Essential Writings from Two Important Living Catholic Authors

Orbis Books has a long-standing collection of books called the "Modern Spiritual Masters Series." With over sixty titles to date, this series anthologizes writings from key spiritual authors of the 20th and 21st centuries, ranging from Thomas Merton to Evelyn Underhill, from Dorothy Soelle to Howard Thurman. While the featured authors are mostly Christian, other significant figures appear as well, such as Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. Modern Spiritual Masters Books are excellent … [Read more...]

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...]

C. S. Lewis, Brendan the Navigator, and Evelyn Underhill

In March I was one of several presenters at a symposium on C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman sponsored by Brenau University and Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, GA. The theme of the symposium was "Love Letters to Jack, Love Letters to God." Here is the transcript of my talk, in which I weave together my love for C. S. Lewis — especially the Narnia stories — with two influences on him: Evelyn Underhill and St. Brendan the Navigator.Did "The Problem of Pets" Inspire Aslan?Our theme this we … [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...]

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...]

Talking to Christine Valters Paintner about the Wisdom of the Body

My friend and colleague Christine Valters Paintner has recently released a book called The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women. I think the question of how do we cultivate a more truly embodied spirituality — including an embodied contemplation — is very important for our time, so I think this book has the potential to be truly healing and affirming for many women.The publisher sent me an advance copy and even though I'm not a woman, I still read it and enjoyed … [Read more...]

Why Evelyn Underhill Remains Required Reading After Over 100 Years

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZXAH-wchdE A Book for All Time: Why Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism Still Matters For pretty much my entire adult life, if anyone would ask me who my favorite authors are, without hesitation I would say Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Merton. To me, the work of Evelyn Underhill represents the call for the revival of mysticism in our time, while Merton anchored the call to mysticism in the urgent political and social concerns that shape life in America over the last f … [Read more...]