A debut Christian guide focuses on finding God through meditation.
Archer opens her detailed account of unconventional spiritual practices with the confession that for decades she felt both inside and outside of traditional religious observances. She attended church services but tended to sense that some key element was missing. This feeling consigned her to a “borderland” between standard services and something else. At first vague to her, she eventually discovered a more personal, revelatory experience of faith. She came to embrace a practice called spiritual direction, both in groups and one-on-one, an informal method of locating a more personal connection to the Christian God through meditation. (For the most part, the book targets Christian readers.) Archer relates her growing familiarity with the meditation group she joined as the members learned about one another and explored the inner, personal sides of their faith. The author combines a layering of standard Jungian ideas of the collective unconscious with a reading of classic and contemporary Christian texts. She mixes this conceptual grounding with strong elements of her personal story, most poignantly the extent to which her intimate spiritual meditation helped her recover from the death of her newborn daughter. Her account chronicles a series of meetings with the divine (including the Virgin Mary) as well as encounters with many kinds of people who express varying degrees of skepticism about her unusual spiritual practices, from condescension to thinly veiled suggestions of heresy regarding her “God-incidents.” It’s intriguing to watch the author starting to master self-control (“God often needs our silence in order to speak to us,” she relates at one point). But as in all such books about direct supernatural revelations, readers’ confidence in the author will correspond directly to their own willingness to believe in one-on-one divine conversations. Certainly Archer’s convictions come across as sincere and unaffected throughout; her narrative voice is consistently direct and engaging.
A personally involving journey to the world of spiritually directed prayer meditation and individual encounters with God.