Seven Books I Hope to Read in 2014

Mystagogy

Are you looking for a book or two to read, on the topics of contemplation or mysticism?I thought I'd offer a twist on the typical blog post where books get reviewed. Here is a list of seven books I hope to read, ideally sometime this year. Some of these books are brand new, others a few years old, others older still. They all touch on contemplative prayer, the Christian mystery, and/or interspirituality, in some form or fashion. A disclaimer: copies of three of these seven books were s … [Read more...]

Keeping Spirituality Grounded

One of the pitfalls of contemplative practice is that we can easily get stuck in our heads. Combing through the Bible or other books for lectio divina, investing time to daily prayer and meditation, and nurturing our faith through study or devotional reading — these are all fine pursuits, but, especially when combined with the kind of white collar work so common in western society, they can result in a spirituality that is abstract, overly mental, and divorced from the messy realities of li … [Read more...]

Mirabai Starr: Giving Julian of Norwich a Lucid Voice

The Showings of Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich's Showings shines with luminous mystical wisdom. If there is one mystic I wish everyone would read, it is Julian. But of course, the question is, "which edition should I read?" Thankfully, Mirabai Starr's lovely and engaging new translation of this medieval masterpiece makes it more accessible than ever.Now, let me put in a bit of a disclaimer here. I'm not a purist, but I understand where purists come from and I can anticipate an objection that some would have to this … [Read more...]

The Kenosis of Clutter

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True confession time: I'm a clutter bug. I always have been, with books, CDs, and other forms of media being my worst offenses when it comes to acquiring stuff that I never use or under-use. Recently I got library privileges at my local seminary, which has helped some, but I still have the addiction."Hi, my name is Carl, and I'm a bookaholic." Everyone in unison now: "Hi, Carl!"What's fascinating about all the books strewn (yes, no other verb will do) all about my house is that they … [Read more...]

Where to buy my books…

My friends, please forgive me for such a blatantly commercial post. File this one under "Yes, authors have to make a living, too."This morning someone asked me on Twitter, "Where can I buy your books?" And I realized, marketing genius that I am, that I didn't have one centralized "where to buy" page. So this post seeks to rectify that.Here, in one handy location, are links for each of my three most recent books — whether you want ebook versions (available in a variety of formats), pa … [Read more...]

The Evelyn Underhill Rosary

I've just finished reading The Letters of Evelyn Underhill (which were published in 1943 and edited by Charles Williams). It's such a wonderful book; I think anyone who is a spiritual director (or who sees a spiritual director), spiritual companion, or soul friend, would find much to treasure in this collection. Although the collection includes its share of love letters to her husband, "wish you were here" descriptions of her many holidays in Europe, and fan mail to authors she admired (such as … [Read more...]

“Does anyone read Thomas Merton any more?”

Yesterday I received a review copy of a beautiful new book: The Selected Essays of Thomas Merton, edited by Patrick F. O'Connell. This newly published anthology from Orbis Books includes thirty-three essays on a wide range of topics. I am confident that anyone who loves Merton, poetry, or contemplation will find much to savor here. Merely glancing at the table of contents is enough to make this reader practically salivate: with topics ranging from St. John of the Cross to Gandhi, from Boris … [Read more...]


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