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Old Wine in New Skins

Centering Prayer and Systems Theory

Paul David Lawson

The Christian churches are currently in a time of great turmoil and transition. Clergy find themselves torn between a large number of different and often conflicting roles within their parishes. Episcopalian priest, Paul David Lawson, explores the depth of the crisis facing individual pastors and the churches as a whole, and shows how Centering Prayer (a daily meditative practice) and an understanding of systems theory (how structures within places work) can help.

By dealing honestly with anxiety individually and within the church community, by coping with conflict constructively and proactively, and by recognizing how organizations deal with unarticulated emotional issues stemming from their members and constituents, conscious practice of Centering Prayer can create a healthy church environment, dynamic and successful leadership within that church, and a revitalized and vibrant community worship.

Reviews & Endorsements:

December 2001

Lawson's fresh contribution to the systems literature is his prescription for handling the anxiety that pervades any congregation, and can cripple a troubled one.

Because controlling runaway anxiety and reactivity is so crucial in congregations, especially very troubled or conflicted ones, the introduction of a specific spiritual practice to help the leaders do this is an important addition to the systems literature. This small book makes a valuable connection between one of the most significant theoretical understandings of church life, and a spiritual practice which is available to all of us who care about congregations.
Reviewed by Travis Du, 12 May 2002

Proposes centering prayer as a method of creating healthier environments in our parishes. Very good on the relational aspect of leadership, pointing out how "leaders and members mutually affect each other."

144 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Lantern Books


Published:  September 2001


Rev. Paul David Lawson is a priest at St. Cross by the Sea Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach, California. In addition to being the author of Old Wine in New Skins, he is a contributor to Spirituality, Contemplation, Transformation. See all books by Paul David Lawson

Related Titles

  • The Divine Indwelling : Centering Prayer and Its Development
  • Centering Prayer and the Healing of the Unconscious
  • Spirituality, Contemplation, and Transformation : Writings on Centering Prayer
  • Divine Therapy and Addiction : Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps
  • Related Titles by Subject:

    Religion: Centering Prayer and

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