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Last Sunday we began a new series titled “Sacred Rhythms,” inspired by Ruth Haley Barton’s book of the same title and my own personal experience with the spiritual formation program at the Transforming Center.  This week we will share brief reflections from Ruth and the Transforming Center on the biblical and theological foundations of spiritual transformation.  These reflections are available at  For a deeper look into this topic, I recommend the Transforming Center’s short study guide titled, “Spiritual Transformation:  A Biblical and Theological Perspective.”  I hope you enjoy these reflections! – Alex

Spiritual transformation takes place incrementally over time with others in the context of disciplines and practices that open us to God. In general, while we are still on this earth, our transformation will happen by degrees (II Corinthians 3:18) and we need each other in order to grow. (I Corinthians 12)

Paul’s teaching on spiritual transformation in Romans 12 and in the other epistles is always given in the context of community—the body of Christ with its many members. We are given to one another in the body of Christ for mutual edification and to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Our spiritual gifts are given, not primarily for our own benefit or self-aggrandizement, but so we can be agents of grace for one another, building up the Body of which we are only one part. As Robert Mulholland writes, “We can no more be conformed to the image of Christ outside corporate spirituality than a coal can continue to burn outside of the fire.” (Invitation to a Journey, p.145)

While our spiritual practices certainly include private disciplines (solitude and silence, prayer and meditation, scripture, self-examination and confession, retreat, spiritual direction), to be effective they must also include disciplines in community (corporate prayer and worship, teaching, communion, Sabbath, hospitality, caring for those in need, spiritual friendship and direction), and disciplines of engagement with the world (evangelism, caring for the poor, compassion, justice, etc.)