The Connected Life: The Art and Science of Relational Spirituality, By Todd W. Hall alt

The Connected Life

The Art and Science of Relational Spirituality

by Todd W. Hall
Foreword by Curt Thompson

The Connected Life
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Published: June 28, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0262
  • ISBN: 9781514002629

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It's no secret that we live in an increasingly isolated world. The pandemic has only exacerbated what was already a startling trend: loneliness and disconnection have been on the rise for a long time in our society. We long for a deep sense of meaning to make sense of our lives, but we don't know how to find it. Even worse, we often search for it in unhealthy ways that hinder the very thing we're desperate for: genuine relational connection.

Psychologist Todd Hall has been researching human relationships and ways of connecting for many years. In The Connected Life, he offers the fruit of that work, contending that real human growth doesn't come through head knowledge alone but through relational knowledge and strong attachment bonds. It's our relationships—with God and others—that lead to authentic transformation. Ultimately, the family of God provides the best context for lasting growth.

Here is a wise, accessible introduction to transformative relational connection, addressing the deeply felt disconnection in our society and inviting us into lasting relationships with God and others.

"It is no secret that people worldwide are increasingly disconnected from each other. For a number of reasons, we are detached from feeling we can be vulnerable about ourselves with others. This issue ties directly into massive problems in physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health. Todd Hall has provided a biblical and scientifically validated path to learn and experience true connection with God, others, and our very selves. The chapters on relational knowledge are a highlight. I highly recommend this book."

John Townsend, author of the Boundaries book series and founder of the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling

"People seem more relationally disconnected today than ever and yet are desperate for meaning and connection. This is one big reason I am thrilled about this new book by my friend Todd Hall. The Connected Life is research based and yet full of stories and practical ideas. I am honored to offer an endorsement and look forward to helping spread the word when it releases."

Sean McDowell, professor at Biola University and author of So the Next Generation Will Know

"We live in the most distracted and disrupted culture in the history of the world. That radical disruption is affecting our families, personal relationships, careers, and spiritual lives, which is why I'm so thrilled Todd Hall has released The Connected Life. The truth is, this book is a road map for navigating today's world—if you can't change, the world will pass you by. So read The Connected Life, underline it, and keep it on your desk. It could very well be your ticket to the future."

Phil Cooke, filmmaker and media consultant, author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do

"The Connected Life is a brilliant book that is very important for the future of the church. It offers practical insights that will help you find meaning and thrive in life. Drawn from Todd's faith, personal experiences, counseling practice, and psychology research, The Connected Life brings a fresh perspective. Todd's beautiful writing style really connects, and his storytelling ability is icing on the cake."

Michael Lee Stallard, president of Connection Culture Group and author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work

"Although most of us recognize the importance of relationships in our lives at some level, we often find ourselves stuck, unsure of how to cultivate healthy, thriving relationships. In this book, Todd clarifies the path toward adopting new habits and frameworks that help us to love others, and ourselves, well. The Connected Life communicates profound insights about how to love winsomely and live meaningfully."

Steve Saccone, author of Relational Intelligence and Talking About God

"The Connected Life blends social science with spiritual truths to reveal why we feel so discombobulated, and tells us how to put ourselves back together."

David Burkus, author of The Myths of Creativity and Friend of a Friend

"In The Connected Life, Todd Hall demonstrates powerfully that we are hardwired for close, empathic relationships, but we suffer deeply from our increasingly fragmented culture. Through compelling stories, research results clearly explained, and practical action steps, Todd helps readers learn how to build life-giving relational connections. This book challenged me and fed my soul. I heartily recommend it."

Joshua Miller, author of Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person

"Todd Hall understands the connected life, largely because he's known firsthand the disconnected life. He grew up looking for love, longing for a place to belong. Thankfully, he found it all, and more, in the welcome of a good God, the love of a good woman, and the grace of a good church. But he knows deeply and clearly what it is to lack such things, so he also knows the gifts that these things are and how best to receive, foster, and steward them. How do you or I overcome our tendencies to hide, evade, resist, and resent? How do we truly, deeply connect? I can hardly think of a question more relevant to our times or one for which we need, and urgently, real wisdom. This book is just such wisdom."

