The Table of Contents

Okay, so here’s the Table of Contents for A Big Book of Christian Mysticism — as it currently stands. Everything, and I mean everything, about the book is subject to change: the title, the names of individual chapters, the way the book is organized, etc. But with that disclaimer in mind, I thought it would be fun to share this with you guys. Now, obviously, some of these chapter titles are more poetic than descriptive: for example, “Wood, Water & Wine” is a chapter about day to day living the contemplative life, using the Zen tale of “Chop Wood, Carry Water” and the story of the miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (changing water into wine) as its guiding metaphors. And in case anyone is wondering, the dark night of the soul is explored in that chapter (and theosis is explored in “The Heart of the Mystery”). Okay, those are all the hints I’m going to drop. Have fun!

PREFACE & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PART ONE: THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
1: THE PROBLEMS WITH MYSTICISM
2: LOVE IN A BOTTLE
3: HOW MYSTICISM BECAME CHRISTIAN
4: THE EVOLUTION OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
5: CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM AND WORLD MYSTICISM
6: WHY MYSTICISM MATTERS
7: THE MYSTICAL PARADOXES
8: CHRISTIANITY’S BEST KEPT SECRET

PART TWO: THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE
9: THE MYSTICAL BODY
10: A CONTEMPLATIVE APPROACH TO THE CHURCH
11: EMBRACING THE PATH OF HOLINESS
12: THE JOURNEY THAT ISN’T A JOURNEY
13: LECTIO DIVINA
14: THE HEAVENLY CONVERSATION
15: PRAYER BEYOND WORDS
16: WOOD, WATER AND WINE
17: THE HEART OF THE MYSTERY

APPENDIX A: THE COMMUNION OF MYSTICS
APPENDIX B: A CONTEMPLATIVE READING LIST

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • feast4thought

    I’m looking forward to it!

  • http://www.umilta.net Julia Holloway

    How do you sort out ‘mystic’ from ‘contemplative’. I prefer the latter word, as open to all, Hulian’s ‘even-Christian’, while ‘mystic’ is more elite, more Pseudo-Dionysian, hierarchial (he invented the word).
    The outline is great.
    Amor meus crucifixus est,
    Julia

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

    The mystic vs. contemplative issue is addressed in the book. Basically, I see them as differences of degree rather than kind. I have fun playing the guitar, but I’m no Segovia. Likewise, the contemplative can be lost in the joyous sense of divine presence, even without experiencing the ecstasies of a Saint Teresa. Just as I need to be inspired by Segovia rather than wasting my time comparing myself unfavorably to him, so I think that contemplatives can be inspired by the great mystics without having to see them as “elites” who have something we don’t.

    Now, the other side of this is Rahner’s idea that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all,” set alongside William McNamara’s lovely thought: “The mystic is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of mystic.” Which means that my distinction between contemplative and mystic may, in fact, be entirely artificial. After all, in God there are no elites!

  • zoecarnate

    Sweeeet Carl! I cannot wait to read… :)

  • http://thebyzantineanglocatholic.blogspot.com/ Joe Rawls

    I like the guitar metaphor; it make me feel a lot better about my own spiritual practice! Looking forward to reading the book.

  • http://gracefulyoga.blogspot.com Graceful Yoga

    I look forward to reading it!


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