The Heart of a Calling
The greatest challenge within the breadth of the Christian tradition is not a loss of membership or a rapid decrease in budgets or a loss of prestige or cultural sway. Rather, our greatest danger rests with a loss of spiritual imagination and the willingness to cultivate a practice of faith that harnesses the potential within our own religious tradition. When we neglect our more substantive identity and are driven instead by superficial notions of success, the Christian community becomes starved of the more profound hope found within the gospels. The failure to cultivate our imaginative capacity greatly impedes leadership development and religious practice within all our religious communities. (pg. 24-25)
The only way this book could be better is if Stuart were sitting there while you read it, interrupting you with another story he just thought of or answering a question with a question that took you even deeper. He’s old enough to know how church can go wrong and young enough to believe things can change when people stop trying to lead the Spirit and start yielding instead. How does such a high vision become a trustworthy reality on the ground? Read this book to find out.
Barbara Brown Taylor, Author of An Altar in the World and Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others
I found Stuart’s book to be a vital and badly needed contribution to both clergy and lay people who care about what it means to go deeper together as a church, responding to the invitations of God’s Spirit in Christ.
Tilden Edwards, Episcopal priest, spiritual author, and founder of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation
With courage and creativity, Stuart Higginbotham applies a transformed vision to an unlikely area of contemplative engagement: parish administration. . . . He invites us to relinquish facile, anxiety-driven quick fixes. . .or the compulsion to ‘get the job done.’ Instead, he shows how a contemplative approach can illuminate and free every aspect of parish life.
The Rev. Julia Gatta, PhD, Bishop Frank A. Juhan Professor of Pastoral Theology, the School of Theology, the University of the South, Sewanee
Contemplative reformation in action. . . . Inspiring his vestry and church community to ponder their vocation as clergy and laity, Higginbotham observes how a new spaciousness invites a radical awareness of God’s love and calling.
Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD, spiritual director and author of When the Heart Speaks, Listen
(Additional endorsements are included in the front of the book itself)
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Fr. Stuart serves as the rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Georgia. You can contact him at http://www.gracechurchgainesville.org.