Welcome to my blog. I am Miriam Downey, the Cyberlibrarian. I am a retired librarian and a lifelong reader. I read and review books in four major genres: fiction, non-fiction, memoir and spiritual. My goal is to relate what I read to my life experience. I read books culled from reviews in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Bookmarks, and The New Yorker. I also accept books from authors and publicists. I am having a great time.
Hope you will join me on the journey.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our lives for spiritual transformation
By Ruth Haley Barton
Downers Grove IL, IVP Books, 2006
Sacred Rhythms is Ruth Barton’s
personal look at the traditional spiritual disciplines. Barton is a pastor,
author, and seminar leader. She is a former pastor at Willow Creek Community
Church and now runs the Transforming Center in Wheaton Illinois.
The traditional spiritual disciplines
as outlined by Richard Foster in his book Celebration
of Discipline are:
·Inward Disciplines of Meditation, Prayer,
Fasting, and Study
·Outward Disciplines of Simplicity, Solitude,
Submission, and Service
·The Corporate Disciplines of Confession,
Worship, Guidance, and Celebration.
Authors tend to focus on only a few of these disciplines. In
my teaching of the Companions in Christ
curriculum, we speak of the spiritual disciplines as aspects of spiritual
formation. We have studied forgiveness, prayer, scripture, discernment, and
spiritual guidance. Each of these areas include some of Richard Fosters
disciplines but focus more on formation rather than discipline.
Barton has made these spiritual disciplines personal, which
is the beauty of this book. Each chapter discusses one of the spiritual
disciplines: Solitude, scripture, prayer, honoring the body, self-examination,
discernment, Sabbath, and rule of life. I particularly appreciated the chapters
on honoring the body and Sabbath. I have a lot of growing to do in both of
these areas, and I liked the honesty with which she addressed her own needs. She
also discussed ways in which a person can discern some rules for living--another
area where I could use some growth.
At the end of each chapter, Barton includes some suggestions
for ways to practice the discipline, and apparently there are leader’s guides
and participants books which can be used in training sessions. I found this
book to be valuable as a stand-alone to remind me of the practices that are so
very easy to get sidetracked from practicing.
One reviewer called Sacred Rhythms “a
gracious and gentle approach to the use of spiritual disciplines.”
I really liked the examples she used from her own life experiences. These are
examples that I can relate to. Here is something I found startling: that the
spiritual disciplines have become a part of the InterVarsity Press lexicon of
books. I wouldn’t have expected that. However, in my search for reviews to
utilize in writing this blog posting, I did find this review that didn’t like
the idea of evangelical theology veering off into such touchy-feely stuff: “Sacred Rhythms serves as an
excellent example of where the spiritual formation movement is attempting to
take the evangelical church, which is back into Roman Catholic mystical
experiences and practice because the movement does not emerge from the
Scriptures. It does not form biblical disciples of Christ and is