Christian Mystics to Celebrate in 2015

"Teresa of Ávila" (1827) by François Gérard (1770-1837). Public domain.

2015 is something of a red-letter year for Christian contemplatives.This is the 100th anniversary of the birth year of Thomas Merton, who was born on January 31, 1915. Merton lived until 1968, and in his short life wrote over fifty books, published both before and after his accidental death at age 53. Merton entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani in 1941, and became world-renowned after his spiritual memoir, The Seven Storey Mountain, became a surprise bestseller in 1948. Merton is a … [Read more...]

Do Contemplatives Need Bible Software?

Exegetical Guide for Psalm 65:1, which shows how the word "silence" is ignored in the NRSV translation. The Hebrew original reads "Silence is praise to you, O God," but  the anemic NRSV translation renders the verse is "Praise is due to you, O God."

Is the Bible a textbook, or a legal code, or a love letter?I suppose one could argue that it is all three. But it seems that, for much of Christian history, our theologians have tended to lock themselves away in an ivory tower, reading the Bible like a textbook, while church authorities (and their secular counterparts) have too often seen the book as merely a juridical text, meant to enforce morality and good order. Lost in the shuffle is the Bible as an amazing love story, full of poetry … [Read more...]

Timothy Keller Gets Contemplation Wrong

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Timothy Keller, the popular New York City Presbyterian pastor and author of several bestselling books, is out and about promoting his newest work, called Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. I haven't read the book, and normally I would applaud a new book by a prominent author encouraging people to pray. But after reading an interview with Keller on MSNBC this morning, I'm nervous about this title. Based on the interview, at least, it seems that Keller has no idea what he's talking … [Read more...]

Talking about Silence: An Interview with Patrick Shen

In Pursuit of Silence

Indie filmmaker Patrick Shen has made several award-winning documentaries, including Flight From Death (2003), a look at the human longing for immortality, and La Source (2012), an inspiring tale of an ordinary custodian's efforts to provide his hometown in Haiti with clean drinking water. But it's his current project that caught my eye: In Pursuit of Silence, a meditative film about the importance of silence for human beings — and the increasing noise that is drowning out silence in postmodern l … [Read more...]

Rhiannon’s Vigil and Funeral

Partners in Crime

On Thursday, September 11, a vigil for Rhiannon Gladelle Wilburn took place at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, GA. The family received guests from 7 to 8 PM and at 8 PM a brief prayer vigil was presided over by Father John Molyneaux, CMF. People told stories — mostly humorous — and Rhiannon's dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington sang two of Rhiannon's favorite songs: her own "Let Me Win" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" (with lyrics specially rewritten for "our" Rhiannon).Here's a vi … [Read more...]

Completing the Hospice Journey

Mid 1990s. Rhiannon asks her dad to be her escort at homecoming. He has no idea how this picture will make him sob 20 years later.

Back in May, I wrote a post about my daughter's decision to enter in-home hospice care. Rhiannon struggled with health issues, related to polycistic kidney disease, her entire life, and spent 26 of her 29 years in a wheelchair. I first blogged about her challenges back in 2010. Today's post is the inevitable conclusion to her story. Rhiannon passed away on August 30. Here's a link to her obituary. Maybe the easiest way to write this post is to begin with the message we sent out to the 175 fa … [Read more...]

Mainline Neo-Monasticism?

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Elaine A. Heath is a true friend of contemplation.She recognizes the vital importance of bringing contemplative prayer and mystical spirituality not only into the local church, but into the hearts of the clergy and other ministerial leaders in the church. As a seminary professor (she teaches Christian Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas) and Methodist elder, she understands the crisis that mainline churches are facing in our time; while as a student of the contemplative tr … [Read more...]


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