Take This Bread

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion The Spiritual Memoir of a Twenty-First-Century Christian By Sara Miles New York: Ballantine Books, 2007 Review by Carl McColmanIf, like me, you love stories like Chocolat or Babette's Feast because of their eucharistic overtones, then you will simply adore Take This Bread, which is quite likely the most explicitly joyous eucharistic conversion story I've ever read. I'm struggling to avoid all the obvious gustatory puns: it's a feast, you'll eat it up, and … [Read more...]

Redeeming Gnosis

Can gnosis be redeemed?Today I began reading Richard Smoley's Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism. Right away he sets up a tension that I don't buy into: a conflict between the gnostics — those who have direct mystical experience — and the religionists, those who are the custodians of doctrine and dogma and therefore tend to be suspicious of gnosis. Oh, I suppose it's a fair assessment of a real tension between those at the center of religious power, and those whose "power" (i. … [Read more...]

Still Small Voice

Last night I had dinner with my friend Cliff who is coordinating an adult education program at his church. Currently they're studying theophanies (encounters with God) in the Bible. Cliff wants to follow this up with a series on the mystics; hence his picking my brain over chips and salsa at a noisy Mexican restaurant.We talked about the mystics who have had their own particular theophanies: Augustine in the garden; Julian of Norwich during her life-threatening illness; Thomas Merton on the … [Read more...]


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