Opening a Blast Furnace
This book, written by Ruth Haley Barton was an incredible read! Ordinarily, I don't read devotional books, or books about the "Spiritual Disciplines", but I tried this one out of curiosity, not really expecting anything from it.
To say I was surprised was an understatement! This book touches on a number of issues usually not found in most books on spirituality. With warmth and sensitivity, Ms. Barton takes you on a quest for spiritual trandformation. There's no gushy sentimentality here, but practical advice on how to seek a "quiet place" for prayer and meditation, effective prayer, honoring one's body (what she calls "Flesh-and-Blood Spirituality") and a how to truly honor the Sabbath in this hectic, frenetic age in which we live. My favorite chapter was on an exercise she called "Lectio Divina" or "sacred reading". It presented a ancient way of reading the Scriptures, not for information, but to encounter God, the One behind the words on the page. It's an incredible spiritual excercise, and I've been using it ever since!
For anyone who has a longing for spiritual trandformation and a deeper intimacy with God, but have been intimidated by the large number of titles available, or the diverse methods employed, I highly recommend this book. Her writing is warm, lucid, and very practical. Having said that, however, be warned, she will shake you out of your spiritual lethargy and drag you away from your comfort zone. But I promise you, the trip will be worth it.