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Journal Keeping: Writing for Spiritual Growth [Paperback]

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Item Number 134593  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   190
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.59"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2002
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830823379  
EAN  9780830823376  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Would you like to journal, but you're not sure how to start. Or do you love to journal but want some fresh ideas? Here's a book that can help you discover the power of writing as a spiritual discipline. In these pages, you'll find intriguing topics, such as:
  • Ordinary Things
  • Discovery Journaling
  • Drawing from Another's Well
  • Dialogue Journaling with Scriptures
  • When We Can't
Each chapter is brief but insightful. Luann Budd draws on her own life and writing to show how these ideas can be readily put into practice. And she provides examples and inspiration from the lives of great men and women throughout history who have kept journals. In these pages you'll discover the transforming power of journal keeping.

Publishers Description
Would you like to journal, but you're not sure how to start? Do you love to journal, but need some fresh ideas? Here's a book to help you discover (or recover) the power of writing as a spiritual discipline. In these pages you'll find intriguing and encouraging insights on topics like "ordinary things," "discovery journaling," "drawing from another's well" and "dialogue journaling with Scriptures." In each brief chapter, Luann Budd draws on her own life and writing. She shows how to put each of her ideas into practice. And she provides additional inspiration and examples from significant men and women throughout history who have journaled. Read this book to discover the transforming power of journal keeping

Buy Journal Keeping: Writing for Spiritual Growth by Luann Budd from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780830823376 & 0830823379

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More About Luann Budd

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Luann Budd has taught writing at San Jose State University. She is the Chair of the Board of the Network of Evangelical Women in Ministry ( and is a frequent retreat speaker for organizations like NEWIM and The Springs Retreat. She is the author of Reflective Writing (now out of print). If you are a woman looking for a retreat that is designed specifically to help you grow deeper in your love for the Lord through the contemplative approaches IVP Formatio books describe (reflection, prayer, listening, silence, solitude, fasting, reading the Word), please join Luann at The Springs in California. See the NEWIM website ( for additional information.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
You Can Probably Do Without  Mar 13, 2008
I bought this book because I wanted to begin writing a journal. Having never done that type of writing before, I was looking for a book that would give me some pointers on how to do this type of writing; otherwise I felt that I would be just like a chicken running around with its head cut off. I did start writing and I have been pleased with the results. However, I don't know that this particular book was that helpful.

The most helpful feature of the book is that the author, in a straight-forward and open way, explains what journal keeping is all about. For example, she points out that your writing should be for your eyes only. You should not even share it with your spouse. The reason for this isn't that we should be secretive, but rather that this degree of privacy is required if we are going to be completely honest and uninhibited in our writing. I think this and other points about the nature of journal writing that Budd provides were very helpful.

Aside from defining the nature of journal keeping, Budd basically provides a litany of "ideas" to consider pursuing in your writing. Much of the ideas are simply ridiculous in my mind, and they exemplify the fact that our society pays way too much attention to self-expression and too little attention to objective thinking and problem-solving. Some of these ideas are good ones, to be sure (e.g, copying down passages of scripture in your journal), and many of the pointers Budd gives emphasize how our writing can aid us as we work through questions and problems we are walking through.

This book probably could have been half as long as it is. In my opinion the most important points are: (1) write for yourself only; and (2) write to address issues in your life, either personal problems or other controversies. There are certainly various forms of writing that you can do, ranging from a structured essay to ramblings and musings of the mind. All of these forms can be helpful if you are mindful of your goal of spiritual growth and the attainment of understanding and wisdom. Aside from all that, the most important thing is merely to start writing.

This book is not all fluff and nonsense, but you can certainly do without it. Don't feel bad if you decide to put it down before you finish it. As Budd gets into the second half of this book it seems like she is just amassing a bunch of random ideas on the topic of writing generally. The first half is much more helpful.
For Christians Only  Feb 8, 2008
I got this book hoping to use it to supplement the journaling part of a workshop I was teaching. I was just looking for some good tips and techniques for creating and maintaining a spiritually-oriented journal. I was sadly disappointed to find that the entire book was focused solely on deepening one's love for God. I'm not even Christian. I tried to glean some tidbits out of it anyway, but page after page was loaded with references to God and Jesus and the Bible. If you're looking for a book about exploring your religion, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a book on spiritual journaling, this is not it.
Wonderful book for Christians  Aug 23, 2007
This book is definately for Christians. I am not sure someone who practices another faith would enjoy it but for those of us who are passionate about the things of Christ, this book is for you. It has been used to strengthen my Christian walk through journaling.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to grown in Christ. It is a great tool!
Journal Keeping: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?  Dec 1, 2006
"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest [1895], Act I.

According to author and journal writing enthusiast Luann Budd, the main purpose of keeping a diary is not to have handy an escape from the boredom of a long commute. Budd believes "writing is one of the most powerful tools for thinking" (126) and, even more importantly, "journaling can help us to see our own heart as God sees it and repent" (58). And if those reasons do not convince you how valuable keeping a written record of your thought life is, writing teacher (San Jose State University) Budd has included several dozen more in her second book-length effort, Journal Keeping. In fact so powerfully does Budd argue the case for a Christian keeping a written record of her spiritual journey that in the end the reader is left to wonder why preachers throughout literate Christendom are not similarly extolling the virtues of journal keeping from their pulpits every other Sunday.

