Winner of a Christianity Today Book Award! Much of our faith and practice is about words―preaching, teaching, talking with others. Yet all of these words are not enough to take us into the real presence of God where we can hear his voice. This book is an invitation to you to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. It is an invitation to solitude and silence. The beauty of a true invitation is that we really do have a choice about embarking on this adventure. God extends the invitation, but he honors our freedom and will not push himself where he is not wanted. Instead, he waits for us to respond from the depths of our desire. Will you say yes? This expanded edition includes a guide for groups to use both in discussing the book content and in learning to practice silence together.
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IVP: Why do you think words like solitude and silence are so difficult to grasp and implement into our lives?
Ruth Haley Barton: Solitude and silence challenge us on every level of our being. They challenge us culturally because nothing in our culture supports quietness and non-activity. Technology now intrudes on every aspect of our lives, and the idea of not being continually available by cell phone, beeper, and palm pilot is now almost unheard of. Solitude and silence challenge us on the level of our relationships because it means that for this period of time we are not available to the people in our lives, and those we care about may resist our lack of availability. Solitude and silence challenge us psychologically because the psyche knows that if we become quiet, we will have to face those inner realities and emotions that we would prefer to avoid by distracting ourselves with noise and activity. Solitude and silence challenge us spiritually because all the forces of evil seek to prevent us from entering in because when we become truly still we experience and know God in ways that will unseat Satan's power and dominion in our lives. "Be still and know . . ." IVP: What inspired you to write Invitation to Solitude and Silence?
Barton: I was inspired to write Invitation to Solitude and Silence out of my own journey into solitude and silence that began when I came to the end of what the traditional "quiet time" had to offer. Silence and solitude have yielded powerful results--connection with God and authentic spiritual transformation--in my own spiritual life that have not come in any other way.About the Author:
Ruth Haley Barton (DD, Northern Seminary) is founding president of the Transforming Center, a spiritual formation ministry to pastors and Christian leaders. A trained spiritual director (Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation), teacher and retreat leader, she has served on the pastoral staff of several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church. A sought-after teacher, preacher and consultant to leadership teams, she is currently adjunct professor of spiritual transformation at Northern Seminary. Educated at Wheaton College, Northern Seminary and Loyola University Chicago Institute for Pastoral Studies, Ruth is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life, including Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Sacred Rhythms, Longing for More and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. She is also the author of an online resource titled eReflections, spiritual guidance via e-mail. She contributes regularly to Conversations: A Forum for Authentic Transformation.
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