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Bearing God among finalists for Award Program

Prof. Marlena Graves' latest book Bearing God among finalists for Annual Award

Prof. Marlena Graves' latest book, Bearing God: Living a Christ-Formed Life in Uncharted Waters is one of five finalists for the Martin Institute's Dallas Willard Research Center (MIDWRC) annual book award. 

Dallas Willard (1935-2013) was a thinker, pastor, and author of such books as The Spirit of the Disciplines and The Divine Conspiracy. Now regarded by many as modern spiritual classics, these works have inspired thousands of ordinary Christians to become extraordinary Christ-followers, and have influenced an entire generation of writers and teachers, especially on Christian spiritual disciplines and formation.

The MIDWRC Annual Book Award Program was created in 2015 to help place an enduring emphasis on the intellectual legacy of Dallas Willard by recognizing original work that shares his vision that invisible things such as soul, spirit, and the Kingdom of God are part of reality and can be known via experiential interaction.

It is one way that the MIDWRC works to promote and recognize exemplary scholarship, for the Christian spiritual formation movement and the broader academic and church communities, that is advancing one or more of Dallas' four primary concerns:

  1. Robust metaphysical realism;
  2. Epistemological realism;
  3. The development of comprehensive, sophisticated, integrative models of the human person;
  4. The development of objective tests for different Christian formative practices.

Discerning God: A self-study through Bearing God

We all experience trials and suffering, and at times, life feels extremely hard to bear. Committing our lives to Christ doesn’t make us immune to the day-to-day struggles of life. Sometimes Jesus feels far away, and we need to be reminded that He is with us. 

"One day as I listened to the Gospel story in Mark 4, I didn’t see myself as the disciples, terrified and wondering why Jesus was asleep in the boat amid the storm; I saw myself as the fishing boat carrying Jesus in the storm. We are all, in fact, God bearers, carrying Jesus within us as we journey through the storms of our lives." Marlena Grave 

The three-week book study includes weekly lessons and online discussions. Learn more here. 

About Marlena Graves

Marlena Graves is an author, writer, professor, preacher, and speaker on spiritual formation and justice, especially in areas of racism and immigration in the U.S. Her books include The Way Up is Down, Who is My Neighbor, A Beautiful Disaster, and 40 Days of Being a Nine: Enneagram Daily Reflections.

Marlena is an assistant professor of spiritual formation at Northeastern Seminary on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan University. She is a member of Ink: A Creative Collective and lives in the Rochester, NY area with her husband and three daughters. Learn more about Marlena at