Can Beauty Help Us to Be More Ecumenical?

Five hundred years ago this coming October, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on a church door in the University town of Wittenberg. He was just an academic interested in having a debate, but his unlikely act was the flashpoint in what we now call the Protestant Reformation. For centuries, bitterness, acrimony, mutual suspicion, and at times even violence enforced the line of separation between Catholic and Protestant. Within the last century, however, ecumenism — an effort to at least improve r … [Read more...]

Talking about Silence: An Interview with Patrick Shen

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...]

On Learning a Musical Instrument as a Metaphor for Contemplative Practice

I'm a beginner with the bass guitar. I bought an inexpensive Ibanez bass the January before last and took about four months of lessons, but then stopped as I got more involved in writing my book on Christian mysticism. Now, over a year later, the book is on my editor's desk and I've resumed working with the bass. Thanks to a rather lucrative freelancing job I had earlier this year, I've upgraded my gear and am now learning with a Rickenbacker bass (I am not worthy to be playing such a wonderful … [Read more...]