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...]

Local and Universal

Christianity claims to be a universal spirituality: it's for all people, at all times, in all places. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations," Jesus instructs his followers at the close of the Gospel of Matthew. All the nations: everyone is invited. It's not just for Jewish folks, or people from the Middle East, or people of European ancestry. It's for everybody. As a monotheistic faith, it worships a God who is seen to be the One God for all people and places. No matter what your c … [Read more...]

Finding the True Path

A reader of my blog has emailed me the following questions. They seem to involve the question of how to embrace the Christian mystery when one cannot be sure if it is the "true" path or not. As a former neo-pagan, didn't you find getting to grips with Christianity's necessity to hold a set number of essential beliefs? Don't you have any doubts and don't you find them restricting? I was wondering if you knew much about Islamic mysticism - sufism - and if you had ever written something about it … [Read more...]

How Little We Know, How Much We Miss

I'm entering into 2010 reflecting on the limits of knowledge and the challenges facing anyone interested in interreligious dialogue or interfaith spirituality. If we are not humbled by how little we know, we are in trouble.Ali of Meadowsweet & Myrrh, in her latest contribution to a conversation we've been having about the movie Avatar and the representation of pagan, indigenous and/or pantheistic spirituality in that movie, has this perceptive insight: I am all for interfaith dialogue and … [Read more...]


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