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Mansions of the Heart: Exploring the Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Mansions of the Heart: Exploring the Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth
Author: R. Thomas Ashbrook
Publisher: Published September 10th 2009 by Jossey-Bass
ISBN: 9780470530054
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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A practical program for developing a deeper, more authenticrelationship with God Written for anyone who wants to develop a deeper more meaningfulrelationship with God, Mansions of the Heart offers astep-by-step guide through a spiritual formation road map based onTeresa of Avila's Seven Mansions. The book includes a Mapping Toolthat will help you discern your place on your A practical program for developing a deeper, more authenticrelationship with God Written for anyone who wants to develop a deeper more meaningfulrelationship with God, Mansions of the Heart offers astep-by-step guide through a spiritual formation road map based onTeresa of Avila's Seven Mansions. The book includes a Mapping Toolthat will help you discern your place on your spiritual journey andoffers church leaders a process for helping church members to growinto spiritual maturity. Contains a spiritual program based on the writings of Teresa ofAvila, one of Christianity's most profound and beloved mysticalteachers Offers a complete, step-by-step program for spiritualgrowth Includes information for leading others in their spiritualjourneys Appropriate for all kinds of Christians

30 review for Mansions of the Heart: Exploring the Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Garland Vance

    As part of my doctoral studies through Denver Seminary, I have read several books dealing with the Stages of Faith Development. Mansions of the Heart by Thomas Ashbrook was by far the best (which is impressive since I also gave The Critical Journey a 5 star rating). Ashbrook takes the writing of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and systematizes them into a paradigm for faith development. In the first two chapters Ashbrook points us to the goal of spiritual formation as well as some of the m As part of my doctoral studies through Denver Seminary, I have read several books dealing with the Stages of Faith Development. Mansions of the Heart by Thomas Ashbrook was by far the best (which is impressive since I also gave The Critical Journey a 5 star rating). Ashbrook takes the writing of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and systematizes them into a paradigm for faith development. In the first two chapters Ashbrook points us to the goal of spiritual formation as well as some of the mythical goals that we we often believe (or are taught) are the goal of spiritual formation (myths like holiness or wholeness). The goal, Ashbrook asserts, is an ever-growing love relationship with the Triune God. Throughout the book, the reader follows the lives of Michael and Abigail, fictitious characters who model what spiritual development can look like over a lifetime. The fictitious characters are not idealized but engage in the highs and lows of being saints who wrestle with sin and spiritual warfare. I believe that this is an indispensable resource for ministry leaders and would lay a firm foundation for ministries that help people grow spiritually over a lifetime. I implore anyone who is in pastoral care to read this book and make it part of an ongoing discussion with other ministry leaders.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I think much of modern Christianity is built on flawed epistemology. It reduces "knowing God" to having information or data about God, instead of the transforming and relational way in which we are able to know God. Our faith is too often simplified to just knowing theology or doing the right thing, as important as those things are. Christianity is spiritual and our relationship with God is to be intimate. This book is the best primer I have seen to provide a roadmap for that type of relationshi I think much of modern Christianity is built on flawed epistemology. It reduces "knowing God" to having information or data about God, instead of the transforming and relational way in which we are able to know God. Our faith is too often simplified to just knowing theology or doing the right thing, as important as those things are. Christianity is spiritual and our relationship with God is to be intimate. This book is the best primer I have seen to provide a roadmap for that type of relationship. There is a timing element to when to read this book. I think if you read the preface and introduction, you can tell by how much it resonates you to whether you understand it's a good time for you to read the book. If not, it may be a matter of waiting to let God take you a little further in your spiritual walk before this book is the most helpful. I would encourage reading it someone else and creating a dialogue from it too. I look forward to experiencing God and my faith in deeper ways from the changed perspective that this book provides.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Vogel

