In his new book "Spirituality and Your Life Story," Bradley Hanson, Luther College emeritus professor of religion, probes the close connections between spirituality and personal "life story."
Hanson uses the groundbreaking idea of Dan McAdams, Northwestern University professor of psychology, that in our teen years people begin to form their personal identity by projecting what they might do and become. He says that people imagine a narrative of their life and as events occur they modify their "life story" and fashion it in dialogue with story lines in their surroundings.
After opening with an account of the life story understanding of personal identity, "Spirituality and Your Life Story" considers these major story lines: childhood family, success, romantic love, friendship, revenge-apology-forgiveness, migration, loss, and the "master stories" of scientific atheism and the Bible that address our most fundamental human questions. Every chapter includes the direct words of persons Hanson interviewed using open-ended questions from the Life Story Interview created by McAdams for his research on personal identity.
"Real people tell their stories of success, love, friendship, forgiveness and loss," says H. George Anderson, former president of Luther College and former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America of "Spirituality and Your Life Story." "Brad Hanson helps us ponder our own deepest commitments and the paths we follow to realize them. A fine book for individual reflection or group discussion."
"Spirituality and Your Life Story" is Hanson's seventh book. He wrote "The Call of Silence" (1980), "Teach Us To Pray" (1990), "Introduction to Christian Theology" (1997), "A Graceful Life" (2000) and "Grace That Frees" (2004), as well as edited "Modern Christian Spirituality," a collection of essays published in 1990.
After retiring from teaching in 2000, Hanson helped found and became director of Luther College's Grace Institute for Spiritual Formation which offers a two-year Spiritual Formation Program that has drawn participants from all over the country.
He earned a doctoral degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.