I have a new favorite book and it is by an author that I have loved for a while now. "Longing for More" by Ruth Haley Barton is a discussion of women's spiritual transformation. While there a lot of great books out there about spiritual formation, I love this one for several reasons.
1. Ruth describes transformation as a journey that takes place along the path of life. So, it is spiritual transformation to learn to be a wife or mother. It is spiritual formation to learn to love your own body. Ruth embraces the idea that the spiritual disciplines are to help us find the significance in living life as it is laid before us.
2. Ruth devotes one chapter to the role of women in the church. Her scholarship is outstanding but I like what she says because it is born of her own experiences. (If you pick this book up, make sure and read the endnote about 1 Timothy. I learned so much!)
3. In the last chapter, Ruth summarizes the entire book in a way that I have always felt but never been able to articulate. The reason we have to talk about why women should be transformed is that we are trying to be like Jesus. Ruth is not advocating a feminist movement within the church because that is all about women. She is saying that women are called to be like Jesus and their paths have been blocked by some old ideas. It is time that the church be the advocate of all of their members being transformed into the image of Jesus.