    For anyone who's ever read the book "The Interior Castle" by Saint Teresa of Avila, this book is a great help at explaining some of the rich depths of that book and Mr Ashbrook gave a tour of the seven levels and usually 6 rooms at each level, and the role these play in our pursuit of our Bridegroom...he delineates the gifts and the spiritual changes we receive through out this whole process of attaining holiness. I would recommend this book to those who have already read St Teresa's book or to For anyone who's ever read the book "The Interior Castle" by Saint Teresa of Avila, this book is a great help at explaining some of the rich depths of that book and Mr Ashbrook gave a tour of the seven levels and usually 6 rooms at each level, and the role these play in our pursuit of our Bridegroom...he delineates the gifts and the spiritual changes we receive through out this whole process of attaining holiness. I would recommend this book to those who have already read St Teresa's book or to those who are considering reading it. It is helpful and a bit more simple to read than is The Interior Castle.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura R Bransky

    It took a long time, only because it wasn't valuable to rush my way through. I really value this book. So much of what he wrote put words to the longings in my heart, clarity to my struggles, and guidance towards some next steps to deeper intimacy with my Lord. I don't see language or teachings like this in my circles...that's been a source of frustration. I'm glad to know I'm not alone my perceptions. I don't know a lot about spiritual formation, but it seems of benefit and worthy of exploratio It took a long time, only because it wasn't valuable to rush my way through. I really value this book. So much of what he wrote put words to the longings in my heart, clarity to my struggles, and guidance towards some next steps to deeper intimacy with my Lord. I don't see language or teachings like this in my circles...that's been a source of frustration. I'm glad to know I'm not alone my perceptions. I don't know a lot about spiritual formation, but it seems of benefit and worthy of exploration- the goal being Christ in me, the hope of glory. I'd recommend it to anyone longing for more, feeling that pull of the Spirit to draw nearer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Taylor

    Ashbrook argues for a game-changing goal for spiritual formation, offers us a map so we can find ourselves in the journey and helps us see that the ultimate destination is much further and deeper than many of us have imagined. Let this book guide, challenge and encourage you toward intimate, loving and joyful fellowship with the Triune God!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Josh Burgess

