Entering the Year of Mercy: Are You Willing to Take the “Rahner Challenge”?

Karl Rahner in 1974. (Copyright Info goes here)

So today is the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.It's also the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis. Which is a wonderful way to honor Vatican II — a year devoted not only to seeking God's mercy, but to reflecting on how the Body of Christ can be mercy, can bring mercy to a world that seems increasingly fraught by violence, fear, and injustice.What does it mean to be God's mercy, to bring's God mercy to a world where mass sho … [Read more...]

Talking about “Befriending Silence”

Earlier today I joined Deborah Arca, one of the editors of Patheos, for a Skype conversation about my new book, Befriending Silence. We talked about Cistercian spirituality and how it can be a blessings for everyone, even monks and nuns.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0vImOYGirU … [Read more...]

Bruno Barnhart (1931-2015)

The Future of Wisdom

Bruno Barnhart died on November 28, the birthday of William Blake.I never met the man (if you'd like to read a remembrance from someone who knew him well, see Cynthia Bourgeault's eulogy), but I've been familiar with his work for many years now, and am sad to learn of his passing.I am currently working on a book profiling the 100 most significant contemplative writers past and present — and I've written a profile for Barnhart, which may be in the final book. But now with his passing, it s … [Read more...]

Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It’s Because We All Do)

Flannery O'Connor, who understood the relationship between sanctity and struggle (photo credit: CMacauley, CC BY-SA 3.0)

An editor at Patheos recently pointed me to the following trailer, and suggested I blog some thoughts in response to it.Well, aside from being very interested in seeing the film, it makes me ponder how so many people we think of as "saints" or "mystics" or particularly "holy" often have interior lives shaped by profound struggle.We need look no further than Thomas Merton. Granted, he's nowhere near canonization (and I doubt he ever will be — he's more like Meister Eckhart than John of … [Read more...]

Why Trappists Make Great Spiritual Guides

The Silent Dialogue

If you want access to a living Catholic contemplative tradition, look to the Trappists.In the past few weeks I've read three books that demonstrate the wisdom of Trappist monks. Two of the books are new, and one is an overlooked gem from twenty years ago. One of the titles is written by a monk; the others by laypersons who share how the friendship and guidance of monks helped them in periods of transition in their own spiritual journey.First up is Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship … [Read more...]

Five Approaches to InterSpirituality

The Buddha and Christ (image credit: beachlane/shutterstock)

Brother Wayne Teasdale, author of The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions and A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life, coined the new word "interspirituality." Sort of a mash-up between "interfaith dialogue" and "spirituality," interspirituality refers to the possibility or practice of integrating spiritual exercises and practices from more than one faith tradition into one's own expression of spirituality.Obviously this covers a wide … [Read more...]

Five Things I learned from Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle in 2009. Photo by Courtney Perr, used i accordance with Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

September 2015 has turned out to be a rough month, at least for awesome Anglican writers. First Kenneth Leech passed away on the 12th, and just ten days later Phyllis Tickle followed him into the silence of eternity.That's two authors I considered role models, both of whom warmly supported my own work. In fact, my forthcoming book Befriending Silence will feature an endorsement from Phyllis — the third time she offered praise for something I had written.I feel like one of the elves in M … [Read more...]


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