Silence: A User’s Guide Volume I: Process (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014)

Maggie Ross offers a provocative look at the role silence plays in spirituality and life, and considers how the history of Christianity, especially in the west, has led to the marginalization of contemplation (“the work of silence”) in the Church and therefore in society. It’s an important book, with much insight into how we betray silence with our language and our institutional structures. That said, I certainly don’t agree with all of Ross’s positions; for example, her discussion of spiritual direction—she incisively criticizes how spiritual direction can go wrong, but then dismisses the ministry altogether, failing to acknowledge how it can and does bless many people. So read it with discernment.

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