Book List


The following books are written by Christos-affiliated authors. Most can be purchased through the links below, and some are available at Christos. If you are interested in supporting Christos through your purchases, follow the instructions for the Amazon Smile Program.

John Ackerman

Listening to God: Spiritual Formation in Congregations

In Listening to God, Ackerman outlines ways congregations can promote member’s spiritual growth toward a greater intimacy with God. Key to his approach is practicing spiritual discernment, listening to God, learning to ask, “So what is God saying to me and to us?” For those who are already some distance along the learning path, this book will remind you of some truths you have already encountered, address some unanswered questions, and help you to bring it all down to earth in a living, breathing congregation. For those who are just beginning to seek guidance about the communal work of spiritual formation, this book will help you to plant your feet on a firm foundation.

John is coordinator of the Christos Formation Network: Helping Churches with Spiritual Formation, pastor, teacher, and spiritual director.

Jeanette Bakke

Holy Invitations

Holy Invitations is about how to listen to your heart–and God. Through the historic practice of spiritual direction, increasing numbers of Christians are discovering the benefits of having a special friendship with someone who can help nurture their awareness of and response to God’s love and guidance. Holy Invitations is a comprehensive introduction to spiritual direction written to reclaim the discipline for the contemporary church.

Jeannette is a faculty member of the Christos Spiritual Direction Program, professor, pastor and spiritual director.

Tracy Balzer

Thin Places: An Evangelical Journey into Celtic Christianity

This book introduces contemporary Christians to the great spiritual legacy of the Celtic people who used the spiritual practices of pilgrimage, silence, solitude, and prayer in their daily lives.

Tracy is a spiritual director and the Director of Christian Formation at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Richard Beckmen

Prayer: Beginning Conversations with God

In this guide for individuals or small groups, Beckmen offers companionship to anyone who wants to grow in prayer. With a gentle voice, he takes up our simple but life-shaping questions about prayer: Why do we pray? What is prayer? How do we pray? And with the spirit of a pastor and spiritual director, he helps readers examine these and many other facets of prayer.

Prayer for Wholeness and Healing

A spiritual guide to praying for healing. Beckmen explores historical, biblical, theological, and practical matters related to prayers for healing.

Dick is a faculty member of the Christos Spiritual Direction Program and the Christos Formation Network, pastor, teacher and spiritual director.

Alice Fryling

The Art of Spiritual Listening, Responding to God’s Voice Amid the Noise of Life

This book is about learning to listen to the gentle, persistent voice of God through scripture and through seeing God in all of life. It covers ways people can help others develop the discipline of listening to God. Includes questions and notes for book study leaders.

Too Busy? Saying No Without Guilt

This small book uses the life of Jesus to help readers gain balance in their busy lives.

Alice is a spiritual director, conference speaker, and author.

Janet Hagberg

The Critical Journey

The Critical Journey does not reveal exactly how or when we need to move along in our personal pilgrimages, nor does it offer formulas for spiritual growth. Rather, it describes six phases of the spiritual journey and illustrates how people act and think while in these stages. This is an excellent guide for those who are wrestling with their faith and wondering how others have resolved their “dark nights of the soul.”

Real Power

Real Power is a dynamic book about power–real, personal power–for forward-looking people and organizations who want to harness their own power for the common good. “I wrote this book,” says Hagberg, “to transform the way we think about power and leadership. It takes people on a journey beyond achievement and success to a stance in which power comes from their inner core and they lead from their souls.”

Janet is a faculty member of the Christos Spiritual Direction Program, teacher and spiritual director.

Patricia Hendricks

Hungry Souls, Holy Companions: Mentoring a New Generation of Christians

A smorgasbord of ideas, stories, and practical suggestions on how to be spiritual companions to young people, sharing the richness of our faith while riding along on the awesome–and often surprising–journeys of those in our spiritual care.

Pat is the former Executive Director of Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. She is also a teacher and spiritual director.

Bradley Holt

Thirsty for God

This accessible and engaging history provides an excellent primer on the two-millennium quest for union with God, a “thirst” at the center of Christian life and practice. This new edition not only updates all the chapters and features but also adds more material on the spirituality of Jesus, medieval women mystics, and contemporary spirituality. Short excerpts from primary sources, a glossary, a time line, maps, a bibliography, and a set of spiritual exercises heighten the book’s usefulness for students and lay persons alike.

Brad is a faculty member of the Christos Spiritual Direction Program, professor, pastor and spiritual director.

Nancy Koester

The History of Christianity in the United States

From colonial times to the present, American Christianity is illuminated by Nancy Koester’s insightful history. Focused on popular movements and how Christians have come to terms with modernity, Koester offers ample coverage of Evangelical and Roman Catholic developments, as well as historic Protestantism.

Nancy is a professor, pastor and spiritual director.

Joann Nesser

Journey into Reality

In these little inspirational talks, originally given on retreat, Joann Nesser explains that prayer is not an escape from reality but a journey into reality. When we come into God’s presence, we discover who we were created to become–our true selves–unique and precious. This is reality. We will be transformed into God’s image, just as God intended for us from the beginning.

