Celtic Spirituality Online Course Begins October 2

Friends, sign up now for a new e-course starting on October 2, sponsored by Spirituality and Practice. Shrouded in legend and imbued with romance, the Celtic lands such as Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have produced a surprising number of saints and spiritual guides, both ancient and contemporary. From the mythic stories of goddesses and heroes, to the holistic mysticism of the earliest Celtic Christians, to the wisdom of modern visionaries like John O’Donohue, Celtic spirituality has ancient roots yet remains… Read more

After the Storm

Humility it what reminds us just how tiny and puny we are when faced with the awesome power of a hurricane — or even a tropical storm. Read more

Waiting for the Storm

“There’s a storm coming, and it’s not a storm of our making.” — Neil Gaiman, American Gods This morning, when I woke up, I checked the news. Hurricane Irma is pounding Key West. But the projected path of the storm has changed overnight. Now it looks it will head farther west, and when it lumbers inland and becomes a tropical storm, it probably will pass to the west of Atlanta. It’s bad news for my brother and sister-in-law, who live… Read more

What is the Relationship Between Contemplation and Privilege?

We live in a moment in history when, finally, our global human family seems to be starting to truly wrestle with the problems associated with systemic oppression — including racism, sexism, classism, and other ways in which we create social distinctions, or limit people’s freedom or opportunity, merely on the basis of their identity. There’s still much work to be done, but compared to where we were 50 or 100 years ago, it seems like progress is being made, however slowly. This,… Read more

Imagine Thomas Merton Teaching You a Class on Christian Mysticism…

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to the lecture notes of a class on Christian mysticism taught by one of the twentieth century’s greatest mystics? With the publication of Thomas Merton’s A Course in Christian Mysticism, that’s now possible. When Merton, the renowned twentieth-century monk and Catholic writer, was the Master of Scholastics at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, he taught students on a variety of fascinating topics, including Benedictine and Cistercian spirituality, Celtic spirituality, interreligious dialogue, and the… Read more

The Church Says One Thing. My Conscience Disagrees. So What Do I Do?

For anyone who is trying to discern whether or not to become a Catholic, the question must begin with faith and with God. Read more

How to Practice Mindfulness without Narcissism

On Friday the Washington Post took a close look at the Mindfulness movement — and how at least in some sectors it has been undermined by good ol’ American narcissism. The article is well worth reading: Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren’t so selfish. It is written by Thomas Joiner, a psychologist who authored a book on this topic, called Mindlessness: The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism. A little over four years ago, I was invited to speak… Read more

What to Do When Contemplative Prayer Leads to Sadness

A reader, who has asked to remain anonymous, writes: I have been practicing centering prayer for about 3 years. It took me a while, but I stuck with it and it has helped me immensely. Besides becoming more mindful, I also feel more centered and calm since beginning this practice. In the beginning it did bring out a lot of negative emotions to the surface that have since disappeared. I know 3 years is not much; I’m still just a… Read more

What I learned from the Solar Eclipse

I don’t remember much about the spring of 1970, when I was in the third grade. I remember the girl with whom I was rivals for smartest kid in the class (she now is a successful artist in California). I don’t think I had any rivals for nerdiest kid, but I escaped being bullied because somehow I managed to be friends with the biggest boy in the class (I have no idea whatever happened to him). I always got picked… Read more


As someone whose ministry is focused on Christian contemplation, I do not like to write about politics. There are several reasons for this. One is simple humility: my skill as a writer and speaker is inspirational rather than confrontational, so my gut sense is to leave political writing to those who do it better than I could. But just as important is my deeply-held conviction that Christian contemplation is for everyone, across the political spectrum, and that I would be… Read more

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