Relational Spirituality

Relational Spirituality

As our society becomes more socially fragmented, many Christians feel disconnected and struggle to grow spiritually. Common models of spiritual transformation are proving inadequate to address “the sanctification gap.” In recent decades, however, a new paradigm of human and spiritual development has been emerging from multiple fields. It’s supported by a critical mass of evidence, all pointing to what psychologists Todd W. Hall and M. Elizabeth Lewis Hall call a relational revolution. In Relational Spirituality, Hall and Hall present a definitive model of spiritual transformation based on a relational paradigm. At its heart is the truth that human beings are fundamentally relational―we develop, heal, and grow through relationships. While many sanctification models are fragmented, individualistic, and lack a clear process for change, the relational paradigm paints a coherent picture of both process and goal, supported by both ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research. Integrating insights from psychology and theology, this book lays out the basis for relational spiritual transformation and how it works practically in the context of relationships and community. Relational Spirituality draws together themes such as trinitarian theology, historical and biblical perspectives on the imago Dei, relational knowledge, attachment patterns, and interpersonal neurobiology into a broad synthesis that will stimulate further dialogue across a variety of fields. Highlighting key characteristics of spiritual communities that foster transformation, Hall and Hall equip spiritual leaders and practitioners to more effectively facilitate spiritual growth for themselves and those they serve.

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Curt Thompson, M.D.
Author, The Soul of Desire and The Soul of Shame.

“I have been waiting for this book for a long time. With Relational Spirituality, Todd Hall and Elizabeth Hall have, with erudition and mercy, given us a masterpiece that not only tells us who we are, but also points us in the direction of who we long to become. Broad in its scope, prophetic in its conviction, beautifully imaginative in its synthesis of multiple domains of human experience, and accessible in its application, this is sure to become a wellspring of hope and transformation—one that could not come at a timelier moment.”

Steven J. Sandage, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Boston University;
Co-Author of Relational Spirituality in Psychotherapy: Healing Suffering and Promoting Growth

“This outstanding book, Relational Spirituality: A Psychological-Theological Paradigm for Transformation, is a pivotal contribution within the “relational revolution” in both psychology and theology. Todd and Liz Hall are both long-time, creative leaders in this emerging work on relational spirituality and bring a wealth of integrative expertise as scholars, practitioners, and (most importantly) mature persons. I look forward to the conversations and initiatives that will result from deep reflection on their work. Clearly, we need much more healthy relational spirituality in our world, and they help us move in that direction.”

Chuck DeGroat, Ph.D.
Professor of Pastoral Care and Christian Spirituality, Western Seminary;
Senior Fellow, Newbigin House of Studies

“Relational Spirituality is a significant contribution that brings together attachment psychology, neuroscience, theology, spirituality, and other disciplines in an emerging and dynamic conversation, all for the sake of a deeply relational vision of Christian spiritual formation. Frankly, this is a book I’ve been waiting and hoping for, one that will be well-used by my students in years to come.”

Kelly M. Kapic, Ph.D.
Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College;
Author of Embodied Hope

“Working from the premise that God's love is the reason, model, and source for the transformation of our natural love into Christian love, Todd and Liz Hall have provided an extended reflection that ably moves from theology to therapy, from psychological literature to implications for pastoral care. I think this volume will be especially generative for those in ministry who are trying to think in fresh ways about how to move 'relational' ministry from being a slogan to a reality.”

Everett L. Worthington, Jr. Ph.D.
Commonwealth Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Relational Spirituality: A Psychological-Theological Paradigm for Transformation is a refreshing and generative antidote to today’s privatized view of spirituality and polarized world of religion, politics, and race. With many years of psychotherapy practice under their belts and decades of experience in the classroom and the church, Todd Hall and Elizabeth Hall provide a theological and psychological GPS for the thoughtful reader’s journey for navigating the third decade of the 21st century.”

Eric L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor of Christian Psychology, Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology and Counseling; Houston Baptist University

“In this long-awaited contribution, the Halls offer an irenic corrective to modern individualism and rationalism that continue to influence much Christianity in the twenty-first century, through this accessible and sophisticated integration of Scripture, Christian theology, contemporary psychological theory and research, and even some Christian philosophy. Building on the deep coherence evident in biblical teaching on the love of the Trinity and contemporary research on attachment and social neuroscience, the authors construct a rich and profound Christian model of human love that takes into account the impact of childhood experience yet gives hope of healing transformation. Some will question the equation of mindfulness and contemplative prayer, but there is simply no better introduction today to the formative role that interpersonal relationships play in human development, maturation, flourishing, and eternal life.”

About the Author

Todd W. Hall (PhD, Rosemead School of Psychology) is professor of psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University, where he teaches courses on the integration of psychology and theology, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and positive psychology. He is a faculty affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University and a founding partner at Flourishing Metrics. Hall is an award-winning researcher, focusing on relational approaches to spirituality, virtue, and leadership. He is a coauthor of Psychology in the Spirit and author of Relational Spirituality and The Connected Life. He is the developer of several widely used spiritual assessments, and codeveloper of the Flourish Assessment.