Ruth Haley Barton is the award winning author of 7 books and the founder of The Transforming Center. Her book Sacred Rhythms won the Logos Book Award for Best Book Award on Spirituality and her book Invitation to Solitude and Silence won the Christianity Today Book of the Year Award for Spirituality. In this interview, Noah Filipiak interviews Ruth about how to deal with success and failure, burnout, ego, ambition, technology, pace, false self and true self, finding who we truly are in Christ versus the facade strategies we have learned to protect ourselves, and much more. Ruth and her Transforming Community team have extensive experience helping Christians and ministry leaders find their true self in Christ and are uniquely gifted and called to this essential work in today’s hectic, cluttered, performance-driven culture we live in. If you’ve ever struggled with having a dry devotional time with the Lord and wondered if there was more to experience from God than you currently know, God has led you to the right person by now connecting you with Ruth Haley Barton and the Transforming Center.
I’m a relatively critical person and do not give out compliments flippantly. No hyperbole, Ruth’s book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership has been the most transformative book for me as a Christian and a pastor that I have ever read. Period. I wrote about my experience with the book here.
I highly recommend that you read up on Ruth’s books and if you connect well with them and with this podcast interview, that you consider joining a Transforming Community, a cohort of 70 people who meet in the Chicago area over a period of 2-years for 9 quarterly retreats. I’m currently in a Transforming Community (just finished retreat 2 of 9) and I highly recommend this process as an essential training piece for ministry leaders. I had a great seminary experience and with all due respect to higher education, I would say that a Transforming Community is the most important training a pastor or ministry leader can undertake.
Listen to the Ruth Haley Barton interview here: (or subscribe on iTunes)
Ruth’s Books Referenced in Interview:
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation – This is the book Ruth recommends to start with. Get in touch with your spiritual desire and begin to get in touch with the spiritual practices that correspond with it. It’s not an “ought to” to do these practices, it’s how to get in touch with your spiritual desire and move toward spiritual practices that are good for your soul. Practices covered include: solitude, silence, prayer, Sabbath keeping, discernment, establishing a set of sacred rhythms, Scripture, and honoring the body.
Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence – If you’re feeling drawn to solitude and silence, Ruth acts as a spiritual director here. She takes you by the hand and walk into solitude and silence together with you as a guide. This is a very personal book for Ruth and her journey which reflects on a period of her life of being out of control and not being transformed. Based on the story of Elijah.
Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Life – Connects the dots between solitude and leadership. A false bifurcation has developed between solitude and action as if just those “contemplative types” practice solitude and silence. This book says no, this is the key discipline for all in Christian leadership. How are my private spiritual disciplines fueling my public life as a leader? Based on the story of Moses.
Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community – This book lays out Corporate Leadership Discernment as a spiritual practice. It teaches how to discern God’s will together at a spiritual level; how a leadership group can discern as a community how to do the will of God. Solitude. It looks at the question of what is the role of community in our transformation process? Based on Emmaeus Road story.
Other resources mentioned in the interview:
TransformingCenter.org where you will find many articles written by Ruth and her team, along with information on Transforming Communities, and much more.
The End of Absence: Reclaiming We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris