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...]

It’s Not Too Late to Select Your Lenten Reading!

In chapter 48 of his Rule for Monasteries, St. Benedict instructs monks to read a book during Lent. During the days of Lent, they should be free in the morning to read until the third hour... each one is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through.  These books are to be distributed at the beginning of Lent. What's good for monks is good for the rest of us too.So in addition to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, I humbly encourage you to find a book to … [Read more...]

Seven Essential Books on the Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

The headwaters of the Christian contemplative and mystical tradition — aside from the Bible, of course — is the wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, hermits and early monks and nuns who lived in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syrian in the third and fourth centuries.A literature of stories, parables, wisdom teachings, biographies, and even travelogues grew up around the lives and sayings of the Desert dwellers, giving us valuable insight into early Christian understandings of com … [Read more...]

A Christian Mystics Bibliography

In my books The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages, I suggest a number of books that anyone interested in learning more about Christian mysticism might enjoy.On this page I've gathered together those books (and a few audio recordings). For good measure, I've thrown in a few other important titles, and will continue to add useful books to this page as they come to my attention.I believe this list represents a comprehensive library of Chri … [Read more...]