spiritual formation." We thumbed through old scrapbooks and journals. We puzzled out Latin phrases like lectio divina and wondered if we could create a spiritual labyrinth in the fellowship hall. We came across very nonevangelical sounding names such as St. John of the Cross, Bernard of Clairvaux, Teresa of Ávila, and the Desert Fathers.

When we hauled all this stuff down to our studies, we discovered we had our own spiritual geek squad—folks who never showed up for our big conferences and who despised our leadership seminars, but who actually knew these dusty writings. When they spoke of spiritual disciplines, they didn't just mean a morning quiet time with Our Daily Bread.

Spiritual direction became cool, in a retro kind of way. I wondered where I could find a spiritual director. I imagined entering Father ...

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