Inter-Religious Spirituality and the Contemplative Renaissance

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, Interfaith Friendly Contemplative

My most recent column for Patheos is based on a talk I gave at Columbia Theological Seminary on April 15, 2012, as part of the Contemplative Interfaith Conference co-sponsored by CTS and the Interfaith Community Initiatives. My talk focused on the contemplative dimension of Christianity, but as part of the talk I discussed the role of interfaith dialogue in supporting the rebirth of Christian contemplation in the modern and postmodern era.

Thomas Merton, Tilden Edwards, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Keating — these are some of the important Christian contemplatives whose spirituality and ministry has been, at least in part, shaped by their interfaith exploration.

To read the column, follow this link: Inter-Religious Spirituality and the Contemplative Renaissance

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • TB Pasquale @

    The poetry of that phrase is beautiful and powerful: a contemplative renaissance. I love it & believe in the potential for such a thing as well as the value of the groundwork in contemporary Christianity laid by contemplative titans such as Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Bede Griffiths and Tilden Edwards (a contemplative I had not known prior to your post).

    Thank you for being a voice for this important spiritual work and discussing the value of inter-religious dialogue which only strengthens and lengthens the potency of the contemplative lineage of Christianity.

    I will definitely be posting links to this post and your other column this week!

  • Al Jordan

    I know you cannot list all the names of those involved or influenced by interfaith exploration but Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault and Bro. Wayne Teasdale also come to mind. Excellent column by the way. I appreciate all you do to advance mystical awareness, contemplative practice and the greater work of God.

  • Carl McColman

    Thanks, Al. And you’re right on both counts: Cynthia Bourgeault and Wayne Teasdale both are significant voices in the interspiritual conversation.

  • Sr. Sheila Patenaude, FMM

    Once again you have done such a great service for our American Church in helping Catholics and other Christians be more open to the grace and riches of the East and other world religions. In a time where there is so much dichotomy and division between right and left, liberal and conservative, we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture that leads to the unity Christ so much desired and expressed at the Last Supper!