It’s Summertime (On the Road Again!)

Hello friends and readers of A Contemplative Faith.Just a quick note here to let you know that over the next five weeks this blog will be updated less frequently than normal. I'll be traveling some, leading a few retreats here and there, as well as taking time to finish the book I'm currently working on (on Celtic spirituality) and begin gearing up for the next project (which I will say more about, when I return to regular posting).So between now and July 16, I'll only be posting to this … [Read more...]

Seven Things I’ve Learned from the Vinyl Revival

Sometimes I'm a bit slow on the uptake.Apparently vinyl records have been making a kind of limited comeback for at least the past decade. But I've been pretty much oblivious to it, at least until I noticed that used vinyl record shops were opening (not closing) in trendy neighborhoods around Atlanta.And then one day last year I stumbled across a rack of expensive, audiophile quality vinyl records in my local Barnes & Noble, of all places!When I told a friend of mine about this, … [Read more...]

Why do Mystics Love the Church?

For a long time now, I've been fascinated by people who self-define as "spiritual but not religious" (or "spiritually independent," or "none" or some variation thereof) — in other words, people who see the Church or "institutional religion" as overly legalistic, spiritually stifling, hidebound, more concerned with enforcing morality than seeking enlightenment. I don't speak out of judgment, for at times in my life, I've been there myself.Part of what fascinates me is how many SBNR folks, de … [Read more...]

“You Wrote Books About Paganism?!?”

The late Kenneth Leech used to tell the story about giving a lecture at a seminary in America on the topic of race relations, and afterwards a seminarian seemed surprised to learn that he was the "same Kenneth Leech" who wrote books on spirituality. Apparently, the mind of this seminarian couldn't equate a social-justice Christian with a contemplative-prayer Christian.But yes, Leech-the-expert-on-racism and Leech-the-expert-on-mysticism were one and the same.I often have a similar c … [Read more...]

“They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” — And These Gifts Make It Possible

One of C.S. Lewis's last, and best, books was called The Four Loves. Drawing from four different Greek words for love, the book celebrates affection, friendship, eros, and charity and considers the moral, ethical, and spiritual dynamics at play in each form of love.As worthy as Lewis's writing might be, I think Jesus offers his own take on "four loves" that considers not the dynamic of love so much as the object of our love. Here are two Biblical passages that illustrate Jesus's four lo … [Read more...]

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, and today I want to celebrate two such persons in particular.I could have called this blog post "A Tale of Two Walters," for both of these men share that same slightly nerdy first name. Both are the subjects of recently published books: a biography of one; a memoir by the other. Each of these men died in 2012, and both were not only renowned, but controversial, for their commitment to social justice and progressive theology. Finally, both embodied a deep and … [Read more...]