Seamus Heaney reads “St. Kevin and the Blackbird”

I'm sad to learn of the death of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who has been called Ireland's most important poet since W. B. Yeats. Among the many treasures in  his body of work, I especially love "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" which we can see the poet reading in the following video. This was on the occasion of Heaney's 70th birthday and his publisher's 80th anniversary; with that in mind, his comments at the beginning of the video before reading the poem are well said, and quite important in … [Read more...]

Following the Path

I think a lot about the trend toward more and more people identifying themselves as "spiritual but not religious." I know this polarizes a lot of people — some churchgoers, even liberal ones like UCC Minister Lillian Daniel, dismiss this kind of spirituality as symptomatic of our culture of narcissism; while other folks, like Rabbi Rami Shapiro, see it as a positive sign: a sign of being (in Rabbi Rami's words) "spiritually independent." Here's another way to look at it: some folks blame the S … [Read more...]

A Gift for Lorraine

Okay, my friends, get your kleenex ready. This video tells the story of a 96-year-old man who wrote a song for his recently deceased wife (of over 70 years), and how a local recording studio helped to bring the song to life. Part of what's so cool for me personally is that we share the same anniversary (June 26), although of course they celebrated their golden anniversary three years before Fran and I got married.And be sure to download the song from iTunes (I have). … [Read more...]

Shine On You Immortal Diamond

Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr just keeps releasing wonderful books. Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self picks up the language of Cistercian authors like Thomas Merton and M. Basil Pennington, who have written about the "true self" and the "false self" as ways of understanding the spirituality of being human. These terms point to a distinction between the "false" self-protective dynamics of the various egoic masks that people wear to simply function in the world (or to bolster feeling … [Read more...]

Meditation with Liquid Mind

As a general rule, I believe that meditation or contemplative prayer are best practiced in silence — which means no TV blaring in the background, no MP3 player churning out sound, no computer or stereo making noise within earshot. Even using a so-called white noise machine is, to me, at best a necessary evil: perhaps required to mask the normal distracting sounds of children playing or whatever else might be happening in an adjacent room or apartment: but far less desirable than the pure absence … [Read more...]

Six Minutes of Gratitude

This video has been on Youtube for almost two years now, so you may already be familiar with it. But if, like me up until Sunday, you've never seen it, then give yourself the treat of watching. It's only about six minutes long, features gorgeous cinematography, a precocious little girl at the beginning who is too cute for words, a great message about gratitude and living in the present, and narration by the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast. A film by LouieSchwartzberg. Enjoy... … [Read more...]

Born in the Fire of Contemplative Prayer: Richard Peace on “Contemplative Evangelism”

In my post last Friday on Why Contemplation Matters, a reader named Brian referred me to a PDF called Listening for the Still Speaking God: Contemplative Evangelism featuring an excerpt of an article called "Evangelism and Spiritual Formation" by Richard Peace, who teaches at Fuller Seminary. I can't find the original article online, but there's plenty to chew on in the PDF. Here's a taste for you:What if prayer were the central component of evangelism? By this I mean, what if the very desire … [Read more...]


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