How to be a Contemplative in a “Toxic” Community (Part Two)

This is a continuation of a post I began yesterday — click here to read part one.I'm responding to a reader who wanted some guidance about how to be a contemplative Christian while participating in a church that is "toxic" and "cold." Yesterday I addressed that particular question head on. Today I want to address a few additional questions that arise in response to this same issue. Here goes...What does it mean to be "active" in a church? Is Sunday morning worship attendance e … [Read more...]

How to be a Contemplative in a “Toxic” Community (Part One)

A reader wrote the following message to me recently: Hi Carl. I'm a contemplative in a Roman Catholic Community. It's rather toxic and cold. I don't go to dinners or other community building events. I go to Sunday Mass regularly. Does this fulfill my community efforts at not being a "Lone Ranger" and individualist mystic? Regular readers of this blog will understand where the writer of this message is coming from. In posts like Is it possible to be a “Do It Yourself” Christian Mystic? or Do Con … [Read more...]

Five Ideas that Shape Contemplative Prayer

I recently listened to the audiobook version of Chris Anderson's TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking. If your work in any way involves public speaking, I heartily encourage you to give it a listen. Chris is a humble and charming enough speaker in his own right, but fortified with tips and tricks, the do's and don't's, from the best speakers to give talks at TED Conferences over the years, the book provides an excellent survey of what really makes a speech effective.And one … [Read more...]

What is Contemplation?

What is contemplation? Unfortunately, answering this question is tricky — for contemplation is like some other words in the English language, such as love or success or happiness.  In other words, different people use it to mean different things.Recently a reader named Daniel sent me this message:I've been gradually learning about contemplative spirituality for a couple of years now.  Throughout this journey I've continually wondered how "contemplation" should be defined.  I've discovered t … [Read more...]