What is the relationship between Christian prayer and meditation?

A reader named Bill wrote to me recently and asked this question: How does a church pray as a group? Is there a place in the church for intercession and supplication? Should a congregation pray as a group? There is very little interest in prayer or teaching on prayer in the church I attend, although great interest in meditation and contemplation. This appears to be a contradiction in terms but sadly it is not. I’m just confused. Should not the Church be a “house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13)? Shou … [Read more...]

Compline — Prayer for the Closing of the Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QolGKCEaCtoThis video presents a service of Compline, sung live by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, England, under the direction of Graham Ross, recorded in Clare College Chapel.It includes an Introit by the sixteenth century composer, Robert White (1538-1574), Christe qui Lux es et Dies. It also includes an anthem by the nineteenth century composer, Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), Abendlied.Compline is the final liturgical prayer office of the day … [Read more...]

How to be a Contemplative in a “Toxic” Community (Part Two)

This is a continuation of a post I began yesterday — click here to read part one.I'm responding to a reader who wanted some guidance about how to be a contemplative Christian while participating in a church that is "toxic" and "cold." Yesterday I addressed that particular question head on. Today I want to address a few additional questions that arise in response to this same issue. Here goes...What does it mean to be "active" in a church? Is Sunday morning worship attendance e … [Read more...]

How to be a Contemplative in a “Toxic” Community (Part One)

A reader wrote the following message to me recently: Hi Carl. I'm a contemplative in a Roman Catholic Community. It's rather toxic and cold. I don't go to dinners or other community building events. I go to Sunday Mass regularly. Does this fulfill my community efforts at not being a "Lone Ranger" and individualist mystic? Regular readers of this blog will understand where the writer of this message is coming from. In posts like Is it possible to be a “Do It Yourself” Christian Mystic? or Do Con … [Read more...]

Richard Rohr on the Spirituality of Unknowing (Video)

Here's a treat for all you Richard Rohr fans (and if you're not a Rohr fan, perhaps this is a good introduction to him and his ideas).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnTC4NNIACkThis video was recorded at the Science and Nonduality Conference — which is a secular/interfaith gathering of folks exploring (in the words of their website) "a new relationship to spirituality, free from religious dogma, based on timeless wisdom traditions, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in direct … [Read more...]

A Contemplative Conversation (Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqTq5r8ITaM&t=3sIs God hidden? How do we see (or behold) the presence of God? What is the place of interfaith dialogue in religious or spiritual searching? What is the value of looking at a mystic who lived 500 or 600 years ago — what message does such a figure have for our time? What is the best way to respond to the contentious or divisive issues of our time?These are just a few of the questions that we touched on in the above video, when I sat down with … [Read more...]

Is it possible to “fail” at contemplative prayer?

Anyone who has ever trained with weights knows that form is important. If you lift heavy weights without proper form, you run the risk of a significant injury.The other day I was working with a trainer, and we were doing a fairly basic shoulder press, and he noted that my back was bowing. He mentioned it to me, and I immediately began to overcompensate. He pointed that out to me, and I said "I'm worried about my form.""Your form is going to fail," he remarked. In other words, as I … [Read more...]