    This was a powerful book for me. Very impactful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Very interesting and makes a lot of sense about the seven stages, I totally related to this book. I might end up buying this one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    A very important, Protestant introduction to the developing discussion of spiritual formation. Ashbrook presents a clear, evangelically-palatable, and intriguing description of this recent (though ancient) turn in Christian discipleship. Ashbrook focuses specifically on common stages of spiritual growth, grounded in centuries of church experience. The Reformation seems to have stunted serious exploration of stages of sanctification by front-loading the doctrine of justification, which can someti A very important, Protestant introduction to the developing discussion of spiritual formation. Ashbrook presents a clear, evangelically-palatable, and intriguing description of this recent (though ancient) turn in Christian discipleship. Ashbrook focuses specifically on common stages of spiritual growth, grounded in centuries of church experience. The Reformation seems to have stunted serious exploration of stages of sanctification by front-loading the doctrine of justification, which can sometimes encourage a simplistic two-stage view of maturity, in which we are either out or in, imperfect or perfected, unregenerate or regenerate. The book also helps explain the insufficiency of our typical, intellectualistic understanding of discipleship. Here are some helpful quotes from the book: "Our limited view of discipleship has meant being a student of God, 'doing' the right things such as daily Bible reading and memorization, praying for others, practicing moral behavior and witnessing, attending a local church, believing the right things....The question remains: Does that kind of discipleship produce the kind of personal transformation needed to live meaningfully and dynamically in the world today? When we're really honest, we have to answer no. There has to be more" (10). "In the nineties, the Holy Spirit began to move in new ways and many serious followers of Jesus began to discover classical forms of spirituality. Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline opened doors to classical works such as Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle and Thomas a Kempis's The Imitation of Christ. Contemporary writers such as Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton further described in modern terms, the life of prayer and intimacy with God in ways that were more palatable for Protestants as well as Catholics." (11).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I think that this book has impacted me enough to get five stars, but I always have to caution myself with any attempt to systematize, quantify, or categorize spiritual growth. It doesn't seem to be in keeping with Scripture or God's tendency to be unpredictable. That said, Ashbrook does a masterful job of regularly reminding the reader that this is the case; that spiritual formation is fluid, non-linear, and that no two stories are the same. He uses Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles and puts the I think that this book has impacted me enough to get five stars, but I always have to caution myself with any attempt to systematize, quantify, or categorize spiritual growth. It doesn't seem to be in keeping with Scripture or God's tendency to be unpredictable. That said, Ashbrook does a masterful job of regularly reminding the reader that this is the case; that spiritual formation is fluid, non-linear, and that no two stories are the same. He uses Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles and puts them into modern language and contemporary context, using examples from both his own life and two fictional characters to illustrate how God tends to work in people's lives as He draws them closer and closer to His heart. Teresa was both a nun and a spiritual adviser to a multitude of people, so her reflections are neither arbitrary nor simply autobiographical. The teachings and illustrations of the book make sense and ring true for me experientially as well. Each stage described is connected directly to Scripture and also to various spiritual disciplines and practices that spur on growth at each stage. This should be a requisite read for all ministers, and a highly recommended read for anyone curious about where they are and where they should be moving in their spiritual journey.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I'm still trying to process everything I've read ... all I know, is that I want to understand more. Ashbrook's work, which explores spiritual formation using the work of Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, stuck me in two ways. First, it invited me to look at faith struggles in a new way. While times of questioning and uncertainty are often seen as backsliding or falling away, Ashbook identifies multiple places in our life of faith where the seeming absence of spiritual things is actually a I'm still trying to process everything I've read ... all I know, is that I want to understand more. Ashbrook's work, which explores spiritual formation using the work of Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, stuck me in two ways. First, it invited me to look at faith struggles in a new way. While times of questioning and uncertainty are often seen as backsliding or falling away, Ashbook identifies multiple places in our life of faith where the seeming absence of spiritual things is actually a time of growth. Along these lines, Ashbook highlights how contemporary American Christianity is really in the business of keeping spiritual immature, so they can be good members, compliant in whatever the leaderships vision might be, and always excited and willing to serve. Thankfully, Ashbrook closed with thoughts on how church could be different, and how, by focusing on helping people in their spiritual formation, congregations could actually do far more good in the lives of their people, the community surrounding the church, and the world. If only congregations would dare to do just that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Flyck

    In many ways, reading this book made me feel as though Ashbrook had written it with me in mind. I could feel myself shouting agreeance in my inner being as I read, so it was a personally valuable book. I didn't read it slowly, however, & am aware that I have not allowed myself to benefit from Ashbrooks' suggestions which are intended to aid the readers' spiritual formation. Knowing this, I think Ashbrook has offered an invaluable resource to those wanting to push further on in their relation In many ways, reading this book made me feel as though Ashbrook had written it with me in mind. I could feel myself shouting agreeance in my inner being as I read, so it was a personally valuable book. I didn't read it slowly, however, & am aware that I have not allowed myself to benefit from Ashbrooks' suggestions which are intended to aid the readers' spiritual formation. Knowing this, I think Ashbrook has offered an invaluable resource to those wanting to push further on in their relationship with Christ. I found his extensive reference to the works of Teresa of Avila & his contemporary application of them reassuring - across time many have sought 'more' in their spiritual walk & this often has some pattern to it. I am grateful for Ashbrook's willingness to offer a perspective on this journey & would certainly recommend it to those Christians who are 'mature' in their faith (if we can ever be so bold to make this claim) but who are experiencing angst & frustration.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslea

    I really appreciated this valuable introduction to faith formation and the stages of faith to which God invites us. I've read other books on this topic, but none as clearly defined and illustrated. One of the things I valued most is that each stage is not only explained but treated with respect and love. I've experienced in myself and others the tendency to label, i.e. judge, those who aren't where we are spiritually. We discard what they have to say because we're sure our faith position is the I really appreciated this valuable introduction to faith formation and the stages of faith to which God invites us. I've read other books on this topic, but none as clearly defined and illustrated. One of the things I valued most is that each stage is not only explained but treated with respect and love. I've experienced in myself and others the tendency to label, i.e. judge, those who aren't where we are spiritually. We discard what they have to say because we're sure our faith position is the only valid one. There is none of that in this book, rather it helped me to understand, be patient and seek to love those who are in other stages of faith, knowing each stage has meaning and value for the season we are in. This is a great resource for churches seeking deeper growth, depth and understanding of what it means to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donald Linnemeyer

