Published Works


"The cultivated life is one of persevering in our longing. In the garden and on the trail, grace collaborates with dedication. Our completion comes toward us as we move toward it…." (p. 35)
The Cultivated Life
"This is a book written specifically for those of us who are assigned the task of developing an imagination for living the Christian faith with insight and skill in and for a society that is disconnected from the biblical revelation and the Jesus incarnation," writes Eugene Peterson in the foreword of The Cultivated Life. "But it is equally useful for all of us who are committed to following Jesus with our families and coworkers and neighbors."
Sociology professor and spiritual director Susan Phillips walks us through the "circus" of our cultural landscape to invite us into a cultivated life of spirituality. If we want to accept the invitation to return to the garden, then we must face down the temptation to live life as spectators of the circus that plays on around us. We want to be rooted and grounded in Christ, but are pushed toward constant work, alternating between performance and spectacle. Cultivation requires a kind of attentiveness that is countercultural to our age of distraction.
These pages unfold the spiritual practices that can lead us into a new and delightful way of living. Are you ready to leave the circus?
Read more at InterVarsityPress...
"Susan Phillips can write this book because she lives it."

"For three decades and more, I have observed the choices she makes to cultivate life and this has been the hallmark of her story. This book is a deep and magnanimous invitation to live in such a way that the flourishing for which we are made can become our experience. Let the grounded welcome she extends and encourages lead us through the circus towards life itself." — Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary

"This is a book for people who are interested in the how of a life that's really life."

"The most basic human question in daily living is not so much 'what?' but 'how?' Just check the magazine covers in the check-out line. Articles promise to tell us how to lose weight, how to get rich, how to be sexy. But what if you've lived enough to know that life is about more than health, wealth and a good time? This is a book for people who are interested in the how of a life that's really life. Would that it could be front-and-center in every check-out line." — Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of Strangers at My Door

"Susan Phillips tells great stories and uses vivid word pictures."

"Her contrast between circus and garden reveals deep truths about the overstimulation in our daily lives and Jesus' invitation to cultivate a restful and focused life rooted in him. Cultivation implies habits and discipline, and Susan winsomely invites us into new patterns of living. A garden implies lush green leaves and fruitful bounty, and Susan guides our paths into joy and rest. Come into the garden with Jesus and journey into abundant life." — Lynne M. Baab, author of The Power of Listening and Sabbath Keeping.

"The Cultivated Life is filled with gifts of a generous, transparent spirit."

"Reading this insightful book and reflecting on its profound questions invite us to taste the life Susan Phillips lives. . . . When I reached the end of The Cultivated Life I returned to the beginning to soak in the words, insights and prayers that arose. Thank you, Susan, for giving us a glimpse of wholeness by offering gifts of spiritual direction through your writing." — Jeannette A. Bakke, author of Holy Invitations

"This book is a timely gift to the community of faith to be treasured and shared."

"The Cultivated Life reads like the cool evening breeze at the end of a blazing hot day in the desert. . . . It is also a prophetic clarion call—a warning to a generation trapped in the meaningless rat-race of twenty-first-century existence, suffocated by the demands of addictive consumerism, obsessed with the lifeless toys of modernity, while the breath of heaven who is only a prayer away eagerly waits to share with us the real joys of living. This book is a timely gift to the community of faith to be treasured and shared. More than that, this is essential survival reading for every true pilgrim seeking after the pearl of great price." — Ivan Satyavrata, senior pastor, Assembly of God Church, Kolkata, India

"Susan Phillips's The Cultivated Life is a remarkable work on so many levels."

"Her insightful and sophisticated analysis is able to synthesize both the theoretical and practical in profound and compelling ways. Her skills as a creative theologian and biblical interpreter, a wise and insightful spiritual director, and one grounded in the common-sense particularities and complexities of human experience and history makes her work an extraordinary contribution in so many arenas of pastoral and theological practice. The breadth of her sources and insights—from literature, psychology, philosophy, theology, ecumenical and religious history, and personal history, among others—make this a must-read for scholars, students and practitioners alike. Phillips's style is accessible, engaging and invitational. . . . I recommend Susan Phillips's book with great enthusiasm for all audiences—for all who are searching." — James A. Donahue, president, Saint Mary's College of California

"Susan Phillips provides us with ways to cultivate the contemplative life..."

