Book Offers Help in ‘Reframing the Soul’

Dr. Greg Spencer

Dr. Greg Spencer

Greg Spencer, Westmont professor of communication studies, hopes that his new book, “Reframing the Soul: How Words Transform Our Faith,” will help members of the local community as they remember the challenging events of this past winter.

On the night after the massive Jan. 9 debris flow, Spencer said his last thought before going to bed was that he needed to feed the birds the following day. “These words reminded me that I needed to do something life-giving,” he says. “I needed to do what I could do, to hold the hurting, to listen to my students’ stories, to prepare for the semester ahead. How we frame these last few months matters. It has everything to do with how we go forward.

“As we work on our word choice, we become empowered to reframe our story according to the truth of our lives and the wisdom of the gospel. New circumstances, such as a natural disaster, often drive us to reframe. In times of crisis, we might realize that the labels we’ve been using are unsatisfying. ‘Reframing the Soul’ guides readers through four ‘soul essentials’: remembering the past with gratitude, anticipating the future with hope, dwelling within themselves with peace, and relating to others in love.”

Spencer has published several books, including “Awakening the Quieter Virtues,” and two novels, “The Welkening” and “Guardian of the Veil.”

The book will be available for purchase and signing at a free, public reading on Wednesday, March 28, at 5 p.m. at Hieronymus Lounge in Westmont’s Kerrwood Hall.

Spencer, the Western States Communication Association’s 2018 Master Teacher, earned a bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly before earning a master’s degree and doctorate in communication, both from the University of Oregon. He has taught at Westmont since 1987, specializing in rhetorical theory and media ethics.

“The central question in ‘Reframing the Soul’ is: when you frame your life, what’s in the picture?” Spencer asks. “We don’t just remember the past. We remember it as we have framed it. Do we store up bitterness or can we move toward acceptance and forgiveness? Jesus calls us to reframe life — grace instead of law, love instead of retaliation — demonstrating that our faith-work is frame-work. In this book, I hope to awaken readers to the power of the words they choose.”