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Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence [Hardcover]

By Ruth Haley Barton (Author) & R. Ruth Barton (Author)
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Item Number 8299  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.56" Width: 5.72" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.66 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2004
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830823867  
EAN  9780830823864  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
In Invitation to Solitude and Silence Barton offers spiritual guidance for your journey, helping you to hear God's call more clearly and showing you concrete ways to say yes. Chapter by chapter she combines teaching and reflection on different aspects of the journey with activities and disciplines that will help you to practice solitude and silence. Barton offers the prophet Elijah as a biblical guide for your journey. And she offers her own perspective to help you understand the ups and downs you might experience along the way.

The beauty of a true invitation is that you really do have a choice. You can say yes or no. God is waiting for you to respond to him from the depths of your desire for relationship, belonging and transformation. Will you say yes?

Community Description
Ruth Haley Barton describes how she has discovered the real presence of God---the God who is present through the practice of solitude and silence. Her book invites you to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. It is a call to the adventure of spiritual transformation---an adventure that will lead you to freedom and authenticity, allowing you to become the person God created you to be.

In Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Barton offers spiritual guidance for your journey, helping you to hear God's call more clearly and showing you concrete ways to say yes. Chapter by chapter, she combines teaching and reflection on different aspects of the journey with activities and disciplines that will help you to practice solitude and silence.

Barton offers the prophet Elijah as a biblical guide for your journey. And she offers her own perspective to help you understand the ups and downs you might experience along the way. "Best Book on Spirituality for 2005"---Christianity Today.
Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.


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More About Ruth Haley Barton & R. Ruth Barton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ruth Haley Barton is the associate director of spiritual formation at Willow Creek Community Church. She speaks often to conferences and groups, is a trained spiritual director, and is the author of several titles, including Becoming a Woman of Strength.

Ruth Haley Barton currently resides in the state of Illinois. Ruth Haley Barton was born in 1960.

Ruth Haley Barton has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Transforming Center Set


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great insights to time with God  Nov 9, 2006
Barton speaks from experience about life without solitude and silence. She is open and vulnerable. She shares from experience and backs that with biblical references. This book will help you see the rewards for solitude with God in your life; the struggles that one can have when trying to find that solitude time and space.
 
Deepen Your Relationship with God  Mar 25, 2006
A good primer for going deeper with God, with practical suggestions for how to spend time in silence before Him. Grounded and yet inspiring.
 
Unbiblical Nonsense Masquerading as Christian Theology  Oct 13, 2005
The subtitle to Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton is "Experiencing God's Transforming Presence." Had I been the editor, I might have suggested something a little more appropriate. Perhaps "A Textbook in Eisogesis" or "Constructing Complex Theology From Non-Supporting Scriptures." And really this book is an adventure in poor use of Scripture and unsupported statements.

Let me say from the beginning that I believe silence is important. I believe solitude is important. Both are important parts of a healthy spiritual walk. I also believe in the importance of meditation, albiet meditation in a Puritan sense rather than an Eastern sense of the word. While these are good and necessary parts of a healthy spirituality, they are also dangerous if misused, and particularly dangerous if used in ways not only unsupported, but forbidden by Scripture.

In Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Haley Barton seeks to lead the reader to prayer beyond words. "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" (from the back cover). This objection to vocalizing prayer is an undercurrent running throughout the book.

The reader will doubtless not be surprised to learn that the primary Bible passage used to support Barton's theology of silent prayer is 1 Kings 19, where Elijah hears God's still small voice or a small sound or thin silence or a low whisper, depending on the translation. From this single passage, Barton draws out a complex theology of silent prayer wherein we will only fully experience God if we engage in this practice.

According to Barton there are two primary reasons to enter into the silence. The first is to commune with God. She indicates that while words are useful, we sometimes use them too often and we can use them to express everything but matters of the heart. She encourages the reader to distinguish between heart and mind and to reduce the number of words in prayer while focusing instead on just being in prayer. The second reason to engage in silent prayer is to listen to God and receive guidance from Him.

When discussing guidance Barton writes, "The fact that we can't see God makes it easy to slip into a pattern of doing all the talking ourselves. Is it too much to expect that God might speak back to us, not only with expressions of love but with guidance that is trustworthy and wise? Is it grandiose to believe God might actually interact with me in such a person and timely way? And if I do hear something, how do I know it is God's voice and not just my own thoughts masquerading as something more spiritual?" (page 118). The answer, of course, is that we do expect God to speak to us and to do so in a deeply personal way. Yet Scripture does not tell us that we should expect the type of personal revelation this book advocates. God speaks to use as the Holy Spirit applies Scripture to our hearts. This may be unsatisfying for people who desire to experience God in their way, in their time and on their terms, but this is what the Bible clearly teaches.

There is great danger in allowing supposed personal communication from God to become normative. For example, Barton tells about God calling her to vocational, ordained ministry through her times of silence. Yet the Bible teaches with utmost clarity that women are never called to this type of ministry. She allows her personal experience to supercede the clear teaching of Scripture.

While the book focuses primarily on a theology of silent prayer, each chapter concludes with a "Practice" section in which Barton practically applies what has been taught. Early in the book she suggests finding a sacred space and perhaps an icon or object to help focus on God. Here is an excerpt from a later chapter. "Take a few moments to allow your body to settle into a comfortable yet alert position. Take several deep breaths as a way of entering into the silence and making yourself present to the One who is always present with you...In your time of listening today, ask God to bring to your heart a moment in the last couple of days where you were most grateful...Is there any way God may be guiding you to choose more of what gives you life?"

I was disappointed to see that Barton did not discuss the potential dangers of silent prayer. After all, this type of prayer is practiced in most of the world's religions. Many Christians believe, and with some justification I think, that entering the silence is the same for Christians as it is for Hindus or Muslims or adherents to any other system of religion. Surely it would be due diligence for Barton to warn that people may encounter forces other than God while in the silence.

It should come as no surprise that I do not recommend this book for any reason. The teaching Scripturally indefensible and potentially very dangerous. The author would have us believe that we can only truly commune with God and receive His clearest guidance if we engage in this practice. Yet she is unable to prove this with Scripture and so we must toss this teaching on the ever-growing heap of unbiblical nonsense masquerading as Christian theology. If you want to learn to pray, turn instead to Bryan Chapell's Praying Backwards.
 
Exellent shared prayer experiences  Sep 2, 2005
I think meditation in all faith traditions is about being still and being aware of the Great One (God, Wisdom, True Self, however you name IT) inside us. So it is with Barton's book, except that as a Christian, she wrote about being aware of God and His voice. I find this book wonderful in that Barton shared a lot of her own personal prayer experiences and she articulated for me what I myself felt and went through as I discovered how much silence I needed. I can also resonate with Barton's continual need to withdraw into silence so that I can hear God. Her prayer practices at the end of each chapter are suitable for all faith traditions. Some of the pratices might appear Zen-inspired, as one review here says, but really, I find this no issue at all.
 
Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence  Aug 22, 2005
Excellent book - the author is very real, gives good illustrations as well as practical guidance on how to enter into solitude and silence with God!
 

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