My First Article in Contemplative Journal, or, How to Be a Faithful Christian While Embracing Interspirituality

Contemplative Journal is the loveliest and most promising new website to come along in quite some time. Unlike some of the more prominent inter-religious websites, this start-up is dedicated to the contemplative dimension of the spiritual life, with a decidedly interspiritual presence. Early contributors included a variety of well-known and intriguing voices in the contemplative world: Judith Simmer-Brown, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Mirabai Starr, Thomas Keating, and many others. According to its … [Read more...]

Contemplative Prayer in Decatur

Wow. I feel so privileged to have been part of the first contemplative gathering at First Christian Church of Decatur, Georgia.It was a very simple thing, actually. There were over 20 of us (I counted 21, but someone else said 22, maybe I forgot to count myself) gathered together in one of the education rooms at the church. We sat in a circle and after introducing ourselves, we shared a communal exercise based on the ancient monastic practice of lectio divina (sacred reading). … [Read more...]

Circle the World in Prayer… with Shalem

My journey into contemplative practice began at Shalem.Before I discovered the Shalem Institute in the spring of 1984, mysticism and contemplation were pretty much just topics I liked to read about. That's not to say these topics weren't meaningful to me, or that they did not give me a sort of intellectual spirituality that accompanied me during my college years. I'm an introvert and it's my style to read about something before I'll actually take the risk to go and meet someone who's doing … [Read more...]

After the Book Festival (and Looking Forward to a New Contemplative Prayer Gathering)

Happy Labor Day, everyone. This post is chock-full of Atlanta (really, Decatur) news. So if you live outside of Atlanta, please bear with me. Then again, what I have to say about Contemplative Prayer Groups might be of interest to you no matter where you live; even if you are a long way away from Decatur, GA, perhaps this will be an inspiration for you to start your own contemplative practice gathering.I'm still a little buzzed from the wonderful time I had Saturday at the AJC Decatur Book … [Read more...]

Following the Path

I think a lot about the trend toward more and more people identifying themselves as "spiritual but not religious." I know this polarizes a lot of people — some churchgoers, even liberal ones like UCC Minister Lillian Daniel, dismiss this kind of spirituality as symptomatic of our culture of narcissism; while other folks, like Rabbi Rami Shapiro, see it as a positive sign: a sign of being (in Rabbi Rami's words) "spiritually independent." Here's another way to look at it: some folks blame the S … [Read more...]

Born in the Fire of Contemplative Prayer: Richard Peace on “Contemplative Evangelism”

In my post last Friday on Why Contemplation Matters, a reader named Brian referred me to a PDF called Listening for the Still Speaking God: Contemplative Evangelism featuring an excerpt of an article called "Evangelism and Spiritual Formation" by Richard Peace, who teaches at Fuller Seminary. I can't find the original article online, but there's plenty to chew on in the PDF. Here's a taste for you:What if prayer were the central component of evangelism? By this I mean, what if the very desire … [Read more...]

Why Contemplation Matters

Two significant insights into the importance of contemplation crossed my desk this week. The first, Reversing the Exodus, comes from the Association of Religion Data Archives, where writer David Briggs looks at research currently being done to understand religious congregations (across faith traditions) that are successful in engaging membership and participation of young adults. Briggs compiles a list of seven characteristics common to such youth-friendly communities, and some of them ("Keep up … [Read more...]


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