Are Contemplatives Privileged?

For some time now, I've noticed how gatherings of contemplatives often seem to consist largely of individuals who are well educated and/or affluent. As much as I love exploring the contemplative dimension of Christianity, I worry that only those folks who seem to enjoy a lion's share of our society's abundance appear to be pursuing the spirituality of silence. Is this just a projection of my own socio-political angst — or am I on to something here, some sort of blind spot within the c … [Read more...]

Silence Is Not a Vow

Here is my latest column from Patheos. In it I look at the role of silence in the life of Christian monastics (monks and nuns) and then reflect on what that means for those of us who feel called to the contemplative life even though we do not live in a cloister. Hope you enjoy it...Silence Is Not a Vow. … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Silence is not an absence of noise (though that sort of silence helps) but a limitless interior space. Silence is our natural state. Lack of silence erodes our humanity. ... Through intention we can teach our selves to default to silence; meditation is only a first and very minor step. — Maggie Ross, Writing the Icon of the Heart … [Read more...]

Silence: Doorway to Contemplation and Interfaith Friendship

I've just had a new article published on the website of Atlanta's Interfaith Community Institute. It's called "Silence: Doorway to Contemplation and Interfaith Friendship." In Psalm 46, God is quoted as saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” God, the Ultimate Mystery, is greater than human language, thought, or ideas. For this reason, language always seems to conceal God as much as it reveals God.While not, therefore, replacing the heritage of theological and mystical language that tes … [Read more...]

A Few Thoughts on Psalm 46:10 (Cedar Hill Blog)

Hello friends. I've recently written a post for the Cedar Hill Blog. Cedar Hill is a wonderful retreat center located in Gainesville, GA; I will be leading a day of reflection and renewal centered on contemplation and interfaith spirituality on Saturday, April 2. If you live within shouting distance (or, better yet, driving distance), I hope I'll see you there.Here's the link to the blog post: The Essential and Necessary Link Between Contemplation and Peacemaking.And here's a bit more about … [Read more...]

Silence & Writer’s Block

I have a friend who is struggling to complete a dissertation. Entire days can go by without writing a single sentence. Sitting at the computer is an exercise in fear and frustration.To say my friend has writer's block is — well, you know, just another label. But like so many labels, it has a measure of usefulness. It's interesting to read the Wikipedia entry on Writer's Block. It describes the condition not only as the inability to write, but also "as the affected writer viewing their work as i … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day (for Ali)

Believe me as one who has experience, you will find much more among the woods then ever you will among books. Woods and stones will teach you what you can never hear from any master. — Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, The Letters … [Read more...]