Astral Weeks, Then and Now

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is regarded by many critics as one of the greatest albums of the rock era. It's an unlikely choice: the album has more of a jazz than rock feel; it was not much of a commercial success when released in 1968; and its lyrics are dense, allusive, and at times explicitly mystical — qualities that critics would harshly attack in the work of other musicians like Jon Anderson. So what is it that makes this album so special? Well, let's just say that somehow, against all o … [Read more...]

War is Not Nice!

WHAT'S YOUR ALBUM COVER? 1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More” or click The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click … [Read more...]

Remember you are dust, destined for Divinity

I wish everyone who reads these words a blessed Ash Wednesday and a Holy Lent.Monday I was speaking with one of the brothers at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and he noted that the Vatican does not require any particular words to be said during the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday. Most priests say something along the lines of "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return."  But this particular monk says... Remember you are dust, destined for Divinity. This reminds me of the … [Read more...]

A few neat Anglican links…

Thanks to my friend Donnie for pointing me to these:The Byzantine Anglo-Catholic — a blog about "the interplay between Benedictine spirituality, high-church Anglicanism, and the hesychast tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy."Yes, Young People Do Like Traditional Liturgy by Luiz Coelho — an interesting essay by a young Latino Anglican on the importance of preserving liturgical tradition.Here's what Donnie had to say when he pointed me to these links: I have often felt that the most radical thi … [Read more...]

More on the Future of Mysticism

Mike Morrell calls my recent post on the future of mysticism "the most important spirituality post I’ve encountered thus far in 2009." Wow, I'm flattered. Meanwhile, in the comments section of Mike's post, a fellow named Jason Aldridge has engaged in a spirited discussion with Mike on the value of interreligious spirituality. It's well worth taking a few minutes to read. Check out the conversation here: Carl McColman’s 7 Theses on the Future of Christian Spirituality … [Read more...]

Elegy for a lost friend

My friend Bob Jones passed away suddenly yesterday. He was two months shy of his 55th birthday.Bob and I worked together when I ran the college bookstore at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, from 1988 to 1993. Bob had gone to Sewanee to study theology, but instead of graduating and going off somewhere to become an Episcopal priest, he fell in love with "the mountain" as it is called, and settled down there. When I met him, he was a freelance writer and editor; his wife, a world-class … [Read more...]

Lost Generation? I don’t think so!

This is quite cool. Thanks to my friend Alessa for pointing me to it.Be sure to watch/listen to the entire video; it's less than two minutes long. … [Read more...]