Daily Riches: The Achilles Heel Of Evangelicalism (Ruth Haley Barton)

“…I believe silence is the most challenging, the most needed and the least experienced spiritual discipline among evangelical Christians today. It is much easier to talk about it and read about it than to actually become quiet. We are a very busy, wordy and heady faith tradition. Yet we are desperate to find ways to open ourselves to our God who is, in the end, beyond all of our human constructs and human agendas. With all of our emphasis on theology and Word, cognition and service–and as important as these are–we are starved for mystery, to know this God as One who is totally Other and to experience reverence in his presence. We are starved for intimacy, to see and feel and know God in the very cells of our being. We are starved for rest, to know God beyond what we can do for him. We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God himself.”  Ruth Haley Barton

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came [lit. “the sound of sheer silence”].
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face
and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
I Kings 19:11-13

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you feel the need for silence? Have you thought about how practicing silence could be a beneficial “spiritual discipline?”
  • Is your faith tradition “very busy, wordy and heady?” Is it characterized by “theology and Word, cognition and service?” Are you starved for something more: for rest, quiet, intimacy?
  • Will the speed level and noise level of your life allow you to hear God if he comes to you in “sheer silence?” Are you willing to make some changes? to carve out some silent places?

Abba, help me as I seek out silence, to attend to you there in love, and receive there your love for me.


 Thomas Merton expresses my heart for Daily Riches: “If I dare, in these few words, to ask you some direct and personal questions, it is because I address them as much to myself as to you. It is because I am still able to hope that a civil exchange of ideas can take place between two persons — that we have not yet reached the stage where we are all hermetically sealed, each one in the collective arrogance and despair of his own herd.” I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. (Psalm 90:14) . I appreciate your interest! – Bill