"We all struggle in the circuslike culture of contemporary society, which often causes difficulties in attention and healthy attachment in the midst of yearning for the spiritual life. Susan Phillips provides us with ways to cultivate the contemplative life by examining spiritual practices within the Christian tradition such as spiritual direction, lectio divina, listening and friendship. I believe the author's use of stories— stories that have emerged from her practice of attentive listening—will affect readers deeply." — Jung Eun Sophia Park, assistant professor of religious studies and philosophy, Holy Names University

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Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction
Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction offers an intimate view of spiritual direction through written narratives of actual spiritual direction sessions. The experiential practice is accompanied by theoretical and theological understandings that guide it. The book includes the stories of nine men and women whose stories illustrate how the journey of Christian discipleship is helped by spiritual direction.
"Illuminating is the precisely accurate word for this brilliant evocation of spiritual direction in action."

"If I were permitted only one book on spiritual direction, this would be it." — Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message and Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

"Some form of spiritual direction is to be found in all the world religions and in many tribal religions as well,"

"but it is only recently that this function has come to be widely recognized in modern societies. As we grope toward understanding what spiritual direction might mean to us we badly need to know how it actually works today. Here Susan Phillips's book offers a signal contribution. She gives us not a 'how to' book but illustrations of spiritual direction in practice as no other book I know of does. By following the experiences of those she has directed over time and through deepening insight we get an understanding that no set of generalizations can provide. This moving book deserves close attention by all those concerned with retrieving the rich possibilities of spiritual direction today." — Robert N. Bellah, Professor of Sociology, emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of Habits of the Heart

"Invaluable for people doing spiritual direction or contemplating it."

"Reading Candlelight is like watching spiritual direction sessions through a two-way mirror while simultaneously privy to the thoughts and feelings of the author. Invaluable for people doing spiritual direction or contemplating it. Provides discerning insights into the difference in form and focus between psychotherapy and spiritual direction. Likely to be absorbing reading for Jungian or transpersonal psychologists." — Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author of Close to the Bone and Crossing to Avalon

"More than mere flickers of insight."

"In this fine book Susan Phillips sheds the light of much wisdom that will encourage and inspire both the givers and the receivers of spiritual direction." — Richard Mouw, President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Susan Phillips's thoughtful, listening intelligence incandesces in this account of her practice of spiritual direction."

"The process comes to vivid life in her personal narratives of sessions with directees in God's presence. I was moved by the way Susan's insights grew in relationship with those she met with over months and years. I felt holiness creeping into my own life." — Luci Shaw, author, Breath for the Bones: Imagination, Art, & Spirit and Writer in Residence, Regent College.

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"The Latin term for Festschrift, celebratory writing, is liber amicorum, book of friends….Ward Gasque has lived a life of friendship, extending not only his ideas and work into the world, but offering his heart and hand as well." (p. 179)
Serving God's Community: Essays in Honor of W. Ward Gasque
Edited with Soo-Inn Tan, 2014, Graceworks/Regent. Trained as a New Testament scholar and blessed with a pastoral heart, Dr Gasque's guiding passion has been the theological education of the laity. He has pursued this passion through strengthening schools, and through encouraging many students who have had the privilege to be taught and guided by him, as well as by his wife and partner in ministry, Laurel Gasque. Dr Gasque's legacy is substantial and varied, but his main legacy will be the many men and women from around the world he helped to fulfill their potential in Christ.

"This Festschrift is presented to Dr Gasque on the occasion of his 75th birthday, to honor him for his contribution to the cause of Christ, and with the hope that the things he has been committed to—biblical scholarship, leadership development, and the equipping of the laity—will continue to receive fresh exposure and momentum."

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"The reader is invited to learn from the habits, motions, stillness, fragrance, and fruit of the practices of caring that are shown in these pages. They offer a full-blooded and rich knowledge…." (p. 12)
The Crisis of Care: Affirming and Restoring Caring Practices in the Helping Professions
edited with Patricia Benner, and containing chapters by the editors and Eugene H. Peterson, Robert N. Bellah, Charles Taylor, Joel B. Green, Anna E. Richert, E. Dawn Swaby-Ellis, David C. Thomasma, Jaime Escalante, Sandi Schaffer, W. Thomas Boyce, Mima Baird, Morris A. Magnan, Theresa Stephany, William Visick, Douglass E. Fitch, Lynn Schimmel, and Harvey Peskin.

"There is a crisis in caring for persons that cuts across the boundaries of the helping professions."

" Patients in hospitals feel depersonalized, students suffer from inadequate attention, clients wonder if therapists really care about them, and parishioners feel unknown in their places of worship. Caregivers are rewarded for efficiency, technical skills, and measurable results, while their concern, attentiveness, and human engagement go unnoticed within their professional organizations and institutions. Arguing that moral judgment and human values must be restored to caregiving in order to revitalize our failing institutions, helping professionals and scholars join together in this volume to explore the ethic of care and the moral sources from which caregivers draw inspiration for their work. Contributors from the fields of medicine, nursing, teaching, ministry, sociology, psychotherapy, theology, and philosophy articulate their values, hopes, commitments, and practices both in theoretical essays and in narratives of caregiving that reveal the complexities of skillful practice. By combining stories of care, the reflections of caregiving practitioners, and interpretations of caregiving within a larger social and theoretical framework, The Crisis of Care: Affirming and Restoring Caring Practices in the Helping Professions identifies the values and skills involved in quality caregiving at the individual level and affirms their importance for reshaping our public caregiving institutions." — Midwest Book Review

"Health care reform has brought some old thinking to new prominence -"

" 'Whether you can cure or not, you can care' and 'don't be ashamed of spirituality.' This book is a happy marriage between those two ideas in a way that is interdisciplinary and understands that ethical discrimination develops through practices as well as through adherence to principles. Narrative accounts make the book practical and readable." — C. Everett Koop, M.D., Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service, 1981-1989

"Particularly welcome is that the authors of these essays expose..."

"...their own lives in order to help us all better appreciate how substantive convictions can make a difference in our lives together. This is a wonderful book, and hopefully, it will be read widely, not only among so called professionals but as a resource for us all to know better how to live." —Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics, The Divinity School, Duke University

"In a world grown both suspicious of and hungry for caring practices,"

" this book meets a profound need for an interdisciplinary examination of the healing kind of caring to which the helping professions aspire. Weaving together personal narratives and philosophical deliberations, the authors manage to speak wisely to the heart and the head." — Angela Barron McBride, distinguished Professor and University Dean, School of Nursing, Indiana University

"A timely and important book."

"The editors and authors—speaking for physicians, nurses, teachers, psychotherapists, pastors—challenge us to do no less than 'redesign the structures and processes of our public caregiving institutions.' They narrate the 'why,' prescribe some 'hows,' and leave the reader convinced that restoring caring practices in health care is both doable and urgently required." —Ernest L. Boyer, President, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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Garden or Circus? Metaphors We Live (and Die) By (CD)
An evening public lecture given at Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

"Highlighting the impact of stress on modern society, and the need for a Christian response, the [author Susan Phillips] uses metaphors of 'garden and circus' to present her thoughts on Christian care. 'In face of contemporary pressures' and 'beyond the frenzy and disengagement,' the author encourages [us] to hear and obey Jesus' three-fold call to disciples in the garden of Gethsemane—stay awake, be watchful and pray—seeing 'the garden through the circus.'" — Transformation: An International Dialogue on Mission and Ethics (vol. 22, no. 3)

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Finding Direction in Spiritual Direction (CD)
An evening public lecture given at Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

"The term 'spiritual direction' is bewildering to many. In this public lecture Susan Phillips addresses that confusion, bringing clarification from the practice and theory of spiritual direction, as well as from biblical imagery and metaphor."

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Life in the Spirit: Spiritual Formation in Theological Perspective
Edited by Jeffrey P. Greenman and George Kalantzis (IVP Academic, 2010). This book contains Susan Phillips's chapter: "Spiritual Direction As a Navigational Aid in Sanctification."
This volume, edited by Jeffrey P. Greenman and George Kalantzis, marks another compilation from the Wheaton Theology Conference. 2009's event produced the wealth of work represented here exploring the theological foundations for a faithful approach to the church practices that contribute to spiritual formation, that is, to our sanctification in the power of the Holy Spirit. Including essays from keynote speakers Dallas Willard and Gordon Fee as well as contributing essays by noted presenters such as Chris Hall, David Gushee, Linda Cannell, Cherith Fee Nordling, Susan S. Phillips and Lawrence Cunningham, this book offers a stimulating exploration of the historical, biblical and theological dimensions of spiritual formation. It will be of special interest to those who serve as pastors, spiritual directors, church ministry leaders and Christian educators.

