Vinita Hampton Wright’s new book, Days of Deepening Friendship – For the Woman Who Wants Authentic Life with God, is based on the actual experiences of women and it talks in terms that are familiar to them. That having been said, I thoroughly appreciated this book and believe that it is accessible to anyone, male or female, who has an ounce of, [how shall I put it?], emotional intelligence.
“I have been a practicing Christian for 40 years,” says Vinita, “and I’ve come to the point where it’s not enough to obey the rules, it’s not enough to be nice, and it’s not even enough to be a regular churchgoer… If I can’t experience friendship with God that is rich, moving and revolutionary, then I’m just not interested.”
Despite Jesus telling us, “I no longer call you servants… but friends” [Jn15:15], I suggested to Vinita that the idea of friendship with God was something that still seems a little out of reach to many people. Her response was that, “The church and believers too often forget that Jesus liberated us with that statement. I think it is one of the most neglected statements in Scripture. If Jesus really meant that – and, of course, He did – our whole posture towards the Divine must change.”
When I pressed her on this point, she reminded me that, “We need to assume that God’s arms are forever open to us, that God is always on our side, that God remains with us no matter what. We have the capacity now, because of the Incarnation, to reciprocate, to love God in return. This has always been God’s desire since Abraham was called God’s friend.”
Special Alert: Melissa in Marketing tells me that you can order this book for the special price of $9.99 if you use marketing code 2846 when ordering at 1-800-621-1008. [I introduced the “Fab Four” of Customer Service the other day. If you decide to order the book, tell them you’re “a friend of PBCSJ” and you’ll get even more royal treatment – if that is possible!]
Vinita points out that, “St. Ignatius helps us open up to our emotional life, our physical senses, our imagination and our sense of relationship. ” She added that Ignatius,” tapped into the feminine nature of humanity long before anyone else knew what he was doing, and that is why it was such a pleasure to use Ignatian Spirituality in writing this book.”
The book is written in short chapters with various spiritual exercises at end of each one. As she points out, “As a director of writers’ retreats, I’ve discovered that people learn and grow by participating, which is why I’ve included so many exercises.” In fact, Vinita hopes that the book will provide a retreat experience for the individuals and groups who read it.