There has been an explosion of interest in classical Christian spirituality over the past 50 years. Nevertheless, while a great deal of work has being done on the history of Christian spirituality, there has been no full-scale, systematic theological and pastoral treatment of Christian spiritual life since before the Second Vatican Council."Beloved Dust" takes a realistic and contemporary view of human being as entirely physical (dust) and then shows it immersed in three great tides of the 'Holy Spirit', the traditional threefold rhythm of conversion, transfiguration, and glory. What is unique about Robert Hughes' approach, among other things, is the effort to root spiritual theology in the doctrine of the Spirit, an outgrowth of the renewed interest in the Trinity among both Catholics (Karl Rahner) and Protestants (Robert Jenson). Also striking is Hughes' emphasis on "ordinary life"-marriage, parenting, etc. Here as a married Episcopal priest/theologian he brings a distinctly "Protestant" perspective to a traditionally "Catholic" enterprise for so long the preserve of celibate priests.
What he achieves is an entirely new presentation of the traditional teaching in the light of contemporary knowledge and practice.
Robert D. Hughes is Norma and Olan Mills Professor of Divinity and Professor of Systematic Theology in the School of Theology of The University of the South, where he has taught since 1977. Author of numerous articles appearing in journals such as the Anglican Theological Review, the Sewanee Theological Review, and the St. Luke's Journal of Theology, he also wrote "The Holy Spirit in Christian Spirituality" for The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality (2005).
Part I: Love and Dust: New Foundations for Spiritual Theology; 1. The Nature of Spirituality and Its Crisis; 2. The Rise and Fall of Spiritual Theology as a Discipline; 3. Koinonia or Communion: Trinitarian Resources for Renewal; 4. The Missions and Tides of the Spirit: Pneumatological Resources for Renewal; 5. Dust: Anthropological Resources for Renewal; 6. Spirit and Psyche: The Conversation between Psychology and Spirituality; Part II: Tides of the Spirit: A Renewed Spiritual Theology; 1. Converted Dust First Interlude: The Dark Night of the Senses and the "Second Conversion"; 2. Transfigured Dust Second Interlude: The Dark Night of the Soul and the "Third Conversion"; 3. Glorified Dust.