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Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It's Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature Paperback – International Edition, April 25, 2017
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From the Back Cover
The Christian faith is supposed to produce deep, positive change. So why doesn't it seem to work in 'real life'? That question screamed at Pastor Peter Scazzero when his church and marriage hit bottom and every Christian remedy produced nothing but anger and fatigue. As he began digging under the 'good Christian' veneer, he discovered entire emotional layers of his life that God had not yet touched. And that emotional immaturity had fed his spiritual immaturity. In this book, he unveils what's wrong with our conventional means of 'spiritual growth' and offers not only a model of spirituality that actually works, but seven steps to transformation that will help readers experience a faith charged with authenticity, contemplation and a hunger for God. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Peter Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City, a large, multiracial church with more than seventy-three countries represented. After serving as senior pastor for twenty-six years, Pete now serves as a teaching pastor/pastor at large. He is the author of two best-selling books—The Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. He is also the author of The EHS Course and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day. Pete and his wife, Geri, are the founders of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a groundbreaking ministry that equips churches in a deep, beneath-the-surface spiritual formation paradigm that integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality. They have four lovely daughters. For more information, visit emotionallyhealthy.org, or connect with Pete on Twitter @petescazzero.
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As a pastor for the past thirty years In four different churches I have seen many elderly people who have been Christians for many years, but instead of being mature emotionally, many of these people have simply plateaued at the age of 10, 20, or 30 and have lived stuck in their immaturity emotionally for years. Instead of being Christians for sixty years it's more like they have lived for sixty years as a ten-year-old Christian.
In this book Scazzero addresses the emotional make-up of people using a plethora of biblical and practical applications. He also draws on historical figures that have much to say about biblical emotions. He also addresses the ramifications of generational sin, familial dysfunctions, and cultural distractions that get between us and our walk with God.
The first seven chapters primarily deal with the problems associated with emotionally unhealthy spirituality and the last three chapters give hope through solutions. Using a variety of spiritual disciplines and personal examples Scazzero helps the Christian identify emotional unhealthiness and easy cures based on the Scriptures. For anyone who is passionate about transformation, liberation from bondage, and following in the steps of Christ this book is a must read. It's extremely beneficial to read this book in a small group along with the workbook and DVD that are based on this book. I have taken five groups of men through this book and several of the men have described this book as "revolutionary," "paradigm-shifting," and "life-transforming."
I highly recommend Scazzero's books be read along with their workbooks in small groups (men with men; and women with women) for maximum transparency, accountability, and transformation into the likeness and image of Christ.
As a pastor of a church, Scazzero was trying to lead through pure effort with no attention to his emotional life. Only when his relational life began to fray at the edges did he begin to take a closer look at emotion. At the outset of the book, he identified 10 symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality that serve as a useful diagnostic tool.
Once we understand our emotional feebleness, Scazzero spends the later half of the book talking about what to do about. He encourages a deeper look inside, acknowledging the reality of emotions as a normal part of the Christian life. I particularly appreciated chapter 6, which dealt with the concept of a dark night of the soul, an issue too frequently ignored in the Christian life. For Scazzero, I think rightly, the dark night is a normative part of the Christian life, though too often, people run from it, rather than toward it, much to their detriment.
Near the end of the book, he encourages the practice of two specific disciplines--the daily office and the Sabbath--to grow in our understanding of God and understanding of self. Attention to God and delighting in his creation are essential practices that we too often hurry past.
On the whole, I think this is very beneficial book. It is a relatively easy read, but if you read it, take your time and ponder what the author has to say. He writes with lists and bullet points, which many people will find desirable, though don't believe that represents naive ideas that can be cast aside quickly.