Conversatio Divina

Martin Institute / Dallas Willard Center Book & Research Award Program

Martin Institute Dallas Willard Center Book & Research Award Program

The MIDWC Annual Book Award Program was created in 2015 to help place an enduring emphasis on the intellectual legacy of Dallas Willard. The yearly award recognizes original work that shares Willard’s vision of invisible things—such as soul, spirit, and the Kingdom of God—as being a part of reality which can be known via experiential interaction. It is one way that the MIDWC works to promote and recognize exemplary scholarship in 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 that, in principle, can place these efforts in the domain of publicly assessable knowledge.

Our goal for these awards is that they will stimulate the production of books and articles which further the Martin Institute’s mission of establishing Christian spiritual formation as publicly available knowledge.  We believe that they have already done this, and done it in many different ways.  We have not run the awards program for very many years, but we have been struck by the remarkable diversity of our award-winning books.  Some are scholarly; others are for general audiences.  Some are academic and theoretical; others are practical and devotional.  Some are theology; others are psychology; still others are narrative.  But all have helped to further this mission, and we are confident that this year’s finalists will do the same!

Mark Nelson, PhD
Professor of Philosophy
Director of Dallas Willard Research Center Initiative
Westmont College

Top 5 Finalists for 2022 Book Award

  1. Embracing Rhythms of Work and Rest: From Sabbath to Sabbatical and Back Again by Ruth Haley Barton 

The journey to a meaningful sabbath practice is slow and gradual, and it is a journey we need to take in community. Sharing her own story of practicing sabbath for the past twenty years, Ruth Haley Barton offers hard-won wisdom regarding the rhythms of sabbath, exploring both weekly sabbath keeping as well as extended periods of sabbatical time.

  1. Learning Humility: a Year of Searching for a Vanishing Virtue by Richard J FosterIn a society where raging narcissism dominates the moral landscape, the virtue of humility is often dismissed as irrelevant. Not only is humility vanishing from contemporary culture, but we are also witnessing how destructive a lack of humility has become among our churches and ministry leaders. And yet, Richard Foster, the founder of Renovaré, insists that humility is central to the journey toward character formation and spiritual transformation. For this reason he decided to spend a year studying the virtue of humility.
  1. The Kingdom Among Us: The Gospel According to Dallas Willard by Michael Stewart RobbThe Kingdom Among Us presents a comprehensive account of the “gospel” that Dallas Willard proclaimed. But it is much more than mere interpretation. By examining both Willard’s writings and hundreds of hours of audio recordings, Michael Steward Robb both recovers and expands Willard’s theological vision.
  1. Seeking God: Finding Another Kind of Life with St. Ignatius and Dallas Willard by Trevor HudsonProfoundly influenced by his long friendship with Dallas Willard, and his experience guiding people through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for the last thirty years, Trevor Hudson offers you a practical tool kit for your seeking journey. Designed to help you move beyond insight to encounter the living God in your life, each chapter invites you to experience the crucified and risen Christ. Together with a free video series based on the book and a study guide by Dr. Gary Moon, Seeking God makes an ideal study for individuals and groups longing to discover what following Jesus may look like in our broken and suffering world, as well as for individual reading.See the accompanying six teaching video sessions by Trevor Hudson and a study guide created by Trevor Hudson and Gary Moon for each of these video experiences at
  1. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered (2nd edition) by James C. WilhoitMost books on spiritual formation focus on the individual. But spiritual formation is at the heart of the church’s whole purpose for existence. It must be a central task for the church to carry out Christ’s mission in the world. This book offers an introduction to spiritual formation set squarely in the local church. The first edition has been well received and widely used as a textbook. The second edition has been updated throughout, incorporates findings from positive psychology, and reflects an Augustinian formation perspective. Foreword by Dallas Willard.