Five Things I learned from Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle in 2009. Photo by Courtney Perr, used i accordance with Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

September 2015 has turned out to be a rough month, at least for awesome Anglican writers. First Kenneth Leech passed away on the 12th, and just ten days later Phyllis Tickle followed him into the silence of eternity.That's two authors I considered role models, both of whom warmly supported my own work. In fact, my forthcoming book Befriending Silence will feature an endorsement from Phyllis — the third time she offered praise for something I had written.I feel like one of the elves in M … [Read more...]

Atlas and Aurora

Over the past weekend, stunned and saddened like everyone else over the violence in Colorado, I took time to watch the movie Of Gods and Men for the third time. This was in preparation for an upcoming retreat.Watching that movie, about the monks of Our Lady of the Atlas Mountains, who were martyred during the Algerian Civil War in 1996, gave me a new and, I hope, contemplative perspective on both the shootings and how ordinary people might respond to them. The monks of Atlas lived Christlike … [Read more...]

The Atheists’ Gift to Christmas

An interesting column: a Rabbi reflects on atheists who are unhappy with public nativity scenes. Thoughtful and compassionate in its tone, and well worth reading: The Atheists' Gift to Christmas.  … [Read more...]

The Spirituality of the Budget Crisis

David Brooks over at the New York Times wrote an interesting opinion piece on the current budget crisis and how it relates to our fear of death and our faith in science and medical technology to delay death. Here's a few provocative snippets: This fiscal crisis is about many things, but one of them is our inability to face death — our willingness to spend our nation into bankruptcy to extend life for a few more sickly months. ... As Daniel Callahan and Sherwin B. Nuland point out in an essay in T … [Read more...]

How Do We Treat Our Guests?

I received an email this morning quoting the following letter, written by Fatma Al-Lawati, PhD., a distinguished scholar who is also a Muslim woman. She is a Fulbright scholar at the University of Virginia, and is committed to Muslim/Christian interfaith work. She recently experienced just how willing some Christians are to discriminate against Muslims. I think every contemplative Christian needs to read this as a grim reminder of just how easy it is for Christians to mistreat practitioners of … [Read more...]

Itinerary for Northern Ireland Retreat

Here is a tentative outline for the Contemplative Spirituality and Social Activism Retreat to take place in Northern Ireland this August. While some of the details are still subject to change, this will give you an idea of just how special this week is going to be. Remember, there are just a few openings left for this week — please let me or my colleague Gareth Higgins know if you're interested in attending.Tuesday, August 17th: Arrivals in the morning and afternoon Programme begins with d … [Read more...]

A Photo Essay of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit

If you would like to see some photographs from the monastery where I work, including some rare shots from inside the cloister, follow this link:Georgia Monastery Strives to Be Self-SufficientThe occasion for this little photo essay was the groundbreaking at the Monastery on Tuesday, for a new "monastic heritage center" (which will include a new bookstore!). … [Read more...]