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‘Becoming Dallas Willard’ Earns Book Award

Mark Nelson (right) presents Gary W. Moon with an award for “Becoming Dallas Willard”
Mark Nelson (right) presents Gary W. Moon (left) with an award for “Becoming Dallas Willard”

The Dallas Willard Research Center for Spiritual Formation at Westmont honored Gary W. Moon, professor of psychology and spirituality at Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta and  senior fellow and director of the Martin Institute's center Conversatio Divina, as co-winner of its annual book award for his biography “Becoming Dallas Willard” during Westmont chapel Jan. 22 in Murchison Gym.

Katherine Thompson, an accredited mental health social worker and member of the Australian College of Social Workers, was a co-winner for her book, “Christ-Centered Mindfulness.”

The Dallas Willard Research Center, part of Westmont’s Martin Family Institute for Christianity and Culture, gives the award to works emphasizing the intellectual legacy of Dallas Willard, including his focus on the possibility of and path to authentic spiritual and moral transformation.

Moon, the former director of the Martin Family Institute and Dallas Willard Center, says some refer to Willard as America’s answer to C.S. Lewis. “Dallas was a respected academic, who was more known for his religious writings — he never sought to write a religious book, he just taught,” Moon said. “Now it’s difficult to get through a seminary in this country without reading some of those books.”

Dr. Moon speaks about Dallas Willard in Westmont chapel Jan. 22
Dr. Moon speaks about Dallas Willard in Westmont chapel Jan. 22

Moon says that Willard was known for dropping life-changing, cognitive time-bombs into casual conversations. “Things like this, ‘Don’t seek to be a speaker, seek to have something to say,’ can make a remarkable difference in one’s life,” Moon said. “Or he might say things like, ‘What God gets out of your life, is the person you become.’”

Moon says Willard is best known for three quotes.

  1. “You are a never-ceasing spiritual being, with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.”
  2. “The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons, with Himself included in that community as its prime sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.”
  3. “What is salvation? Salvation is not an event only; it is an interactive life with God.

Moon has authored several other books, including “Apprenticeship with Jesus: Learning to Live Like the Master” and “Falling for God: Saying Yes to His Extravagant Proposal.” He has co-edited “Spiritual Direction and the Care of Souls: A Guide to Christian Approaches and Practices.” He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia before completing a Master of Divinity and doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary.