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...]

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

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 mysti … [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...]

Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Part One)

In yesterday's post (The Archbishop and the Community Theologian) I quoted two renowned living contemplatives — emeritus Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and author/community theologian Kenneth Leech — both speaking of the communal and social implications of contemplative prayer.Naysayers, stand aside. Contemplative prayer is not about navel-gazing or self-absorbed "spiritual experiences." Indeed, anyone who explores contemplation only out of a desire for mystical experience or per … [Read more...]

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...]

Nonduality in the Bible … and us

A reader writes: I love reading your articles but am new to the terminology. What is "non-dualism" and is it compatible with Biblical truth? Also, why did non-dualism get marginalised? Great questions, both of them, and both point back to Richard Rohr, one of the most dynamic contemplative teachers alive today. Rohr calls Jesus the first nondual religious teacher in the west, and also speaks of how nondual wisdom teachings have been lost in the west since the late middle ages (I would cut us a … [Read more...]