    I really enjoyed this book. It's a basic introduction to medieval concepts of spiritual maturity, specific Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Fabulous depth and richness here, but written by a modern pastor from a charismatic background, so he keeps things accessible. You can tell Ashbrook has years of experience as a pastor and counselor; his stories ring true, and his advice is great. He had a real knack for describing thoughts and experiences I'd had and for explaining their implicatio I really enjoyed this book. It's a basic introduction to medieval concepts of spiritual maturity, specific Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Fabulous depth and richness here, but written by a modern pastor from a charismatic background, so he keeps things accessible. You can tell Ashbrook has years of experience as a pastor and counselor; his stories ring true, and his advice is great. He had a real knack for describing thoughts and experiences I'd had and for explaining their implications for spiritual maturity. Before I had even finished the book, Ashbrook had already influenced me deeply. Well worth the read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Smith

    Very few books I don’t like. Unfortunately, for me, this was one. I’m sure the issue was me, not the author nor the topic. The seven mansions of 16th century Teresa of Avila applied into the 21st century should have gripped me. Yet as I scanned the past four-plus decades of my life as a Christian, I struggled to discern which of the seven stages of spiritual growth I have been in and when. I think the tendency for most is to think that they’re in the upper echelons of spirituality, no matter wha Very few books I don’t like. Unfortunately, for me, this was one. I’m sure the issue was me, not the author nor the topic. The seven mansions of 16th century Teresa of Avila applied into the 21st century should have gripped me. Yet as I scanned the past four-plus decades of my life as a Christian, I struggled to discern which of the seven stages of spiritual growth I have been in and when. I think the tendency for most is to think that they’re in the upper echelons of spirituality, no matter what their age or maturity. I liked the big picture of knowing Christ being presented, but honestly I felt the Teresian approach was too clinical or scientific for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Marlatt

    I'm finding Ashbrook's discussion of spiritual formation, based on the 'seven mansions' model of Teresa of Avila, as well as the writings of John of the Cross, to be at once challenging and refreshing. I'm really appreciating the perspective that he is bringing to our journey in walking with Christ and Christian maturity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A BUNCH OF HIPPY DIPPY BALONEY. SERIOUSLY JUST STICK TO THE BIBLE AND LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOU HEART, MIND, SOUL AND YOUR STRENGTH AND LOVE YOU NEIGHBORS AS YOURSELF AND WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK. No more Christian best sellers for this guy, PEOPLE ALWAYS TRYING TO MAKE A BUCK IN THE SELF HELP CHRISTIAN WORLD. SELL OUT FOR CHRIST, NOT THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian Kilde

    I'm about half way through the book, and I really enjoy it. It's a great chronicle of how God designed us to move deeper into "a love relationship with Him (p. 19)." If you've been following Christ for a lengthy season and you're feeling stuck in your faith, this is a good book to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vickie Laclare

    Read this with my husband. It helped us both to see where we are in the stages of spiritual growth laid out by Teresa of Avila. It gave me insights into what God may be teaching me now and how I can cooperate with Him.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schutte

    A deeply beautiful, compelling invitation to Christian life, modeled on the "Seven Mountains" of St Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle".

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ronda Lewis

    Second time reading Mansions of the Heart....One of my favs!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nithin Thompson

    What a refreshing book on spiritual formation. Not a Linda process but a progressive journey. A great update on Theresa of Avila.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Recommended by Jack Bethel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily Holehan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  25. 4 out of 5

    Drew Brown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roz Rodgers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cody Jensen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tom Rundel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Grosser

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bill Gaultiere

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