Part one of Journal Keeping, "Exploring the Possibilities," concerns the why and how of journaling. Here Budd offers several more good reasons to create a written record of our earthly sojourn, noting that "men and women who are considered our spiritual heroes were private writers--letter writers, journal keepers, diarists" (21). Budd goes on to list some very familiar names--Abigail Adams, St. Augustine, Martin Luther, Jonathon Edwards, John Wesley and C. S. Lewis--but does not tell us who were the diarists and who were the letter writers, nor does she offer a sample of any of their private writings. She also cites the most famous writings of Moses (the Pentateuch) and David (the Psalms), although the comparison, particularly in the case of the Pentateuch, seems a bit strained. She concludes the first chapter with more high praise for journal keeping, averring it "can help us to embrace wisdom, respond to the Lord and grow deeper in relationship with Christ" (28).

Budd then moves on to discuss some of the more practical issues associated with journal keeping, such as choosing what form of private writing to use (e.g., diary or autobiography). She talks about traditional ways of organizing a journal, and gives the reader a few of her own strategies. She concludes by saying the correct format is not the issue. "[T]he most important principle is just to begin" (33).

Budd next discusses the necessity of planning to keep one's journal completely private. "If no one is going to read your journal, then you are free, free to be bare-naked honest" (35). This is very important, since Budd agrees with journal keeper Ralph Fletcher that journals are for giving you "a roomy space to record and explore what amazes, delights, disgusts, or appalls you" (36). Budd gives Fletcher an amen by adding, "Because our journals are private, we are free to be absolutely candid. No one's looking over your shoulder." (36).

Budd further underscores the importance of keeping an honest journal in chapter seven. There she again exhorts us to "[W]rite candidly, even if you are not proud of the attitudes or lack of character that are revealed on the page (57). She goes on to say we should "[C]onsider taking half an hour to write down all the reasons why the Lord would not be pleased with you" (58), adding, "[I]n our journals we have the opportunity to get real before God" (59).

Part two of Journal Keeping, "Uncovering the Process," begins with Budd personifying her journal as her "best friend" (67). "I was safe with my journal" recalls Budd, certain that what she "wrote would never be seen by anyone else; it wouldn't make the circuit and come back to be used against me, or be twisted and misunderstood" (67). Budd goes on to say "[I]f you need a trustworthy best friend, a place where you can speak your mind ... a place where you can pour out your heart ... a place where you can be honest ... your journal can be a wonderful, listening, safe, best friend" (69)

Budd then departs from a narrow discussion of journal keeping and begins preaching on a number of other issues. She discusses the media God uses to speak to people (Scripture, the Holy Spirit, other human beings). She tells us how she has joyously discovered aspects of God in nature and unusual events. She talks about the importance of forgiveness, commemorating special events in our lives, making the most of opportunities, seeing "the beauty of the Lord" (104), and the benefits that can be obtained paraphrasing "scripture into a more contemporary voice" (107). Budd then suggests we take advantage of "[S]tories, both true and fictional," because they "often illustrate spiritual truths" (109). Afterwards she encourages us to try our hand at creative forms of poetry, write short responses to the works of Godly authors, including biblical ones. The far-ranging homily that is Part two concludes by urging the reader to "[O]pen the door of your heart and invite the Holy Spirit in to transform you to be more like Christ" (146).

Part three, "Venturing Out," begins by commending the virtues of letter writing. Budd asserts letters written to or "from the Lord" can bring insight and encouragement. She goes on to discuss the difficulty and the importance of maintaining a journal during spiritual "cold spells" (167). And Budd concludes her book with an interesting list of "fifty journaling possibilities" (172-75).

For author Luann Budd, journal keeping is an absolutely wonderful tool for spiritual growth, a way "we can seek to see Jesus and assess our attempts to live like him" (14), and it would certainly seem this device has greatly aided Budd and many others make major progress toward worthy spiritual goals. But in the end, this reviewer was left with some deeply troubling questions unanswered. They include:

What unnecessary risks are Christians assuming when they give their worst enemies a "bare-naked honest" look at their souls? And make no mistake about it, unless innumerable testimonies accumulated over centuries from countless missionaries serving in devil-worshiping countries throughout the world are to be entirely disbelieved, demons can see and read. Given this unfortunate reality, a reasonable person can fairly ask: What military commander at war would send to his enemy an "absolutely candid" written copy of his highest hopes, worst fears, and immediate and long-term plans for the future? Common sense would strongly suggest that his enemy would be absolutely delighted to receive, without having expended any time or effort, a detailed daily intelligence report with such a high degree of accuracy. This being the case, would it be reasonable to assume that when God in His great wisdom created human beings with the ability to meditate on important spiritual issues without making their thoughts audible or visual, He did so for a very important reason?

Unfortunately, Journal Keeping does not in any way address these important questions, causing the reader to wonder if they have ever occurred to Mrs. Budd. But whether or not these questions have occurred to the author of Journal Keeping is not nearly as important as competently answering them. Only then can we make an informed judgement as to whether the obvious benefits of journal keeping outweigh the less obvious dangers.
Life changing.  Sep 13, 2006
I know Luann Budd. I have received her guidance and wisdom in retreats with NEWIM. She truly walks her talk. Her book is inspiritng, deeply personal, generous. If you do as she suggests, you will explore your relationship to the Lord and yourself in ways that are both inspiriting and healing. This is a book not to be missed. Read it. Journal.

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