Prayer: Journey from Self to God

Joann has written a passionate, practical introduction to the Christian life of prayer grounded in scripture, the words of great pray-ers in Christian tradition, and her own extensive experience as a faithful seeker of God and a spiritual guide for others. She speaks of authentic prayer especially needing a dimension of listening, not just speaking, to God, and she shows us that such prayer reveals God’s pervasive love for us, ever drawing us from brokenness to wholeness.

Scripture Meditations – Available at Christos Center

This CD is in response to people who over the years have asked for recorded meditations to help them with their personal prayer. It is designed to assist those who want to deepen their relationship with God through contemplative prayer and silence. The CD consists of guided meditation and improvisational guitar, with suggestions for entering silent prayer and journal keeping. Those that have used the CD have found it helpful for deepening their prayer as well as relieving stress. Instructions are included.

Contemplative Prayer: Praying When the Well Runs Dry

In our love relationship with God, prayer is our communication and our conversation with the One who loves us and who desires us to love in return. Prayer is so much more than making requests. It is a sharing of our spirit with the Eternal Spirit who has created us. In this relationship, as in any relationship, the partners share their deepest feelings and their most precious secrets. God desires to hear our deepest feelings and thoughts, and will share deep feelings and thoughts with us.

Joann is the founder of Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. She is a faculty member for the Christos Spiritual Direction Program, teacher, pastor and spiritual director.

Joe Paprocki

“Many Catholics feel catechized but not “evangelized”, meaning they know about Jesus but do not feel they know him personally. The bridge between where we are and where we want to be in our faith journey can be confusing without the right guidance.

“In Under the Influence of Jesus, best-selling author Joe Paprocki explains complex spiritual concepts with engaging discussion so that “everyday” Catholics can integrate and articulate their faith and live the Gospel in a way that is simple, compelling, contemporary, liberating, and life-changing.”

Description from Loyola Press University.

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness: Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of your Soul

“In 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition. Through his nondogmatic, downright inviting style of writing, Paprocki makes this book emininenty accessible to non-Catholics and “seekers” as well.

“Recognizing that the spiritual immune system is weakened almost daily by toxic patterns and attitudes that negatively impact our ability to live in a harmonious relationship with God and others, Paprocki offers seven enduring and reliable strategies for achieving spiritual wellness. After identifying practical ways to integrate each of these strategies into daily living, he describes seven persistent dangers to our spiritual well-being and how these dangers manifest themselves in our lives.

“At its core, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness helps us see the Christian faith not as a collection of rules and doctrine, but as a spiritual path–a path whose guideposts for spiritual wellness are sure to lead us to a more meaningful life and to a much richer experience of our faith.”

Description from Loyola University Press.

Joe is a graduate of Christos’ Tending the Holy program.  He is a writer for Loyola Press and has written several books – some specific to the catholic faith.

Maisie Sparks

151 Things God Can’t Do

“Think God can do anything? Think again. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and limitless, but despite these characteristics, God is still incapable of many things: things that are against His very nature. In this creative and uplifting book, discover God’s nature and His incredible love for YOU. You will be encouraged to know that God can’t deceive you, God can’t be wrong, God can’t allow evil to go unpunished, God can’t leave you unfulfilled, God’s love can’t quit, and so much more. With scripture to back up each statement, you will find relief and joy in the things God can’t do.”

Holy Shakespeare! 101 Scriptures that Appear in Shakespeare’s Plays, Poems, and Sonnets

“Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Holy Writ. Bible lines, characters and narratives are “verbal characters” in the his plays, poems and sonnets, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly. But they are there, revealing the deep scriptural well that was the culture from which Shakespeare drew and also reminding us of scenes and stories in the Bible.”

Christmas Quiet: Receiving the Gift of His Presence

“In the 25 days leading up to Christmas you will deepen your awareness of God’s loving presence and rejoice in the gift of your Savior by pausing daily to immerse yourself in these uplifting devotions, faith-building exercises, and peaceful coloring pages. Enjoy the true essence of the holiday as never before as you draw closer to God with this book.”

Sherry Bryant-Johnson

Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color

“These essays speak of how we have incorporated our contemplative practices into our family life; our urban, non-religious background; how we have been nurtured in struggles for health and life through our contemplative prayer practices and our courage to survive and even thrive in the midst of dire circumstances. We speak of the unfolding bridge between faith and culture; our conflicts with an Interspiritual journey with a Christian foundation; our sexuality; our journey to healing and authenticity; and how we are taking this practice that began in the first centuries of the church with the desert mothers and fathers to the present and into the future with spiritual direction through the Internet across the world.”

Nancy Koester

Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life

“Most writing about Stowe treats her as a literary figure and social reformer while downplaying her Christian faith. But Nancy Koester’s biography highlights Stowe’s faith as central to her life — both her public fight against slavery and her own personal struggle through deep grief to find a gracious God. Having meticulously researched Stowe’s own writings, both published and un-published, Koester traces Stowe’s faith pilgrimage from evangelical Calvinism through spiritualism to Anglican spirituality in a flowing, compelling narrative.”