The Contemplative Story of Dear Prudence

"Dear Prudence" by Prudence Bruns

I love the Beatles, and like many Beatles fans, I think The White Album is one of their great masterpieces. And one of the best songs on The White Album is, without question, "Dear Prudence."But did you know that the song was influenced by the music of the Gypsies, Transcendental Meditation, and the daughter (and sister) of Hollywood celebrities?"Dear Prudence" was written in early 1968, when the Beatles were in India, while John and George were studying Transcendental Meditation with th … [Read more...]

Creative Conversation Begins with Contemplative Compassion

Listening with compassion is a path to authentic relationship. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A friend of mine, who is the executive director of a progressive Christian ministry, told me the story of meeting an activist who identifies as spiritual but not religious. At first, this person wasn't even interested in talking to my friend.He saw a Christian as someone hopelessly irrelevant, part of the problem rather than the solution.Fortunately, my progressive Christian friend was able to communicate one essential detail. "I'm not here to convert you or to argue with you. I'm here … [Read more...]

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

God is Love.

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...]

Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr

One of my favorite contemporary authors is Mirabai Starr, who I first encountered through her vivid and accessible translations of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich. Mirabai has emerged in the last few years as one of the leading voices in interspirituality. Mirabai has a free web event coming up next week called Reclaiming the Power of Ecstasy as a Feminine Mystic (to register for it, click here). When she asked me if I would help to get the word out, I thought the best w … [Read more...]

Do You Need a Spiritual Teacher?

St. Joseph's Abbey in Massachusetts. Monasteries are often excellent places to find guidance in Christian contemplation.

A reader of my blog wrote the following message to me: I have been meditating for about a year now. I have been working with a meditation teacher who has been helpful, but, even though we are of the same Christian faith, he leans too far into the Yogi tradition for my comfort level. My experience with Centering Prayer has been very positive and what I have read and heard about the Christian Contemplative Path resonates with me. To really deepen my practice, do I need a spiritual teacher? If so, … [Read more...]

What Has Not Yet Been Revealed


One of my favorite verses in the Bible is I John 3:2. Here is a lectio divina meditation I recently wrote about this verse. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. I think there is a tendency to pay attention to the second half of the verse. "We shall be like God... we shall see God as God is." It's a powerful promise and a lovely summation of what has been cal … [Read more...]

Life is a Pilgrimage — So Embrace the Journey

The Soul of a Pilgrim

Christine Valters Painter is one of the most creative and visionary of spiritual directors with a meaningful online presence. Her website, Abbey of the Arts, functions as a sort of "cyber-cloister," a place of quiet presence and spiritual nurture where participants are invited to encounter God not only through the words and practices of contemplative spirituality, but also — and perhaps more significantly — through creative expression.Paintner understands what Evelyn Underhill declared a cen … [Read more...]