I recently noticed that I haven't been reading as many books by women as I'd like. I try to make sure I'm reading a broad swath of authors: men and women, across ethnic groups, from various points in history. Missing out on women's voices always comes at a huge cost.
Ruth Haley Barton is one of the most insightful leaders in the arena of spiritual leadership. Sacred Rhythms represents some of her best work to mentor leaders in the art of spiritual transformation.
She walks us through 7 spiritual disciplines that God uses in our lives to produce spiritual transformation: solitude, lectio divina, prayer, bodily awareness, self-examination, discernment, and sabbath. She also provides a framework for spiritual transformation and practical guidance for arranging your life.
At the core of her framework is this idea:
"I cannot transform myself ... What I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place, by developing and maintaining a rhythm of spiritual practices that keep me open and available to God."The chapter on bodily awareness - titled Honoring the Body: Flesh-and-Blood Spirituality - was the newest and most challenging for me. Barton challenges us to walk the line between denigration and objectification and shows how God will meet us in the midst of it.
This is a great book ... worth a slow read and intentional application.