Conversatio Divina

Conversations Journal Spring 2009

Conversations 7.1: Spiritual Retreats

Volume 7:1 Spring 2009

Is a retreat on your list of things to do this year? Have you considered taking time away from the hustle for rest and renewal? If that idea is intriguing, then you’ve landed in the right place. Volume 7.1 of Conversations Journal was centered around the topic of Spiritual Retreats. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun defines our terms for us from her wonderful book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us, that should be on everyone’s bookshelf. “Retreats are specific and regular times apart for quietly listening to God and delighting in his company. Retreats remove us from the daily battle into times of refreshing, retooling, renewing, and unwinding.” The desire of the retreatant is to “make space in one’s life for God alone.”

Margaret Guenther clarifies the purpose of retreat in the opening article of this issue,

We need to be cautious in our use of the word, which is increasingly applied to almost any activity that takes us away from our usual surroundings. Marathon off-site business meetings, parish-sponsored family outings, and trips to the beach or ski slopes for the youth group are often billed as retreats. Necessary, productive, or re-creative as such events might be, they are not retreats. For me, a retreat is a prayerful going apart, removing myself for a brief time from the clutter and busyness of everyday life.”

Jesus modeled going away for the sole purpose of bodily rest and time in solitude. “A good retreat offers us two special gifts,” Guenther says, “a radically simplified environment and silence.”

The pages of this issue are filled with helpful content on the topic of Spiritual Retreats. Writers from various backgrounds give practical suggestions and personal stories to help expand our ideas of what a personal spiritual retreat can be. Read on to hear from Emilie Griffin, Larry Crabb, Cam Yates and others. We’ve created a course with Trevor Hudson’s article, “Retreat: A Time to Listen to the Groans.” The hope is this deeper dive into the content will be a way for readers to set the tone for their own retreat. Keep scrolling or find it in the classroom section of the website.

As you likely know, there is never the perfect time to take a retreat, but always the irresistible invitation to “go apart.” We hope this issue of Conversations invites you to seek out or revisit a “thin place” that you might experience the rest of God’s care for you.

See class here.