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Where Faith Meets Culture: A Radix Magazine Anthology
edited by Sharon Gallagher (Wipf and Stock, 2010). This book contains Susan Phillips's chapter "Sabbath Living," as well as chapters by many Christians who have written for Radix magazine and taught at New College Berkeley over the years, including Margaret Alter, Robert Bellah, Susan and David Fetcho, David Gill, Joel Green, Virginia Hearn, Walter Hearn, Margaret Horwitz, Mark Labberton, Earl Palmer, Luci Shaw, and others.

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Spiritual Direction as a Navigational Aid in Sanctification (CD)
A Regent College Evening Public Lecture from Summer 2009. In this public lecture Dr. Phillips considers the spiritual discipline of spiritual direction in terms of its soul-cultivating effects.

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Friendship Matters: Attending to a Neglected Spiritual Discipline (CD)
This lecture was given at Regent College, Vancouver, BC as a part of the 2010 Regent College Evening Public Lecture Series. Susan Phillips urges us to take friendship seriously and practice it as a spiritual discipline. What does it look like to cultivate this classical and biblical practice for a life of discipleship and thriving?

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Stop! In the Name of Love: The Radical Practice of Sabbath-Keeping (CD)
In this 2011 Regent College Evening Public Lecture at Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Susan Phillips examines what it means to respond to God's call for us to stop and embrace sabbath-keeping. Sabbathkeeping is a radical practice which, rooted and grounded in the Christian faith, challenges the prevailing attitude of work in today's culture and challenges our own engagement with that culture.

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Shhh! The Art of Listening in an Inattentive Culture (CD)
Like friendship, listening is remarkably neglected by scholars. Even more surprising, it receives scant attention within the church—we who are called to "listen" to God and God's beloved. In our day of shallow, broad connection—much of it in the forms of texting and posting—there's growing evidence from a variety of fields that the deep, attentional art of listening is health-inducing and life-enhancing, countering some of the pathogenic elements in our environment. Moreover, listening just might be essential to sanctification. In this Regent College Public Lecture Susan Phillips reflects on listening's significance in our lives of citizenship, discipleship, and fellowship.

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Spirituality of Cultivation: A Response to Our Culture's Disorders of Attention and Attachment (CD)
People want to grow - to mature, not only to age. Faith, we're told by the apostle Paul, allows growth in love and insight that, in turn, produce right action and goodness (Philippians 1:9-11). In this Regent College Public Lecture Susan considers growth in faith in light of our culture's dominant disorders of attention and attachment, significant challenges to love that overflows with knowledge and full insight. Extreme manifestations of these conditions are psychiatric, but attention and attachment difficulties permeate the culture. God's grace, too, permeates our world, allowing for the cultivation of ordered attention and attachment.

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Women, HIV, and the Church: In Search of Refuge
edited by Arthur J. Ammann with Julie Ponsford Holland. Women, HIV and the Church is an accurate, multi - author discussion on the status of AIDs worldwide as the impact of HIV increasingly affects women. The book provides a current update on the subject, and is a compelling invitation to rethink theological and scientific positions in light of the enormity of the problems, progress that is being made and Biblical teaching of Jesus. Susan Phillips's chapter is "A Chrstian Look at Suffering in a Time of HIV."

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Spiritual Guidance across Religions - A Sourcebook for Spiritual Directors and Other Professionals Providing Counsel to People of Differing Faith Traditions
Edited by Rev. John R. Mabry, PhD and with a chapter by Susan Phillips. This comprehensive resource offers valuable information for providing spiritual guidance to people from a wide variety of faith traditions. Covering the world's faith traditions as well as interfaith, blended and independent approaches to spirituality, each chapter is written by a spiritual guidance professional from that tradition or who works extensively with people from that tradition. Each chapter provides:
  • An overview of the tradition, including basic beliefs
  • Methods for spiritual guidance honored in that tradition
  • Common spiritual problems encountered by people of that tradition
  • Tips, techniques and practices
  • Helpful resources for further learning

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