Meeting Jane Tomaine

Episcopal priest Jane Tomaine has written a wonderful book on Benedictine spirituality called St. Benedict's Toolbox. Tomorrow she is presenting a one-day workshop on "Benedictine Spirituality: Living Intentionally in a Distracted World" here in Atlanta, and alas, I won't be able to attend — I'll be busy co-leading a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on "the Wisdom of the Christian Mystics." As much as I love leading retreats at the Monastery, I was a wee bit grumpy about not being a … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

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, and wasting uselessly alike your time and … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Prayer

In the simple promises for the junior lay associates (Lay Cistercians) of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, we promise, among other things, to live "life in simplicity and prayer." I love that juxtaposition. Prayer and simplicity go together so beautifully, it seems to me, that one of the best ways to cultivate in our hearts the space for prayer is by allowing things to be simple. I don't mean simple in the sense of not very smart, but simple in the sense of what Taoists call wu-wei, or "going … [Read more...]

Four questions about Mysticism

A reader named Matt wrote the following questions to me, quite some time ago (sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, Matt!):The Reformed, and Protestant traditions have been quite suspicious of some of the practices of "Mysticism", why is that, and what would be a response to Protestant concerns? What is the theology behind Christian Mysticism? Does Christian Mysticism have Biblical Support? How does one go about practicing the more Mystical aspects of the Christian faith?Any … [Read more...]

A Chat with a Methodist Minister

The other day at the Abbey Store I struck up a conversation with a Methodist minister who was making a short retreat at the Monastery. We chatted up books and authors and it became apparent that we had a similar interest in contemplative spirituality."So tell me," I asked him, "What is it like to advocate for contemplative spirituality in your congregation?"He smiled ruefully. "It's not easy," he said."Are people afraid of it?" I wondered, mindful of the small but vocal presence of … [Read more...]

The Jewel and the Setting

In response to my post yesterday of Annemarie S. Kidder writing on the relationship between postmodernity and the rediscovery of mysticism, one commenter writes: Her insights resonate with me, both in words and practice. What I wonder though, is what kind of church this individual movement will form. How will the creeds be written or will creeds be simply experienced in similar ways? How will be able to share with the youth from our own inward experiences? I understand where we are, but I feel … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

People in the postmodern era have lost confidence in the idea of perpetual progress advanced by the sciences and technology. They have become distrustful of and disenchanted with authority, which includes that of the church. They value experience over against outside authority, a faith based on experience over against one that is ecclesiastically pre-formulated, and a plurality of voices that are of equal value over against a singular voice that makes all final decisions. Authenticity, being … [Read more...]


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