The Mystic Way of Evangelism

...there are other, deeper indicators of a loss of vitality in the American church. The accommodation of the church to the consumerism, competitiveness, and individualism of postmodern culture is pervasive, from the opulent lifestyle of prosperity gospel preachers to the ubiquitous "worship wars" to pseudoevangelistic "transfer growth" as churches cater to Christians who shop around for a better deal. The fruitlessness is experienced by renewal-minded pastors who are appointed to dysfunctional … [Read more...]

Body and Blood, Indeed

Yesterday was the feast of Corpus Christi — the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. To celebrate, the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Philip in Atlanta hosted a very special Eucharist indeed. This week the cities of Atlanta and Decatur are hosting the 2012 International Gathering of L'Arche — the federation of communities founded by Jean Vanier (and lovingly written about by Henri Nouwen) in which persons with intellectual disabilities and non-disabled volunteers and assistants create homes to … [Read more...]

Is God dead? Or perhaps just hiding?

Today I had an unexpected treat — theologian Thomas J. J. Altizer, renowned (some would say notorious) in the 1960s because of his association with the "Death of God" controversy, visited the monastery and stopped by the Abbey Store. Although I can't claim to be that well read in regard to his work, I do have a sense that his notion of "Christian atheism" may have many points of connection with my notion of "holy agnosis" and, of course, the apophatic tradition within Christian mysticism. A … [Read more...]

Back to the Mountain

Fran and I spent this past weekend in Sewanee, TN. "The Mountain," as it is affectionately called, is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, a college town on the Cumberland Plateau nestled in forested land filled with caves, hiking trails, waterfalls, a natural bridge, and other wonders.It's the first time we've been back since my friend Bob's funeral, back in February of 2009. I lived in Sewanee from 1988 to 1993, running the campus bookstore at the University of the South. I left … [Read more...]

Preach it, Brother Stephen!

This was on Facebook the other day (thanks to Jack G. for posting it!). … [Read more...]

Four interesting articles

I've recently read four interesting articles online.In Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me, UCC Minister Lillian Daniel takes aim at those who reject traditional religious affiliation but who retain a sense of themselves as "spiritual" beings. She sees such a position as shallow and narcissistic, and suggests that such persons find themselves more "fascinating" than ancient religions, but in truth such self-centered thinking is ultimately "bland." In response, Religious … [Read more...]

“Eleven years of Catholic education had told me nothing about Christian meditation.”

Here's an interesting article published the other day in the Utah Statesman by a fellow named Michael Sowder: Finding Home in India. The author tells the story of his spiritual journey, and it's a story I've heard again and again. Basically, it runs like this: born into a Christian family, Sowder (and countless others like him) finds himself befuddled by the sterile Christian education he received as a child. Eventually he  goes on to find meaning and insight in contemplative spirituality … [Read more...]