In many ways, "Connecting" began something of a shift in the focus of Larry Crabb's writings. No doubt, the seeds had always been there--seeds that continue to germinate into full-blown spiritual direction. Crabb's later books, like "Soul Talk," have continued Crabb's journey, to switch metaphors, from biblical psychologist to spiritual director.
In "Connecting," Crabb explains why and how the church, and everyday relationships between Christians, ought to be the main place where spiritual maturity occurs. The subtitle, "Healing Ourselves and Our Relationships," was likely more an editorial and marketing decision, than a reflection of Crabb's focus. For "Connecting" highlights Christlikeness much more than emotional healing.
It is in "Connecting" that Crabb begins to underscore what has been a major emphasis in his later writing and ministry--the new heart of the renewed believer according to the new covenant. Unlike "Inside Out," that at times felt like "inner sin spotting," "Connecting" teaches more about listening to the good work that the Holy Spirit is already doing in a believers life. This is truly refreshing since much of modern Christian counseling has counseled believers as if they were still unbelievers with the old heart of the old covenant.
In many ways Crabb was ahead of the trends with "Connecting." Many post-modern, emergent Christian writers are now emphasizing (echoing?) the church as the place where spiritual formation takes place. Of course, Christ, Peter, and Paul taught this 2000 years ago, and saints have practiced it for the past 2000 years.
"Connecting" won't tell you all the "how tos" of spiritual friendship. It will tell you the why (the new covenant) and motivate you to relate deeply as spiritual friends.