Book Review: Seeking Spiritual Intimacy

“The deeper spiritual life is available to all genuine believers. It is not an ideal reserved for a handful of elite Christians,” writes Glenn E. Myers. “The Beguines epitomize the pursuit of one thing: loving Jesus with their whole heart.” With a little history and descriptive narrative, Myers introduces us to the lives of these women of the twelfth and thirteenth century. While today churches continue to struggle with the role of women, we find in their own words and the record of history, the Beguine women, leading by example how to experience a deeper spiritual life.

Myers does not try to write a mere history but attempts to engage the writings of the Beguines so as to reflect their impact on their society and the faith of Christians during the Medieval Period. The book introduces us to their general histories, the struggles with family and the acceptance of the Church to the writings and lifestyle of these women. In these pages we meet four of the leading women of this lay renewal movement.

The reader is invited at the end of each chapter to reflect on what they have read through a variety of practices. Though it has an extensive bibliography and could be considered worthy of textbook status, it is a book which connects us to themes common in our modern times such as the issue of suffering, creating community and even the issue of men’s spirituality.

As theologians, historians, writers, clergy and lay people alike, try to engage a fuller understanding of Christian spiritual formation, all would do well to consider the influence and example of the Beguines. I found Myers writing engaging and the chapters applicable to my own spiritual journey and my ministry as a pastor and spiritual director. If you are indeed seeking spiritual intimacy or simply an understanding of the Beguine movement and history, I recommend adding Myers’ work to your reading list.

Seeking Spiritual Intimacy
Journeying Deeper with Medieval Women of Faith
Glenn E. Myers. 2011. Intervarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-3551-5


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