Sometimes When I Sit in Silence…

Chateau d'Amboise

Contemplative prayer — the prayer of sitting in silence, waiting in faith and trust on God — needs to be a daily practice. There are a number of reasons for this, but today I'd like to look at something I experience in my own prayer. I have to eat a little bit of humble pie to write this, because I'm admitting how poor I am at praying. But the truth is the truth. I need to pray in silence every day because, well, most days my silent prayer is not all that silent. Futhermore (and this is actually … [Read more...]

Deep Listening

The other day when several folks gathered at a church in Atlanta to participate in the Shalem Institute's 40th Anniversary "Circle the World in Prayer" vigil, one participant talked about a wonderful teaching she once received from Jerry May, who was a senior fellow at Shalem and the author of such classic books as Will & Spirit and Addiction & Grace. My friend shared an idea that May spoke of, called "deep listening." As we enter into silence, we consciously choose to let go of the … [Read more...]

Shalem Vigil Now Underway (Please Find Time For Silence Today)

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Last month I wrote about how important the Shalem Institute has been in my ongoing contemplative journey. I mentioned that this year is Shalem's 40th anniversary, and that October 13-15 Shalem would be hosting a 40-hour contemplative prayer vigil.The vigil began last night at 7 PM eastern standard time. It runs all day today and concludes tomorrow at 11 AM eastern standard time.So I hope if you haven't already done so, you will take time to enter into the mystery of silence today or … [Read more...]

Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Conclusion)

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This is the final part of a series on “Why Contemplation is Revolutionary.” If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.We've made our way through the quotations from Archbishop Rowan Williams and community theologian Kenneth Leech. We've looked at contemplation as a means for transformation. In the silence of "being still and knowing God," contemplation hones our awareness of the chaos within us (which fosters humility), but also of th … [Read more...]

Sharing in the Passion of Christ (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Eight)

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This is part of a series on “Why Contemplation is Revolutionary.” If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.When we struggle with contemplative practice — facing our own inner chaos, turmoil, and darkness — we participate in the passion of Christ, which is a deeply revolutionary matter.Here's what Kenneth Leech has to say: The contemplative shares in the passion of Christ which is both an identification with the pain of the world … [Read more...]

Chaos, Crisis, and the Pursuit of the Vision of God (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Seven)

This is part of a series on "Why Contemplation is Revolutionary." If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.The other day, I wrote this about contemplation:It’s really just practice in a new way of seeing. ”Simply seeing things in a new light — this is what contemplation is,” remarked Brian D. McLaren in his book A Generous Orthodoxy. He’s right. Then there’s Richard Rohr, who describes contemplation as “learning to see as the … [Read more...]

Exploring the “Inner Wasteland” (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Six)

This is part of a series on "Why Contemplation is Revolutionary." If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.Yesterday we looked at a quote about contemplation from Anglican theologian Kenneth Leech. Following his assertion that "contemplation has a context," we looked at how the many social, political, and environmental concerns of our time form the milieu in which a life of silent prayer must occur. Unlike some critics of … [Read more...]


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