Vive la Résistance!

Symbol of France... and the Cistercians

My latest column has been published on Patheos: A Contemplative Revolution. It’s building off of a comment I made at the Wild Goose Festival: that contemplation is like the French Resistance during World War II. That, in turn, is an homage to the French origins on the Cistercian order: but it also speaks to the challenge of living as a contemplative in a not-very-quiet world. Of course, the problems of our world go far deeper than just the decibel level, and so  this article is a bit more political than I usually get.

In the spirit of “everything belongs,” I am convinced that contemplation is a gift for all people, regardless of where our convictions place us on the political (or theological) continuum. This is why I am normally so reticent to address contentious issues in this blog. Hopefully, the political statements I’ve made in this most recent column are sufficiently steeped in a contemplative approach that folks on either side of the aisle might find them inspiring (and challenging).

• • •

My friends, I have every good intention of blogging on a daily or near-daily basis, but lately, as you can see, “it ain’t happening.” This is for two reasons: first, I’m busy — this month, for example, I am reviewing the page proofs for Answering the Contemplative Call, leading two retreats at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and have continuing education classes coming up at both Columbia Theological Seminary and Emory University. So plenty to keep me busy. August is already booked for a large editing job I’ve taken on, and in the fall more teaching and retreats are coming along. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get a proposal for my next book completed. Having a full work schedule is a blessing, but something’s gotta give. Two years ago, it would have been my prayer life that suffered. By the grace of God, I am much more disciplined in that area now (although nowhere near where I want to be). So these days, it’s the blog that’s taking it on the chin.

But there’s another reason why I’m not putting much energy into this blog, and that has to do with re-thinking the entire mission and shape of That’s all I’ll say for now, since the re-thinking is still in process. But what used to be called “the Website of Unknowing” (and lately has just carried my own name) might get a fairly radical make-over in the months to come. I’ll post more as my thoughts coalesce (and my schedule permits). So… forgive my infrequent new posts, but stay tuned.

Five Things Christian Contemplatives can learn from Buddhists
Do You Need a Spiritual Teacher?
Catholic Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: What's the Difference?
Emptiness and Non-Attachment
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.