Nonduality in the Bible … and us

A reader writes: I love reading your articles but am new to the terminology. What is “non-dualism” and is it compatible with Biblical truth? Also, why did non-dualism get marginalised? Great questions, both of them, and both point back to Richard Rohr, one of the most dynamic contemplative teachers alive today. Rohr calls Jesus the first nondual religious teacher in the west, and also speaks of how nondual wisdom teachings have been lost in the west since the late middle ages (I… Read more

The Nondual Writers of Footnote #45

A reader of this blog writes to me: Hi Carl.  I was reading Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now and in one of the footnotes he lists a number of “non-dualistic” writers he thinks are worthwhile.  Some of the names I know, others I’m not familiar with.  For instance: Bede Griffiths, Bruno Barnhart, Laurence Freeman, Ruth Barrows, Bernadette Roberts, Eckhart Tolle, Jean-Yves Leloup, Sebastian Painadath, Hugo Enomiya-Lasalle, and Ken Wilbur (I’ve heard of him, just haven’t read anything by him).  Who on this… Read more

The Mystic Way of Evangelism

…there are other, deeper indicators of a loss of vitality in the American church. The accommodation of the church to the consumerism, competitiveness, and individualism of postmodern culture is pervasive, from the opulent lifestyle of prosperity gospel preachers to the ubiquitous “worship wars” to pseudoevangelistic “transfer growth” as churches cater to Christians who shop around for a better deal. The fruitlessness is experienced by renewal-minded pastors who are appointed to dysfunctional congregations, where they experience abuse and contempt; by evangelistic… Read more

With Great Reverence and Above Reason

But now see what it is to adore God: it is, in the Christian faith, with great reverence and above reason, to gaze in the spirit upon God, the Eternal Power, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth and all that in them is. — John Ruysbroeck, The Seven Steps of the Ladder of Spiritual Love The Anglican contemplative Maggie Ross is well known for her advocacy of beholding as a core element of contemplative practice, as seen in the title… Read more

An Accident and its Aftermath

In the summer of 1992, I was in a rather nasty car accident. It left me with a jaw broken in several places, a few missing teeth, lacerations along one arm, and a totaled vehicle. After surgery (leaving my mouth wired shut for six weeks — no easy feat for this enthusiastic speaker) and the purchase of a shiny new Saturn sedan, I met with my spiritual director to sort out my feelings. There I was, a young man who… Read more

“Where Two or Three Are Gathered”

A sermon preached at First Christian Church of Decatur, Decatur GA, on September 4, 2011 Scripture: Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” What an amazing statement for our Lord to make. He did not say, “Wherever a properly licensed minister of the Gospel shall be, I am there, ” or “Wherever an accredited Bible scholar shall teach, I am there” or anything like that. He promised his presence to Christians — to all Christians!… Read more

“Accept all things… silently and with a tranquil mind…”

Then you should readily and trustfully commit yourself and all that concerns you to the unfailing and most sure Providence of God, in silence and peace. He Himself will fight for you, and will grant you a liberty and consolation better, nobler, and sweeter than would be possible if you gave yourself up day and night to your fancies, to vain and wandering thoughts, which hold captive the mind, as they toss it  hither and thither, wearying soul and body,… Read more

“He Climbed a Tree to See Him”

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. (Luke 19:4) When I was a boy I loved to climb trees. We had two pine trees in our back yard, and one of them I could only climb up maybe five feet or so, but in the other, larger one I could get at least ten or twelve feet off the ground, which was pretty high for a ten… Read more

Intercessory Contemplation

This thought came to me yesterday. We Christians understand spirituality and mysticism in communal ways: we are knit into the Body of Christ, our mandate is to love one another, we are to “be Christ” for each other, and so forth. For this reason, intercessory prayer — praying on behalf of others — is an important part of Christian spirituality. Indeed, in Catholicism it is customary to make offerings to the church to have masses said for the intentions of… Read more

On Learning a Musical Instrument as a Metaphor for Contemplative Practice

I’m a beginner with the bass guitar. I bought an inexpensive Ibanez bass the January before last and took about four months of lessons, but then stopped as I got more involved in writing my book on Christian mysticism. Now, over a year later, the book is on my editor’s desk and I’ve resumed working with the bass. Thanks to a rather lucrative freelancing job I had earlier this year, I’ve upgraded my gear and am now learning with a… Read more

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