Of the Equinox and the Spirituality of the Earth

Twice this week, on two separate occasions coming from two different individuals, I have been invited to participate in Spring Equinox rituals that will take place this weekend.Ten years ago that would have been nothing remarkable, as I was a regular participant in Wiccan and Neopagan groups like the House of Oak Spring or the Grove of the Unicorn or the now-defunct local grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin. But since I wandered "out of the woods and into the Catholic Church" in 2005, understandably my … [Read more...]

The Snakes and the Slaves

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.As I ponder on this day, I am reminded that it, like Columbus Day, can elicit a radically different response from people, based on their world-view and value system. Columbus Day for Euro-Americans was traditionally a day of celebration and commemoration of "discovery," but for Native Americans and those who share concern for the plight of indigenous people who face the brunt of colonialist expansion, Columbus Day has become the symbol of loss. As one pundit put it, … [Read more...]

A Contemplative Curriculum?

I've written in this blog several times recently about what a contemplative practice group might look like, and hopefully I'll be involved in setting up at least one such group in the near future. But in a conversation with a clergy friend last night, he asked me what it would look like to have a fully-formed curriculum of classes, workshops, retreats, etc., all designed to support individuals and communities in the quest to grow toward deeper intimacy and union with Christ?Wow. What a sweet … [Read more...]

Christian mysticism and other mystical traditions

A reader named Guido posted the following comment on the Christian Mysticism page of this blog: Does it not occur to us that all "mysticism" is not the same? I came back today from hearing a conference on Christian/catholic mysticism. It spoke of the dark night of the soul and its place in the path of union with God. However, in making her points, the speaker used Buddist quotes. Does this not seem problematic given that the aims of Christianity and Buddhism are not the same. In the former the … [Read more...]

“People of Christlike Love”

In A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren ponders the question of what the church's "one mission, message, and quest" should be. In other words, here in our fragmented, postmodern world, where the church has splintered into so many different theological, ecclesial and cultural forms, what can Christians rally around as a unifying message to inspire the community of faith as we move into the third millennium? McLaren goes on: "What one great danger do people need to be saved from, and, more … [Read more...]

Thich Nhat Hanh on Christian/Buddhist relations

My friend Martha just alerted me to this wonderful article by Thich Nhat Hanh. It looks like it's quite a few years old, since in it he talks about wanting to write Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, which was published in 2000. But its message remains important for us today: Going Back to Our Religious Roots In this article, the good Vietnamese monk tells the story of counseling a young Buddhist woman who had fallen in love with a Catholic man, and was distraught because his family was … [Read more...]

Four Dimensions of Spirituality and Embracing the Mind of Christ

On my writer's page at Facebook, my bio used to read like this: Carl McColman is the author of 10 books on the spiritual life. Most of his works published before 2005 concern Pagan and Celtic spirituality. In 2005 he became a Catholic, and is now writing a book on Christian mysticism to be published in late 2010. As of this morning, I have re-written it thusly: Carl McColman blogs about Celtic, emergent, mystical, & contemplative spirituality at the Website of Unknowing (www.anamchara.com). … [Read more...]