Why I Love the Carmina Gadelica (Despite Its Flaws)

You are the joy of all joyous things, You are the light of the beam of the sun, You are the door of the chief of hospitality, You are the surpassing star of guidance, You are the step of the deer of the hill, You are the step of the steed of the plain, You are the grace of the swan of swimming, You are the loveliness of all lovely desires. — "The Invocation of the Graces" from the Carmina Gadelica (modernized language) I recently have acquired a copy of the latest edition of the Ca … [Read more...]

Books I Recommend (On Various Topics)

I'll admit — I love lists of books. I find browsing someone's list of recommended titles is a great way to find a new treasure. So with that in mind, here is an admittedly idiosyncratic list of books that I recommend for your consideration. Obviously I lead off with books on contemplation/mysticism, since that's the main focus of this blog. But I wander a bit off topic as the list goes on... browse on, you'll see for yourself. It's an eclectic, ecumenical, and interfaith-friendly ass … [Read more...]

A Contemplative Conversation (Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqTq5r8ITaM&t=3sIs God hidden? How do we see (or behold) the presence of God? What is the place of interfaith dialogue in religious or spiritual searching? What is the value of looking at a mystic who lived 500 or 600 years ago — what message does such a figure have for our time? What is the best way to respond to the contentious or divisive issues of our time?These are just a few of the questions that we touched on in the above video, when I sat down with … [Read more...]

Is it possible to “fail” at contemplative prayer?

Anyone who has ever trained with weights knows that form is important. If you lift heavy weights without proper form, you run the risk of a significant injury.The other day I was working with a trainer, and we were doing a fairly basic shoulder press, and he noted that my back was bowing. He mentioned it to me, and I immediately began to overcompensate. He pointed that out to me, and I said "I'm worried about my form.""Your form is going to fail," he remarked. In other words, as I … [Read more...]

Building Contemplative Community Online: An Interview with Jeff Genung

A common complaint I hear from contemplatives — especially people new to contemplative practice — is a sense of isolation, of not having a contemplative community. "The leaders in my church just don't seem to resonate with me," one budding contemplative recently told me. "I feel like they are disinterested in following this journey that I am on." Contemplatives, even when actively engaged in their neighborhood church or faith community, often find that they don't know where to turn to meet others … [Read more...]

Exploring Monastic Spirituality (Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzZEmhHdEjU&t=10sWhat is monastic spirituality? Is it just for monks and nuns? Or can it make a difference in the lives of others?This video shares with you a few insights that I have garnered from about a decade of studying with, praying alongside, and learning from a community of Trappist monks who live near my home in Georgia. The Trappists (Cistercians of the Strict Observance) live an ancient monastic life that is, in the words of their constitution, … [Read more...]

Ten Books for Learning the Basics of Christian Contemplation

A reader of this blog sent me an email recently that said in part:I have to confess I have not yet read any of your books. But I love your writing and would like to learn more about Christian spirituality. Can you recommend several of your books, and perhaps suggest the order to read them?  Anything else you'd recommend (books, online, etc) would be great too. I'm glad this reader asked for other recommendations besides just my books — but this is not the first time I've been asked "in what … [Read more...]