October 1 and 2: Christian Mysticism Weekend in Atlanta

We are putting together a “Christian Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality Weekend Event” to take place Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2, 2010 at First Christian Church of Atlanta, 4532 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA 30084. Here’s what the schedule looks like:

  • Friday, October 1, 7 – 9 PM: “What is Christian Mysticism, and Why Should I Care?”
    In John 16:12, Jesus says to his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Perhaps Jesus was referring to the long tradition of men and women throughout the Christian centuries who have experienced transformation and meaning through a profound experiential relationship with God in Christ. Such persons are known as “mystics” and their teaching, “mysticism.” But can such ancient spirituality still be relevant to Christians in the third millennium? In this talk, Carl will trace the underlying stream of mysticism in the Christian tradition, and then reflect on how this wisdom of the ages can strengthen our faith — and transform our lives — today.
  • Saturday, October 2: 9:30 AM-4:00 PM: “Introduction to Contemplative Spirituality”
    Scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Central to the teachings of the Christian mystics is the spiritual practice known as contemplative prayer, or offering time to God in silence and in inner stillness. Unlike many forms of meditation, which are based on self-awareness, Christian contemplation emphasizes relationship — fostering a more intimate relationship with God. Therefore, contemplation is anchored in prayer, and is indeed a form of prayer — mystics considered it the highest form of prayer, which is ultimately a gift from God. This day-long event will begin with a morning talk by Carl on contemplation (what it is, and how to practice contemplative prayer), including a response/dialogue with a guest panel. The afternoon session will include time for group interaction and shared contemplative practice. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and to bring a Bible and notebook or journal, and a simple bag lunch.

Suggested donation for the Friday evening presentation will by $15.00; for
the Saturday event will be $40.00, or participate in both for $50.00. Please
bring a simple bag lunch on Saturday (beverages will be provided).

We don’t have registration details worked out yet (I’ll post an announcement when we do). For now, if you want to be on a list to be notified when registration opens, just send me a note via my contact page. And please — mark your calendars, and be there on October 1 and 2!

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  • http://brazenbird.wordpress.com brazenbird

    Carl, I’m attending the Portland version. I’m quite excited. A question just occurred to me and I don’t know exactly how to phrase it without telling a little bit of my story. To keep it brief: for a few reasons (one being paralyzing fear about End Times) I haven’t been reading the Bible in the last few years. I was taught to read and interpret in a very unhealthy, fearful way. I had to disconnect myself from it for a while but I’d like very much to reintroduce myself to the Bible and begin reading with new eyes and my new heart. Do you think this weekend will be a help toward that? I wonder how much reference to scripture there will be or if literary references might be more from mystics past and present.

    Thank you Carl.

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

    This is a great question, about reading the Bible. I’ve responded to it in this morning’s blog post: The Bible Beyond Fear. As for the weekend in Portland, my focus will be primarily on the mystics and on contemplative prayer rather than on lectio divina or scripture study, but I imagine those topics will come up at some point.


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