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Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community
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Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  20 reviews
2014 Best Book of Spiritual Formation, from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds BookstoreHave you joined a church or small group in hopes of experiencing real life change, only to be disappointed? Have you sat through inspiring sermons about what is possible when Christians gather together in mutually edifying relationships, only to recognize how cynical you have become after m ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 7th 2014 by IVP Books (first published April 1st 2010)
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Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Using the account of the two disciples' encounter with Jesus on the Emmaus road, Barton explores how we may experience life transformation through our encounter with Christ in the presence of others in Christian community.

I thought this was an exquisitely wonderful book! Barton honestly explores how our dreams of community and life transformation often fall far short of reality, a refreshing acknowledgement in itself. Then she goes on to talk about the Emmaus road account in Luke 24:13-
Ruth Haley Barton is well established as an author of Christian spirituality. I have read and found beneficial her Invitation to Solitude and Silence and Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. The former, explores the importance of practicing silence as a spiritual discipline while the latter examines eight spiritual practices that help people press deeper into faith in God. Barton draws on the insights of the broad Christian tradition, but her writings is palatable fo ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a fantastic introduction to Ruth Haley Barton and the Transforming Center. Life Together in Christ, intended as much for groups as for individuals, walks one through the basics of a community committed to experiencing Christ. This book reflects the wisdom of Barton, who has been practicing this way of life as well as leading others to do so for well over a decade, as well as exemplifying her wonderful communication skills as she easily walks one through these abstract ideas in clear ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ruth Haley Barton - Life Together in Christ

It is possible to hang around other Christians a lot meet regularly for worship study our Bibles join a church and even call ourselves a community but not change at all in ways that count.

Salvation is not about knowing where we go when we die, but also about the possibility of kingdom living here and now, about being fundamentally changed in the depths of our being so that the will of God can be done in our lives on earth as it is in heaven.

I love Ruth Haley Barton's words and this book is a little gem. I read it as part of a Spiritual Formation course I've been undertaking and this was a core text in the 'Community Transformation' unit.

Using the story of the road to Emmaus when the two disciples meet Jesus after his resurrection but do not recognise him until Jesus allows them to see, Barton provides a wonderful perspective on the importance of community in one's spiritual formation. We simply can't do it on our own as God has mad
Shane Moore
Oct 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
A disappointingly unchallenging and shallow reexamination of community. The author seems to have been both very privileged and while she presents her own journey from a meritless inherited view to a better one, her final destination wasn't inspiring or challenging to me. This book might help people who have no sense of Christian community develop something resembling it, but it doesn't begin to resemble to ideal model of community that was modeled by Christ.
Aaron Case
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid read. Not my favorite book from Ruth Haley Barton, but some nice thoughts. Her books typically make me desire the presence of God, and I have read them as a type of devotional. This book is very different from that. There are some great thoughts however on what transformational community should look like.
Katie M.  Wood
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Read this book for community group through church—really enjoyed it!
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Any book by Ruth Haley Barton is rich! I like the focus in this book on transformation toward Christlikeness that can occur in our lives within a community context. A balanced Scriptural approach.
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Amazing book. This is what community should be in the church. There are excellent exercises in here to engage in to help develop a prayer life. There is a chapter on women and men that is definitely a conversation starter. One of the greatest things in here is the section on stability. Barton covers how there is a definite power in staying at the church. The grass is obviously not always greener, as people are the same everywhere you go. Real growth happens when you stick it through the tough ti ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
I highlighted the mess out of this one. Great work on fostering true community in the body of Christ. This work is intentionally narrow in its' focus; no discussion of conflict resolution or addressing sin, etc. The focus is on taking intentional and healthy steps towards a level of intimacy that sets a community up well to do those other things. I appreciated the balance of conceptual discussion and pragmatic how-to's. There were a few things I disagreed with, but nothing connected to Barton's ...more
Steve Jaeger
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Hands down, one of the best spiritual formation (or transformation) books I've ever read. Each chapter made me grateful for the ways God has already allowed me to experience the truths it described and long for more. This may very well shape the way that I cast vision for our church's small group ministry; it has already cast a vision for my own life. I give this book the *highest* recommendation.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An examination of the spiritual life together structured around the Emmaus road encounter in Luke 24. It is not an ecclesiology, but a little guidebook for groups interested in formation together. It focuses on listening, shared desire, hospitality, suffering, and discernment, ending with mission. The chapters are short but the questions included (for individual or group) are penetrating and expect spiritual transformation as part of Christian's walk together.
Austin Spence
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
More sentiments to add on how to live according to Christ in us within a community. Similar to her book on disciplines, I just wonder why it needs to be out here? The title is pretty close to "Life Together" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer after all... I received more insight in this book than the other, but still it weaves in and out of Bonhoeffer's book which I would point people to that instead.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it liked it
An accessible overview of some practices and understandings that can help Christians to experience spiritual transformation in the context of committed, authentic small groups. While I don't fully buy into all of the spiritual formation lingo or practices ("spiritual direction," lectio divina), and the book's Emmaus Road framework felt forced to me, there's plenty of good wisdom in here.
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one I'm going to have to return to with a group. Hopefully sooner than later. Life Together in Christ focuses on the essence of what transforming life together can be - centered on Christ. Throughout the book, Ruth provides practical practices to use within a group to reflect on community as she uses Luke 24:15-35 as the narrative scaffolding bringing readers along the road to Emmaus.
Brook Maturo
I've consistently appreciation Barton's thoughtful and practical approach to spiritual disciplines. This book is refreshingly insightful in envisioning spiritual community as a journey together and offering themes to engage yourself and others.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really like Ruth Hayley-Barton's writing, theology and authenticity. this is another excellent resource for ministry leaders and anyone wanting to develop.
Mary Juno
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding and perceptive portrayal of group spiritual formation- inspiring as Ruth Haley Barton so often is.
Liz Carr
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Barton's thoughtful book led to great discussion among our Spiritual Growth group. Lots of great questions for digging deeper into our own practices.
Keith Uffman
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Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is founding president/CEO of the Transforming Center, a ministry dedicated to strengthening the souls of pastors and Christian leaders, and the congregations and organizations they serve. For over twenty years, she has ministered to the soul care needs of pastors and leaders based upon her conviction that the best thing we bring to leadersh ...more

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“spiritual transformation is central to the message of the gospel and therefore central to the mission of the church.” 0 likes
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