My First Article in Contemplative Journal, or, How to Be a Faithful Christian While Embracing Interspirituality

Contemplative Journal is the loveliest and most promising new website to come along in quite some time. Unlike some of the more prominent inter-religious websites, this start-up is dedicated to the contemplative dimension of the spiritual life, with a decidedly interspiritual presence. Early contributors included a variety of well-known and intriguing voices in the contemplative world: Judith Simmer-Brown, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Mirabai Starr, Thomas Keating, and many others. According to its … [Read more...]

Some Lovely Music for You

I've loved the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams every since I was in high school. Yesterday I found these lovely recordings of my three favorites works of Vaughan Williams on Youtube. Hope you enjoy them.First up, Ralph Vaughan Williams' sublime Mass in G Minor, sung by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, directed by Stephen Darlington.Next up is the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davies, performing Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme By Thomas … [Read more...]

Our Words, Our Breath, Our Bodies, Our Spirit

Once again, Alison Leigh Lilly wows me with the elegance, beauty and insight of her writing. The fact that her most recent blog post begins with something I tweeted yesterday is not only a delight in itself for me, but her reflections in that post are so rich and relevant to concerns that I am wrestling with in my own current writing that it seems, well, serendipitous.The piece is called Why I Cannot Tell You About My Gods. And yes, "Gods" is meant to be plural, for Alison is a Pagan, her … [Read more...]

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...]

Speaking of Silence (On Internet Radio)

One of the great paradoxes of being a writer (and speaker) on contemplative spirituality is that I essentially use words to invite people into a wordless place. Ah, sweet irony.And  while that is usually a matter of writing, I love to speak about silence as well. Today (September 18, 2013) I am going to be on Rabbi Rami Shapiro's How to be a Holy Rascal internet radio show. Hope you can tune in. The show will be broadcast live at 11 AM Central time (Noon Eastern time, 10 AM Mountain time, 9 … [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...]

Contemplative Prayer in Decatur

Wow. I feel so privileged to have been part of the first contemplative gathering at First Christian Church of Decatur, Georgia.It was a very simple thing, actually. There were over 20 of us (I counted 21, but someone else said 22, maybe I forgot to count myself) gathered together in one of the education rooms at the church. We sat in a circle and after introducing ourselves, we shared a communal exercise based on the ancient monastic practice of lectio divina (sacred reading). … [Read more...]


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