Book: Rekindling the Fire: An Introduction to Behavioral Spirituality
Author: Val J. Peter
Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana, pp. 136
Excerpt from Introduction:
Can We Have a Powerful Spiritual Life?
So how can we develop such a powerful spiritual life? How can you and I bring zest into our spiritual quest? How can we really encounter God?
This book is written to help you answer those questions? It uses a nontraditional approach I call "behavioral spirituality." . . .
This method of rejuvenation is currently being used with success by thousands of children and families trained in Girls and Boys Town's methods. . . .
What makes this approach to Christian life so different?
It starts with behavior. Behavior is something we learn through the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. It begins with the outside, not the inside, so it is easy to use, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey.
It gets results right away. You can see the change immediately.
It concentrates on skills that can be mastered by all of us . . . adults, adolescents, and children.
It builds on revitalizing relationships.
It avoids focusing on the disputes between liberals and conservatives in our churches today. By and large, these disputes belong to the past. They belong to the last quarter of the twentieth century.
They revolve mainly around church structure and church governance and consequently they are peripheral to most people's most pressing needs.
It makes Christianity come alive!
Excerpt from book:
Beginning with behavior means you can see results right away. If you begin fasting or giving to charity, you see and feel immediate change. You don't have to wait a lifetime to see the effects. . . . . Changing our behavior changes our thoughts and feelings. You can't think the same thoughts when you don't act the same way. It's just not possible, except through denial. Once you alter your behavior, you will sooner or later alter the way you look at life. And when you alter the way you look at life, you alter the way you will feel about life.
. . . . Changes in behavior always result in changed thought and feelings. Always. The only exceptions are certain pathological conditions. But we'll leave that for another day. So you want to experience more zip and zest in your spiritual life; if you want to know the living God in a way that manifests his love and power in your life; if you want to live the life God created you to live; if you want to love your neighbor as the Lord wants you to — than make a change in the way you behave. I guarantee you'll be astonished at the results.
Table of Contents:
1. Where we were and where we are
2. A new model for a new people
3. It all starts with behavior
4. What you think does count
5. Feelings matter
6. I'm from Missouri, show me!
7. Teach us how to pray
8. Give and it shall be given unto you
9. Fasting — giving up in order to get closer to God
10. Additives for a modern world
11. From Apathy to Zest
12. Anxiety — a major impediment to spiritual advance
13. Oh, poor me — envy and self-pity
14. You make me so mad! Anger as an obstacle to growth
15. Who me? Lie?
16. Bitterness and its natural cure
17. A closing thought — what's in it for me
Appendix: Behaviorism — take what you want and leave the rest