Reviving an old page from my first blog

Reading books about the spiritual life can be a substitute for actually devoting time each day to prayer. So if you have to choose between prayer and reading, make prayer your priority. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to nurture an ongoing prayer practice is to devote some time each day to reading nurturing and inspiring books — including books by and about the great Christian mystics.In 2007 (hard to believe it's been almost a decade), I set up my first Wordpress blog (Wordpress is one o … [Read more...]

Dear Pope Francis… (or as they say in Ireland, A Phápa Proinsias, a chara…)

Did you know that when Pope Francis was a little boy, he wanted to be a butcher when he grew up?Or that, as a young man, his favorite dance was the tango?These are just two of many delightful surprises found in Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World, newly published by Loyola Press. Children from Jesuit schools around the world were invited to write a brief letter to the pope, asking him one question, and drawing a picture to accompany their … [Read more...]

Books and a Film: All About Silence

I would love to attend the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin next month — if for no other reason than to be at the North American premiere of the movie In Pursuit of Silence. Here's the latest trailer for this "meditative film about our relationship with sound and the impact of noise on our lives."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDTxstUyrM8So if you live in or near Austin, or are attending SXSW, go see this movie (they haven't announced time and location yet, so keep an eye on the … [Read more...]

Advance Praise for “Befriending Silence”

What do Brian McLaren, Fr. Daniel Horan OFM, Fr. Michael Casey OCSO, Br. Patrick Hart OCSO, and Phyllis Tickle have in common? They've all endorsed Befriending Silence.Brian McLaren praises Befriending Silence as "a great gift to all who hunger for meaning, mystery, peace, hope, and God."Fr. Daniel Horan calls the book "an accessible and enlightening introduction to the beauty of Cistercian spirituality."Fr. Michael Casey notes that "it will be found useful and stimulating by anyone wh … [Read more...]

Sister Joan Chittister and the Way of Paradox

A mature spiritual life embraces paradox. And paradox lies at the heart of Sister Joan Chittister's newest book, Between the Dark and the Daylight. The subtitle of the book is "Embracing the Contradictions of Life" but I think paradox would be a better word here. As physicist Niels Bohr put it, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.” It is profound truths which Chittister explores in this book, and for th … [Read more...]

Seven Books I Hope to Read in 2014

Are you looking for a book or two to read, on the topics of contemplation or mysticism?I thought I'd offer a twist on the typical blog post where books get reviewed. Here is a list of seven books I hope to read, ideally sometime this year. Some of these books are brand new, others a few years old, others older still. They all touch on contemplative prayer, the Christian mystery, and/or interspirituality, in some form or fashion. A disclaimer: copies of three of these seven books were s … [Read more...]

Instead of singing for your supper, how about blogging for books?

This post is aimed at people who blog, or have a podcast, or in some other way like to express themselves online. If you are not such a person, feel free to skip this, unless you'd like a peek into how book marketing works...My irrepressible friend Mike Morrell is a publicist who promotes progressive Christian books. One of the ways he does this is by seeking bloggers who would be willing to read his client's books and write reviews on their blogs. He did this kind of thing for a number of y … [Read more...]