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The Power of Solitude: Discovering Your True Self in a World of Nonsense and Noise [Paperback]

Annemarie S. Kidder
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 April 2007
In the hustle and bustle of modern life the word solitude" may provoke a sigh of relief or the anxiety of loneliness. Dr. Kidder has found that a significant dimension of our spiritual lives is most deeply encountered in solitude. Married, single, or recently divorced -- all of us can find opportunities for solitude that offer a unique opportunity for personal growth and encounters with God. Themes include: romantic allure as a substitute for spirituality; the loner syndrome; cultural conditioning; coupling, co-habitation, and community; fear of loneliness; overachieving; the search for intimacy; the search for sexual fulfillment; Biblical roots; Jesus, the solitary person; Mary and the Annunciation; Mary Magdalene in the Gospels, the Gospel of Thomas, and the DaVinci Code; Augustine, Luther, and Calvin; evangelicalism; prayer, song, drama; spiritual direction; meditation; tending to the body; vows and covenants of temporary/long-term abstinence; and coping with opposition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Company (1 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824524446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824524449
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,241,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

"An amazing book born out of rich experience, deep insight, and strong Christian commitment."
Ursula King, author of Christian Mystics and professor of theology and religious studies, University of Bristol, England

About the Author

Annemarie S. Kidder is an ordained Presbyterian minister. She holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology and is author of several books, including translations of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 25 April 2010
Thought it would be a review of solitude and meditative life, but it went off on a rather narrow tangent.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life changing 6 Dec 2009
By Emily Dragoumi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book in two days. It opened up new ways of looking at my life, leading me to a deeper awakening of what it means to have a true Christian experience. Her insights on stability and chastity, plus her introduction of such disciplines as going to church, having communion, took a whole new meaning for me. Usually these subjects are not touched on some books on the disciplines.
what I also loved about this book was its lack of judgment yet slow and gentle leading to the truths hidden behind our fast-paced religious routines. Backed up by plenty of historical research on the topic of solitude as a necessary step to hearing God's voice , she brings the reader face to face with his/her inner need to experience this life, this practice, without making it sound easy or pre-packaged.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Offers Antitode to the World's Craziness 1 Jun 2007
By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur - Published on Amazon.com
Rev. Annemarie S. Kidder, who holds a Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, delves into the importance of solitude in "The Power of Solitude: Discovering Your True Self in a World of Nonsense and Noise." Solitude isn't highly valued in our society. As Eugene H. Peterson writes in the "Foreward," "We thrive on numbers and noise." Yet more and more people, perhaps because of all the noise, are rediscovering its treasure.

Jesus offers us the example of solitude. "Physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted by the crowds that pursued him wherever he went. Jesus regularly sought out a time and place apart. In communion with God in solitude from his demanding everyday life, he refreshed his body and spirit so he could continue his work with those seekers of healing and hope who crowded around him." Embracing solitude allows us to "connect with God" as well. Even in marriage, the most intimate of human relationships, we are called to have that space apart from the other and to respect the other's solitude as well.

Kidder discusses our longing for connection. At the core of that longing is our desire to be reunited with God. In this world, however, we often try to fill that longing with replacements that never quite measure up. While not devaluing marriage, she does offer a criticism of romantic love. "Romantic love and its accompanying illusions draw us away from our center, from the soul's availability to God, from connecting with God in the here and now in a joyous and playful way." She does make quite the case for celibacy for spiritual reasons.

Kidder then moves into a discussion of solitude as a Christian lifestyle, beginning with the desert fathers and mothers and then the move into monastic communities. For those of us outside of religious communities, the season of Lent can provide an opportunity to embrace some of that lifestyle. "By eating less, doing less, and doing with less, they were brought face-to-face with the powers and demons that owned them, the habits that controlled them, and the possessions and attachments that had taken precedence over the place of God in Christ."

Yet, despite her emphasis on solitude, Kidder also acknowledges our need to be part of the larger Christian community. Through communal worship, for example, we are placed in "the presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It takes a visit onsite to experience the messiness of human vehicles acting as divine messengers and unpredictable, yet irreversibly appointed, members of Christ's body." In addition, we are called to practice the works of mercy for our fellow humans, a call which of necessity brings us into community with others.

"The Power of Solitude" is an interesting, readable work. It offers an antidote to the craziness of our world, and encourages us to reclaim this important aspect of our being.
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