This book caused me to examine my spiritual life in ways many other books haven't... The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice by Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling. Those coming from a traditional Protestant background will have a few struggles with the concepts and terminology, but I'm convinced it's worth the effort.
Part 1 - Knowing God Intimately - Where Christian Mysticism Can Take Us: What Mystical Christianity Is All About; Christian Mysticism and Personal Evangelism; Christian Mysticism and Working for Justice
Part 2 - Fueling Intimacy - The Mystical Path: Awaking to Mysticism and a Holistic Gospel (Even If You're Not a Monk); Cultivating Holy Habits; Moving from Self-Awareness to God-Awareness - The Prayer of Examen; Becoming God's Friend - Lectio Divina; Deepening Our Intimacy with God - Centering Prayer; Committing to a Holistic Gospel
Part 3 - Taking Intimacy with God into the World: Avoiding Two Temptations; Connecting Intimacy and Action
Postscript; Notes; The Authors; Index
As I come from a more traditional evangelical Christian experience, seeing a word like "mysticism" raises a whole bunch of red flags. I found it extremely difficult to lay aside my preconceived notions and connotations of that word in order to give the book a fair chance. But once I did that (numerous times, I might add), then the message started to seep through. Using the practices and the lives of well-known saints throughout the ages, Campolo and Darling show how building a life of spiritual practices (intimacy with God) needs to lead to a life of social justice (action). It's not enough to live on a mountaintop trying to obtain a spiritual "high". That relationship with God should lead to following Jesus' example of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for widows and orphans. It's that "action" part that's missing in far too many Christian experiences today.
The partnership of these two authors is what makes the concept work for the book. Darling comes from more of a Catholic background, with the formalized practices often associated with that group. Campolo is the Protestant side, where the need for ceremony and ritual is often ignored or condemned. But the blending of these two mindsets leads you to realize that saints of old, like Francis of Assisi, didn't just spend all their time chanting in a cathedral. They fought for social justice and took action in their communities. This is so different than the typical "what have you done for *me* lately, God" mindset found all too frequently in today's world. I only wish there were different words to use than "mysticism" and "mystical". I'm afraid that many might be too quick to condemn the material as "new age" without understanding the deeper meaning and results.
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to deepen their Christian experience and become more action-driven in today's society.