An Undivided Life

An Undivided Life: Seeking Wholeness in Ourselves, Our Work & Our World By Parker J. Palmer (interviewed by Tami Simon) Boulder: Sounds True, 2009 Review by Carl McColmanParker Palmer is a wise and gentle teacher, and his books — such as The Active Life and The Promise of Paradox — are hailed as important works of contemporary spirituality. Ostensibly a Quaker yet clearly transcending any kind of sectarian narrowness, Palmer brings the deep contemplative ethos of the Society of Friends to h … [Read more...]

Mysticism in San Antonio

I've just now learned about a program that looks really wonderful: A consortium of organizations in San Antonio, TX, including the local chapter of Contemplative Outreach, the Oblate School of Theology, and a local Ecumenical Center, have joined forces to sponsor a three year program called Christian Mysticism: History, Wisdom and Insights. The program consists of a monthly series of Saturday morning sessions that include a presentation on a major mystic or school of mysticism from throughout … [Read more...]

Beloved Dust

Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life By Robert Davis Hughes, III New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanI’ve quoted from this wonderful book more than once in this blog. Now the time has come to write a more in-depth review of it. First, a disclaimer: I’ve known Bob Hughes since the late 1980s, when I managed the campus bookstore at Sewanee: The University of the South where Bob teaches theology. I learned a lot from Bob back then, and … [Read more...]

Does Julian of Norwich ride MARTA?

My friend Jason Herman saw this recently at the Martin Luther King Memorial MARTA Station (MARTA is Atlanta's public public transportation authority). In his words: "I found Julian of Norwich at the King Memorial MARTA station! Well, I guess they didn't have the phrase 'OK' back then, but still... 'All manner of things will be OK.'"I find it rather amusing that this unlikely paraphrase of Julian's most famous quotation would adorn a fire extinguisher — after all, Julian's optimistic theology … [Read more...]

Carolina Liar: Telling the Truth

Since I'm such a public radio junkie, I'm not too dialed in to popular music these days. But the other night I was in Publix and the song from the following video was playing over the store's sound system and I had to stop and listen. Unless I'm really missing something, I'd have to say that this is one of the most spiritually honest songs I've heard in a while: kind of a rejoinder to U2's "I still haven't found what I'm looking for," which — hard as it is to believe — is now a generation old. Sp … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

A monastery can never be merely an escape from the world. Its very purpose is to enable us to face the problems of the world at their deepest level, that is to say, in relation to God and eternal life. Everything in the monastic life down to the deepest level has to be viewed from this angle. — Bede Griffiths, The Golden String … [Read more...]

The Word as Icon

During my tenure as an Episcopalian, some of my friends and I used to refer dismissively to Biblical fundamentalists as Bibliolators — those who make the Bible into an idol, worshiping it (and their particular way of understanding its words) rather than the Word of whom it testifies.Nowadays I'm inclined to see such name-calling as not particularly useful (and not evidential of much in the way of Christian charity), but I continue to have some concerns about the human capacity to turn anything … [Read more...]