Christian mysticism and other mystical traditions

A reader named Guido posted the following comment on the Christian Mysticism page of this blog: Does it not occur to us that all "mysticism" is not the same? I came back today from hearing a conference on Christian/catholic mysticism. It spoke of the dark night of the soul and its place in the path of union with God. However, in making her points, the speaker used Buddist quotes. Does this not seem problematic given that the aims of Christianity and Buddhism are not the same. In the former the … [Read more...]

Four Dimensions of Christian Spirituality for Our Time

About a month ago I wrote this: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how my spiritual identity is shaped by the contemplative tradition (as exemplified by the Lay-Cistercian community where I am in formation), my Celtic heritage (of which I have written several books and which continues to inform much of my self-understanding as a Christian), my love for mysticism (primarily Christian mysticism, but extending into all the wisdom streams of the world) and the emergent conversation ( … [Read more...]

The Protestant Mystics

Here are the details of my forthcoming class:Mystics of the Protestant, Reformed and Evangelical Traditions Six Tuesday Evenings, April 6 through May 11, 2010 7:00 - 8:30 PM First Christian Church of Atlanta 4532 LaVista Road Tucker, GA 30084 Ours is an age of Spiritual renewal, and many Christians are sensing a call to a deeper life of devotion and conscious contact with God. Traditionally, the spiritual disciplines — and resulting experience — associated with such a hunger for the presence of … [Read more...]

Zealous Love

Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice Edited by Mike and Danae Yankoski Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009 Review by Carl McColmanHuman trafficking. Refugees. Hunger. Unclean water. Education. Poverty. HIV/AIDS. The environment. The areas in life where injustice or social inequality threaten both individual lives and the common good are, alas, all too numerous. The Christian life mandates that we care for those in need (Matthew 25:31-45; Luke 10:25-37). But it is far too easy to … [Read more...]

Unconditional Confidence

 Unconditional Confidence:Instructions for Meeting Any Experience With Trust and CourageBy Pema ChödrönBoulder: Sounds True, 2009Review by Carl McColmanHere is a wonderful audio book filled with gentle wisdom for transforming all of life's experiences into occasions for spiritual growth. If you (like me) sometimes feel like you relate to life more from a position of fear or anxiety than from a place of deep trust and confidence, then this teaching program just might i … [Read more...]

Protestant Mystics and Catholic Mystics

I've begun work on a lesson plan for a course on "the Protestant Mystics" that I will be offering at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Atlanta this spring (details as to date and time, etc. still have to be worked out, but as soon as I know the particulars I'll post them here). For my research, I'm using an old, out of print anthology edited by Anne Fremantle, The Protestant Mystics. The book features a wonderful introduction by W. H. Auden, which I've quoted from on this blog … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob. A woman might spend twenty years nursing lepers without having any notice taken of her, but let her once exhibit the stigmata or live for long periods on nothing but the Host and water, and in no time the crowd will be clamoring for her beatification. — W. H. Auden, " … [Read more...]