Preface to the Second Edition

Wooden Rings

©2000 by Elizabeth Liebert
San Francisco Theological Seminary
San Anselmo, CA  94960

Having a book published begins a unique kind of conversation. One's thinking is now open to anyone who chooses to read the book. Potential dialogue partners increase geometrically. The critics and friends of one's own choosing, whose comments and criticisms, trenchant though they may be, have been delivered personally are now joined by other reviewers, and the strengths and weaknesses of one's thinking, the validity and usefulness of one's conclusion appear in public. One becomes, in a strange kind of way, an observer to the fate of one's own creation, which, from the time it is turned in to the publisher, becomes frozen in the language and thought patterns of that moment. The book says what it says, and tomorrow it will say the same thing, even though someone else has just raised an interesting point.

A second edition becomes a welcome opportunity to say "Wait, there's more!" All the developmentalists upon whom the first edition was based (except Jane Loevinger, who, even then, was retired) have continued to expand their notions of development. The persons we followed through the first edition, Roger, Tom, Mary Beth and Katherine, continued to live in more or less developmentally helpful environments and to make more or less useful developmental moves. Eastminster Presbyterian Church called an interim pastor and now finds itself and its Kitchen Ministry six years into the tenure of a subsequent pastor and pushed to its limits by "the end of welfare as we know it." And the audience of the book opened to include students in pastoral ministry and spiritual direction programs, not just working pastors and spiritual directors.

The exigencies of publishing do not permit me to start at the beginning and rewrite the entire manuscript. I have, however, added a new chapter, in which I suggest the direction of the recent work in the structural theories of development, particularly those developmentalists upon whom the first edition was based, noting the significance for the tasks of spiritual direction and spiritual guidance. Tom, Mary Beth, Roger and Katherine make a brief appearance at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Finally, I have added a bibliography of the most significant works employed in this volume, providing a tool to facilitate further work in the primary sources themselves.

Special thanks to Jon L. Berquist of Chalice Press for the opportunity of this second edition. His prompt and cheerful replies to all my questions made the work of this revision delightful. Thanks too to Lewis Rambo and Jeanne Stevenson Moessner, both of whom kept me writing about development in the intervening years since the first edition. Thanks to those who have used Changing Life Patterns and whose comments have unfailingly encouraged me to "try to get it even clearer." And finally, thanks to my students and spiritual directees, who, by simply living and learning, keep my thoughts about both human development and spiritual direction based in reality.

Changing Life Patterns, pp. vii-viii