From Publishers Weekly
Christian spiritual disciplines are all the rage, and joining the legions of "how-to" books reintroducing contemporary Christians to ancient practices is this offering by Barton, a spiritual director and retreat leader (Invitation to Solitude and Silence
). With elegant writing and a personal touch, she covers the basics handily—the role of desire and longing in relationship with God, praying with scripture, and the need for solitude, self-examination, discernment and Sabbath. She concludes with an exercise that helps one develop a "rule of life," or commitment to "structure and space for our growing." What makes Barton's handbook different from the rest is her personality; she describes the practices with the gentle touch of an understanding and knowing mystic, telling her own stories along the way. Barton recounts the time she and her bicycle were run over by a minivan (miraculously, she was not seriously hurt) and as she recuperated, she pondered whether this accident was a time to reconsider her need for Sabbath: "I did not want to acknowledge the possibility that it was that hard for God to get my attention." This book is a wonderful starting point for Christians eager to more deeply explore the life of the Spirit. (Mar. 30)
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"[Barton] describes the practices with the gentle touch of an understanding and knowing mystic." (Publishers Weekly, January 29, 2006)
"Ruth Haley Barton offers much wise, sane, concrete help for people who are ready for the 'more' of God amidst their busy lives, and want a better way to arrange their lives to receive God's transforming presence. She clearly spells out an excellent rhythm of classical spiritual practices that can keep us open and available to God's transforming actions in and among us. She grounds these practices in our own deepest desires, connecting those desires with God's desire for our well-being. She shares some of her own personal experiences as a sometimes struggling Christian in an honest and inspiring way. She gives very helpful guidelines for using the book within a group of people who are seeking to create better conditions in their lives to receive God's transforming presence.
I think this book will be of enormous value to individuals and groups who are seeking to more fully ground all dimensions of their often fragmented and hectic daily lives in the liberating ground of God's transforming presence, with the help of a rhythm of vital spiritual practices that can keep us available to that loving presence." (Tilden Edwards, author of Sabbath Time and Living in the Presence)
"Our natural tendency is to push, work longer and strive. In a kind, compelling and beautiful voice Ruth Haley Barton invites us to listen to an inner pulse that can be heard only when we are quiet. The path is one that Ruth has walked with honesty and integrity. The fruit of her labor is a sweet call to know our lives need not be harried or harbor fruitless exhaustion." (Dan B. Allender, Ph.D., professor and former president, Mars Hill Graduate School, and author of The Wounded Heart)
"Ruth Barton confirms what you've suspected—there is more to life than what most of us are living. This volume serves as a great primer for helping us get in touch with and follow our longings—all the way to God!" (Reggie McNeal, author of The Present Future and A Work of Heart)
"Too many people are suffering with CFS (Christian Fatigue Syndrome). Ruth Haley Barton is herself a CFS survivor, and she shares here—in a warm and personal yet lucid and thoughtful writing style—how she has been restored to life's sacred rhythms. My experience mirrors hers, and I will enthusiastically recommend this book widely—both as preventative medicine and as needed therapy." (Brian McLaren, speaker and author of A New Kind of Christian)