A Modest Proposal (and a question for folks who live near Decatur, Georgia)

If you have known me for a while, you know that for almost two years I was involved in a "Christian Mysticism Meetup" group that met every Wednesday night at a church in the Atlanta suburbs. At first we had lots of energy: 20 - 25 people attending each night; but eventually the group withered down to maybe 5 people or so showing up at a time. As I began to have conflicts on the night when the group met (Wednesdays) I let the group go, and that was the end of it. But I told the last few loyal … [Read more...]

How the Understanding of Christian Contemplation has Changed: Carole Crumley interviews Tilden Edwards and Richard Rohr

Here is a must-watch video — Carole Crumley of the Shalem Institute interviews two of the "elder statesmen" of the contemporary contemplative movement: Tilden Edwards (the founder of Shalem) and Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. The video was produced as part of the Shalem's observance of its 40th anniversary, and the topic these three consider is how the understanding of Christian contemplation has changed over the past four decades. Enjoy... … [Read more...]

Audiobook News and a Contemplative Feather

First of all, forgive me for putting on my marketing hat: I'm excited to announce that my book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, has now been released as an unabridged Audible.com audiobook! If you are an Audible.com subscriber, I hope you'll consider adding this book to your collection. If you aren't an Audible subscriber, you can purchase the audio version of the book for about the same price as the paperback. Audible audiobooks are downloaded, thus saving the cost of CDs and packaging. … [Read more...]

The Evelyn Underhill Rosary

I've just finished reading The Letters of Evelyn Underhill (which were published in 1943 and edited by Charles Williams). It's such a wonderful book; I think anyone who is a spiritual director (or who sees a spiritual director), spiritual companion, or soul friend, would find much to treasure in this collection. Although the collection includes its share of love letters to her husband, "wish you were here" descriptions of her many holidays in Europe, and fan mail to authors she admired (such as … [Read more...]

“Does anyone read Thomas Merton any more?”

Yesterday I received a review copy of a beautiful new book: The Selected Essays of Thomas Merton, edited by Patrick F. O'Connell. This newly published anthology from Orbis Books includes thirty-three essays on a wide range of topics. I am confident that anyone who loves Merton, poetry, or contemplation will find much to savor here. Merely glancing at the table of contents is enough to make this reader practically salivate: with topics ranging from St. John of the Cross to Gandhi, from Boris … [Read more...]

Three Video Clips: Speaking of Mysticism in Portland, OR

Here are three brief excerpts from a talk I gave in Portland, OR, in October 2010 on the topic of Christian mysticism. They were filmed and produced by Cathy Zheutlin of Holy Rascals — a media company that produces videos and webinars for the spiritually adventurous. In the first one, I tell an amusing story of one of my monastic mentors, Father Anthony, who gave me some grief about the difficulty of defining the word "mysticism"...So in this next video, I offer less of a "definition" of … [Read more...]

Two New Reference Books For You (or Your Library)

Mysticism — whether Christian mysticism, or comparative (world) mysticism — is a vast subject, one to which you could easily devote your life without any fear of ever mastering (or exhausting) the literature associated with it. Recently two books have crossed my desk that should prove to be invaluable for anyone seeking to study mysticism on a scholarly level. But first, a word of warning: these books are priced for library or textbook sales, and so they are not cheap! If you're on a budget, you … [Read more...]


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