Book Review: Wilderness Time

Book Review: Wilderness Time

By: Emilie Griffin

Publisher: Harper One ISBN: 9780060633615

Wilderness Time: A Guide for Spiritual Retreat

I have been greatly blessed through the years by the resources produced by RENOVARE and Wilderness Time, also produced by RENOVARE, continues that string of blessings. Emilie Griffin is the author of this guide for spiritual retreat and has put together a very readable and practical guide for the retreat experience. As down-to-earth as Griffin is with practicality in her writing, she also writes with sensitivity and awareness to the heart and spirit of the retreat experience. I read this book as a person with experience both leading and participating in personal and corporate retreats. I found Wilderness Time a satisfying resource for the beginning retreatant as well as full of well-grounded reminders for the seasoned retreatant.

The author follows a thematic approach to the retreat experience and segments her instruction into three classic styles of retreat: retreating inwardly, retreating outwardly, and retreating corporately. Each of these styles is detailed with specific examples of how the retreat might be pursued and/or directed. For instance, the inward retreat might focus on the disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study while the corporate retreat might include disciplines better practiced in group (eg., worship, confession, guidance, and celebration).

After the brief explanation of various styles of retreat, Griffin shares pointers for designing the retreat and follows this chapter with three suggested templates for a one-day retreat, the three-day retreat, and a seven day retreat. These are all great suggestions and can be helpful for the retreat planner in organizing their own retreat; I’m fairly certain I will be using these guides.

The completion of this Guide for Spiritual Retreat includes a chapter of “encouragements,” inspirational reminders that might be helpful in removing some of the weight of responsibility of the retreat from the leader and participants… after all, God, the Holy Spirit, is truly the leader and guide for our retreat. Also included in these final chapters is a collection of texts for reflection and a recommended reading list. Overall, I found this little guide to be a hearty and handy resource for the spiritual retreat experience and another trusted resource from the RENOVARE Group.

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