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...]

Building Contemplative Community Online: An Interview with Jeff Genung

A common complaint I hear from contemplatives — especially people new to contemplative practice — is a sense of isolation, of not having a contemplative community. "The leaders in my church just don't seem to resonate with me," one budding contemplative recently told me. "I feel like they are disinterested in following this journey that I am on." Contemplatives, even when actively engaged in their neighborhood church or faith community, often find that they don't know where to turn to meet others … [Read more...]

How to Cultivate Your “Contemplative Ecosystem”

Recently I had a wonderful conversation with Kevin Johnson, who contributes to the Inner Room blog here at Patheos. Kevin shares my deep conviction that contemplative practice forms an essential aspect of mature Christian discipleship.Among other things, we talked about how contemplative practice needs a supportive "ecosystem" so that meaningful attentiveness to God's deep silence can truly occur.So what is a contemplative ecosystem? Well, like any other ecosystem: it's a habitat, an e … [Read more...]