Desire is at the heart of what it is to be human. The power of desire, while embodied and sensuous, is God-given and the key to all human spirituality. Humanity is blessed with a deep longing that is infinite in extent and can only ultimately be satisfied in God. Befriending Our Desires portrays the intimate connection between desire and the spiritual journey. Drawing on Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, Christian spiritual classics (with some reference to Buddhist spirituality), poetry, and other literature, plus personal and pastoral experience, Philip Sheldrake explores the role of desire in relation to God, prayer, sexuality, making choices, and responding to change.
Philip Sheldrake has taught, spoken, and written extensively about Christian spirituality and spirituality more generally. Over the years he has been involved in spiritual accompaniment and in workshops for professional groups interested in spirituality as well as being a leader in the academic field of spirituality. He is senior research fellow at Westcott House Cambridge Theological Federation and director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Spirituality at Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas.
"Befriending Our Desires is a deeply considered and artfully written celebration of the human capacity for self-transcendence. Sheldrake plumbs the mystery of human desire in all its rich variety: its spiritual dynamism, the mature cultivation and direction of its intrinsic power, its relational implications, and its ultimate goodness. A beautiful and encouraging book."
Wendy M. Wright, PhD, Professor of Theology, Creighton University
"The ache of the heart is the lure of God. Few writers explicate so clearly that intricate, yet intimate, interconnection. Philip Sheldrake does. He is truly a doctor of the soul, and this book is proof. Highly recommended for anyone who is searching for a more coherent grasp of their spiritual life."
Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
"Befriending Our Desires is a thoroughly learned and readable book that offers a dynamic vision of Christian spirituality. Philip Sheldrake retrieves `desire' as a key dimension of a fully embodied, vulnerable, and authentic spirituality. Always informed by Sheldrake's deep knowledge of the Christian tradition, the book presents carefully nuanced readings of Scriptures, mystics, poets, theologians, and theorists while remaining in touch with ordinary human struggles toward growth. Delighted to see this third edition in print!"
Claire Wolfteich, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Spirituality Studies, Co-Director, Center for Practical Theology, Boston University School of Theology
"An extraordinarily beautiful and honest account of the role of desire in the spiritual life. Not a sanitized version, but a fully embodied, deeply human depiction of longing that is bound up with our humanity but also mysteriously reaches out and into something not entirely nameable or knowable—as our longings so often do."
Douglas E. Christie, Department of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University