Benedict of Nursia

Today is the feast day of Benedict of Nursia in both the Catholic and Anglican liturgies. Benedict who lived in the late fifth and early sixth centuries (i.e. 1500 years ago) is regarded as a father of western monasticism. While we know very little about his life, we do know that he was educated in Rome, abandoned urban life to live as a hermit in a cave some 40 miles or so from Rome (at that time, quite a distance). Eventuallly a community grew up around the hermit, and so he organized these … [Read more...]

Adolescent and Adult Faith

The following quotation comes from a newspaper clipping that I got from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from a friend... the best I could find out is that the article originally appeared in the Catholic Times of Montreal. The author, Daniel Cere, is writing about a recent appearance by Franciscan author/speaker Richard Rohr at a local Jesuit spirituality center."In his presentation, Rohr paints a sharp contrast between two forms or stages of faith.  One form he … [Read more...]

Do It Every Day

Perhaps the single most important piece of advice I ever got about writing came to me by accident. It was 10 or 11 years ago, and I was working as the tradebook manager for the Georgia State University Bookstore in downtown Atlanta. The tradebook department in a college bookstore is basically the general book (as opposed to textbook) section. My duties included selling books in the back of the room whenever an author or other dignitary spoke on campus. This particular night, the popular novelist … [Read more...]

Ineffability

One of the salient characteristics of true mysticism is its ineffability. In other words, part of what puts the "mystic" into "mysticism" is the impossibility to truly capture the mystical experience, mystical perception, or mystical truth, within the impoverished limitations of language. Mysticism is, by definition, trans-lingual, just as it also trans-rational and trans-logical.Why, then, have mystics down the ages sought to capture their experience in writing? From the desert fathers and … [Read more...]

Contemplation and Its Discontents

I continue to be fascinated by how some Christians are simply opposed to contemplative prayer and Christian meditation. From what little I've read — mostly tracts and rants online — it always boils down to the same two arguments: Meditation is "unscriptural" Meditation is rooted in "eastern mysticism" or other "pagan" practices As for meditation or contemplative prayer being unscriptural, well, so is driving a car or flying an airplane, but it seems … [Read more...]

Back in the Game

Within the last two weeks I've submitted three book proposals to my agent. These include proposals to revise and republish my first two books, Spirituality and The Aspiring Mystic, both of which are out of print although for now still fairly easily available to find online. Those books originally came out in 1997 and 2000, respectively, and oh what a different the better part of a decade can make! We'd love to find a new home for both books, where they could be published in revised/expanded … [Read more...]


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