Concerning Sheep, Goats, and the Unconditional Love of God

I received this email today. Thought it might be worth exploring here on the blog.Hi Carl.Just listened to your two interviews and was blessed ... You said in your interview that you didn't like the, what I would call, the "us and them" attitude in evangelical circles like "I'm saved and you're not." And though I agree that we should not look down on others and be proud for we can't claim any credit for being a follower of Christ, yet does not the Bible make a distinction between the "sheep … [Read more...]

Why I don’t call myself a “Monk in the World”

A friend of mine, Christine Valters Paintner, has a wonderful ministry called Abbey of the Arts. She has written a number of books and maintains a vibrant blog and website. What I love about her work is how she integrates the experience of being a Benedictine Oblate with creative expressions such as photography.Here are two of her books I would especially recommend:The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic WisdomandWater, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian … [Read more...]

Spirituality, With or Without Religion

"I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious."It's become such a common way of self-describing spiritual identity that observers have attacked it ("Spiritual But Not Religious"? Please Stop Boring Me), have defended it (God in the Gray Areas), have tried to reduce it to an acronym ("SBNR") or even come up with cutesy abbreviations (Nones, since such persons when asked what their religious affiliation is will say "None"). This segment of our society is very diverse, covering people who may prefer to … [Read more...]

Salvation and Wellness, Holiness and Therapy

Last week when I wrote about the distinction between mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer, one reader left this comment:I would also like to hear your comments on salvation vs therapy.I feel a bit of trepidation taking this on, for the simple reason that I am not a professional counselor, therapist, psychologist, social worker — I have none of those little sets of letters like "LPC" or "MSW" that tag along after a person's name to indicate that he or she is qualified to therapize. … [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...]

Shine On You Immortal Diamond

Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr just keeps releasing wonderful books. Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self picks up the language of Cistercian authors like Thomas Merton and M. Basil Pennington, who have written about the "true self" and the "false self" as ways of understanding the spirituality of being human. These terms point to a distinction between the "false" self-protective dynamics of the various egoic masks that people wear to simply function in the world (or to bolster feeling … [Read more...]

Six Minutes of Gratitude

This video has been on Youtube for almost two years now, so you may already be familiar with it. But if, like me up until Sunday, you've never seen it, then give yourself the treat of watching. It's only about six minutes long, features gorgeous cinematography, a precocious little girl at the beginning who is too cute for words, a great message about gratitude and living in the present, and narration by the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast. A film by LouieSchwartzberg. Enjoy... … [Read more...]


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