Invitation to Solitude & Silence * Book Open House #1

Welcome to Gathering #1 of the Invitation to Solitude & Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence Book Open House.  For six weeks, we'll be exploring Ruth Haley Barton's little guidebook, hopefully with a yearning to grasp hold of and put into practice the spiritual invitations that God is lovingly extending to each one of us who follows Him.

The good news is that He invites each of us to unique individual growth experiences along our spiritual journey.  There's no 1 - 2 - 3 lockstep march toward intimacy with Christ, although the Bible presents many Scriptures that point us to obedience, faith, trust, maturity, and the vital importance of community.

My prayer is that as we sit quietly with Jesus, as we invite the Spirit to search our hearts, as we page through this book and then chat back and forth together, we will all be warmed and encouraged by God's steady tugging at our souls.  And in the process, our desire to be more like Christ will expand, that our growth in faith and the practice of it will bloom and blossom with a fragrant beauty which will in turn draw others to our precious Savior.

Each week I'll be putting several quotes on the table for you to consider.  Feel free to share your 'a-ha' moments and responses in the comment section, whether you've read the book or not.  Like any good book club, I'd love for you to chat back and forth with other readers by hitting the REPLY button under their comments.  

And if you write a post on the subject of solitude and silence, please feel free to share that link in the comment section ... and if you'd link up to what's happening around here in your post, I'll be forever grateful!  

Like any fun open house, you can jump on into the discussion at any time, not just on Thursdays or Fridays.  Feel free to show up when you are able, to come and go and slip in and out, knowing that the welcome mat is ready and waiting for your unique input.  Be sure to come back for a visit or two to see what people are talking about.

Of course, I'd love for you to invite your social media friends to join us!

But please - no preaching at each other.  This is an online community of faith defined by warmth and kindness, safety and grace ... all which are vital keys for emotional health and spiritual growth.  Last time I looked, not one of us has arrived.  I reserve the right not to publish comments I believe to be offensive to others.


Chapter 1 - Beyond Words
'The image of the jar of river water captured what I knew to be true about myself.  I could not avoid the realization that I was the jar of river water all shaken up and the sediment that swirled inside the jar was the busyness, the emotions, the thoughts, the inner wrestlings I had not been able to control.  It was a moment of self-discovery - which is where all good spiritual journeying begins.

The image of the jar of river water helped me identify where I was, but it also captured my longing and desire to go somewhere else.  To be still long enough so the swirling sediment could settle, the waters of my soul could become clear, and I could see whatever it was that needed to be seen ... that image called to me with the hope of peace, clarity and a deeper level of certainty in God than I had yet known ... I recognized an invitation to be still and know beyond my addiction to noise, words, people and performance-oriented activity.  It captured my desire for something ... beyond the head knowledge that no longer sustained my soul.'

Chapter 2 - Beginnings
'Silence deepens the experience of solitude.  In silence we not only withdraw from the demands of life in the company of others but also allow the noise of our own thoughts, strivings and compulsions to settle down so we can hear a truer and more reliable Voice.  Reliance on our own thoughts and words, even in our praying, can be one facet of a need to control things, to set the agenda, or at least to know what the agenda is even in our relationship with God.  It is in silence we habitually release our own agendas and our need to control and become more willing and able to give ourselves to God's loving initiative.  In silence we create space for God's activity rather than filling every minute with our own.'

and more ...

Book Open House #2 and Book Open House #3 and #4.  And #5 is here and the conclusion is there.

here's why this is the desert island book I'd pack

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sharing the book open house
with Holley & Anne