Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life

by Marjorie J. Thompson. Westminster John Knox Press, 2014.

True to its title, 'Soul Feast' invites the reader to sample the rich and varied disciplines of Christian spiritual practice. Marjorie Thompson notes the numerous cultural, personal, and spiritual factors that have contributed to our widespread hunger for “a transcendent wellspring of meaning and purpose in life.” Ultimately, she asserts, we experience spiritual hunger because “we are made for relationship with God.” Defining spirituality as the “universal human capacity to receive, reflect, and respond to the Spirit of God,” Thompson presents key Christian practices: spiritual reading ('lectio divina'), prayer (intercessory and contemplative), worship, fasting, and examination of conscience and consciousness. Devoting a chapter to each practice, the author describes its nature and how we might explore it further. Particularly valuable is a chapter on spiritual direction, which explains what a spiritual director does, guidelines for seeking a spiritual director, and the value of spiritual guidance. Also valuable is a chapter on hospitality, a spiritual discipline that calls us to respond to God’s spirit by extending ourselves in love to others. Thompson encourages us to structure our spiritual practices by developing a “rule of life,” where we write down and share our commitments to those disciplines to which God has called us. With an extensive annotated bibliography and a study guide for small groups, 'Soul Feast' is a valuable introduction and invitation to the Christian spiritual life.