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Holy Listening

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  443 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Margaret Guenther shares with the reader a loving and evocative meditation on the experience of spiritual direction from the perspective of a wise and hospitable spiritual director, who is also a woman, wife, mother, teacher, and priest.
Published September 21st 1992 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd (first published 1992)
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Oct 21, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several works on spiritual direction and what I most appreciated about this was the author's down to earth approach to these matters. She begins by speaking of herself as an "amateur" in these things, which carries both the notion of learner and lover. At points I've been put off by the professionalization of spiritual direction. Her test of a calling to this is simply that people begin to trust themselves deeply to one.

She begins by describing how she welcomes strangers, those new to
Sep 05, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure why I ended up reading this book. I mean I know why I picked it up. I wanted to learn about discerning the Holy Spirit's direction in my life, but it turns out this book was about being a spiritual director. I kept reading thinking I would still find helpful information. It was a good reminder of ultimately what we are searching for is God.
Jun 21, 2007 Janis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the topic
Guenther's writing style is very readable. She brings warmth and humanity to a challenging topic. Her writing is honest and direct, encouraging and sensitive.
Jean Marie Angelo
I loved this book. I didn't want to hurry, so read just a page or section each morning. On my long road of discernment for ordination I was told to choose a spiritual director. I meet with her every six weeks. Having had experience with therapy and 12th step recovery, I see the great differences and the great gifts in each of these approaches. I now have much better understanding of what role spiritual direction can play in my process.

My spiritual director told me that Margaret Guenther's book
Jul 11, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stillpoint
Beginning readings for a Stillpoint workshop I'll be taking in a few weeks. I'm not sure how I feel about Spiritual Direction. Seems an awful lot like psychotherapeutic work sneaks into this, and I hesitate to go there with anyone. I also want to work with groups to explore spirituality--not so into this one-on-one stuff, as I think it breeds transference in a very intense way, and I don't think that's particularly good for people. So, I have my qualms about "spiritual direction". It also seems ...more
A text for a Fall 2016 Brite course, "Spiritual Life and Leadership" --
From the publisher: Guenther uses the images of the spiritual director as host, teacher, and midwife to describe the ministry of spiritual direction today. She pays particular attention to spiritual direction for women, and addresses such down-to-earth questions as setting, time, and privacy. The stories of real people bring the practice of spiritual direction alive. In a quote by Guenther: "In the pages that follow, I will
I read this book with a group of friends who like to read peace related books. This one was written for those who are interested in becoming spiritual directors, but I found that much of what is presented could relate to the field of mediation. The task of a spiritual director, if I understand correctly, is to listen nonjudgementally and as someone tries to clarify their thinking, beliefts, etc through sharing them with another. the main differences in mediation that I see is that since you are ...more
This was recommended by a coaching colleague as an interesting commentary of the art of deep listening. What I found most intriguing as I read was that substituting "coaching" for "spiritual direction" in the narrative closely described the kind of conversations and coaching engagements that I am familiar with and aspire to with my coaching clients. Perhaps it is because the author has a down-to-earth approach to spiritual direction, helping people meet the divine wherever they are ... and I'm w ...more
Jan 31, 2009 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a provider of pastoral care, interested in becoming a spiritual director, or would just like to be a better listener, this book is an enjoyable, practical, and extremely informative guide. Margaret Guenther gives generously of herself through the text, and her extensive experience and expertise--which includes work as a teacher, hospital chaplain, and Episcopal priest, in addition to spiritual director--informs every aspect of her writing and sharing. She calls herself an "amateur," b ...more
Rebecca Angel
Mar 13, 2013 Rebecca Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this book for several months now, one section at a time and then writing in my journal. I am not a spiritual director, but in all our lives we will be called to listen. Margaret Guenther is both practical and deeply moving in how she describes how to best help others find their path. During the course of reading this book I have been a listener to someone in need, and tried to remember that I don't need to have any answers, just provide the space for the person to find their wa ...more
Albert Hong
Good, solid, accessible reflections on the practice of spiritual direction. I appreciated her wisdom around recognizing the temptation to fix everything and the importance of resisting that temptation.

Overall, good overview of the practice with insight into what goes on in the spiritual director's mind.
Betsy Vanderpool
May 29, 2015 Betsy Vanderpool rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was like taking a refreshing drink of water. I read it as an assignment for a spiritual direction class I'm taking for a Masters in Leadership and Spiritual Formation. I appreciated Guenther's down-to-earth and insightful approach, and recommend this book to anyone who would like insight into listening, soul care and the perspective of a spiritual director.
Deb Weina
Aug 07, 2011 Deb Weina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my required books to read for my class and I really enjoyed the insights from the author. Easy to read and insightful. Good material that I know will come in handy as I move through the course work and practium.
A gentle introduction to the practice of spiritual direction. While a good book for anyone, I believe that the book, especially the last two chapters , is more likely to resonate deeply with women. Torn between 3 and 4 stars. I will read a second time in a year and might bump up my rating then.
Jul 31, 2008 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This was a good introduction to the practice of spiritual direction and an encouraging read as far as the contemplative life in general goes. Be sure to keep your eye out for the mass market paperback surely coming out soon.
D.j. Lang
Apr 20, 2013 D.j. Lang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't plan on being a spiritual director, but I enjoyed much of this book. It could help anyone be a better listener. Much as I would love to see any man or woman in ministry read it, I know that there are those who would disagree with parts of this book (hopefully only parts).
Leigh  Kramer
Good albeit dry overview of what spiritual direction is all about it. While it's geared toward spiritual directors, it would be helpful for those seeking spiritual direction to read it as well, so they're aware of what a healthy dynamic looks like.
Aug 14, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book about listening to others - instead of trying to give advice. People sometimes just need an ear, rather than 'to do' lists.
John English

I enjoyed this book. The subject as treated will be helpful in spiritual direction and in my mentoring ministry. Thanks to the author.
Jul 20, 2012 Del rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great resource for those seeking ways to create space in their lives and relationships to authentically listen to the "other" and to the God who abides in that holy space...
Apr 17, 2012 Knightgina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
vrey interesting and informative...
Feb 27, 2011 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. This book gives me vision. Sensitive, informed, crazy-compassionate--I want to grow to be more like Margaret Guenther.
Dec 30, 2013 LynneCharlise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my all-time favorite books. Guenther is also on the faculty of the Spriitual Direction Institute where I trained. I return to her work again and again.
Sep 17, 2012 Marty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I was assigned to read for the two year program I'm taking through the Haden Institute. It provides an excellent overview of the practice of Spiritual Direction.
Oct 23, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who find themselves in a postion of influence, this book seems to be a thoughtful guide for personal responsibility as well as wisdom.
Rod White
Nov 15, 2010 Rod White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prayer
Great help. Guenther tilts the discussion toward a female understanding of the process. I especially appreciated the imagery of midwifery.
May 13, 2013 Emme rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Instant favorite.
Steve Gambino
Nov 16, 2014 Steve Gambino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marcia Anderson
Marcia Anderson rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2012
Ron Cepek
Ron Cepek rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2016
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“Lighten up" (don't) turn prayer into a work but listen for God and let oneself be surprised. Overly rigid adherence to a spiritual direction built around formal liturgical adherence and highly structured prayer time can work against the sanctification of the ordinary. Christ is effectively imprisoned, to be visited at stated times and otherwise ignored".” 2 likes
“Dear God, help me pay attention! Dear God, help me keep my mouth shut! Dear God, let me put myself out of the way! Dear God, let me be wholly present to this person, your child!” 1 likes
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