Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality

Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality

Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality

Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality


"This accessible and engaging history provides an excellent primer on the two-millennium quest for union with God, a thirst at the center of Christian life and practice. This new edition not only updates all the chapters and features but also adds more material on the spirituality of Jesus, medieval women mystics, and contemporary spirituality. Short excerpts from primary sources, a glossary, a time line, maps, a bibliography, and a set of spiritual exercises heighten the book's usefulness for students and lay persons alike." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The book you are holding could change your life in a number of ways. It could inform you about the spiritual tradition of Christianity, if you have not studied it. Whether you count yourself a Christian or not, this will make you more knowledgeable about the spiritual life. Or it could inform you about the way Christians in other cultures walk in the Spirit in our own day. But this book is not simply about information. It is about formation. It is about the ways our spirits are shaped by the Spirit of God. It is about the discovery of new being, new relationships, and new practices.

This book attempts so much in so few pages. It gives you an accessible sampling of the spirituality of over 100 individuals and spiritual movements, in order to provide a framework for your own further research into those that compel your attention. The book's strength is its breadth: selections from all major denominations, all of history, all continents. Christianity can no longer be regarded as a “Western” religion; this book is intended to be an hors d'oeuvre to increase your hunger for more exploration. Notably it connects the intellectual side of spiritual study to the practical. Every chapter includes suggested practices that are related to the content of the chapter.

This account is designed for both individuals and classes. The first edition of this book proved its worth in many settings for individuals, church groups, college, university, and seminary classes, and programs for spiritual directors. This new Revised and Expanded Edition will serve as an even better resource. It includes new material about Celtic spirituality, medieval women mystics, J. S. Bach, the holiness movement, Oswald Chambers, Thérèse of Lisieux, C. S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Rosemary Radford Reuther, Pope Shenoudah III, and Desmond Tutu, among many others. For the first time, the book includes maps to locate the places discussed in the text. The most noticeable change is making the suggestions for spiritual practice more prominent and more numerous.

Thanks to many who have contributed to this revision: my students at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, especially Katelynn Strieff; my colleagues on the Augsburg faculty, especially Bev Stratton, Philip Quanbeck II, Phil Adamo, Mark Tranvik, and Lori Brandt Hale, who read and critiqued portions of the drafts; Louise Lystig Frichtie, Mark Henning, and Olaf Hall-Holt who designed the maps; the Donald and Irene Grangaard Endowment for faculty development at Augsburg College; the librarians at Augsburg's Lindell . . .

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