Mark Buchanan, pastor and author of Spiritual Rhythm

"I love that the thoughtful engagement with neuroscience, attachment psychology, theology, and more from Todd's previous book is now offered in this engaging and accessible work. The Connected Life offers a kind of antidote to our disconnected lives and to the hidden suffering we endure as a result. It envisions a way back to each other and to God."

Chuck DeGroat, professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary

"We live in a world where 'friends' usually means contacts, accountability most often refers to associates, and the best intimacy means FaceTime. Todd Hall challenges us to examine our earthly relationships in light of the potential and power of the spiritual glue that can hold them together. The Connected Life presents an oasis of hope in a desert of disconnection."

Kenneth C. Ulmer, senior advisor to the president, Biola University

"Todd Hall has written a very helpful and relevant book for our fragmented and broken world, focusing on relational spirituality and the connected life we all deeply long for and that can be found in the love of God in Christ and in the loving community of the church. Highly recommended as essential reading for all of us!"

Siang-Yang Tan, senior professor of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective

"By weaving personal stories with psychological theory and research, Dr. Hall guides his readers to an understanding of healthy attachment and the way in which it can heal. His soulful explanation of psychological theory provides a guidebook of sorts for how we can be more deeply connected to ourselves, each other, and God. This book will help readers understand themselves—and those they care for—better and more deeply, enhancing their relationships and creating the conditions for better health and transformed connections."

Doreen Dodgen-Magee, psychologist and author of Restart: Designing a Healthy Post-Pandemic Life

"Todd Hall has spent his career plumbing the practical aspects of psychology and drawing out the deep connections with Christian theology. In The Connected Life, he marshals all his wisdom to help us understand the best way to live, love, and lead. This book will provide more practical aha! moments than any book you'll read this year. I highly recommend it!"

Ken Wytsma, author of The Grand Paradox and The Myth of Equality

"Todd Hall takes us well beyond the confines of transactional religion in his latest work. If you have been searching for a relational pursuit of the God we can never contain, who nevertheless is radically available and desires to commune with us, then you have found it in this read."

AJ Sherrill, Anglican priest and author of Being with God: The Absurdity, Necessity, and Neurology of Contemplative Prayer

"In seasons of transition we can experience feeling out of rhythm, deep distance between each other and God, a 'crisis of human and spiritual connection.' These dynamics are exhausting for the soul; we are made for community and to enjoy God's presence. Being relational is an intelligent design; we are not merely mechanical. Dr. Hall beautifully expresses how the Holy Spirit knows us through our complex emotions and scientifically shows how our emotions can be a source of good ideas, gatekeepers of decisions. As a Latino/x who reasons and feels ideas and faith, The Connected Life provides a practical framework for understanding our attachment to God and each other."

Oscar Merlo, director of the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today, Biola University

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Curt Thompson
Introduction: The Power of Loving Connection

Part One: The Connection Crisis
1. The Causes of Our Connection Crisis
2. The Spiritual Effects of Our Connection Crisis
3. Misguided Spirituality

Part Two: Relational Knowledge
4. We Know More than We Can Say
5. Once More with Feeling

Part Three: Attachment Bonds
6. Born to Connect
7. Becoming Attached
8. How We Connect to God and Others

Part Four: Transformation
9. Born to Love
10. Deep Love
11. Understanding Deep Growth
12. Cultivating Deep Growth
13. Suffering Well
14. Born to Belong



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Todd W. Hall

Todd W. Hall (PhD, Rosemead School of Psychology) is professor of psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University, where he teaches courses on the integration of psychology and theology, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and positive psychology. He is a faculty affiliate at the Harvard Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University and a founding partner at Flourishing Metrics. He is an award-winning researcher, focusing on relational approaches to spirituality, virtue, and leadership. He is a coauthor of Psychology in the Spirit, developer of several widely used spiritual assessments, and co-developer of the Flourish Assessment.