From the Wilderness to Mount Tabor

I'm still pondering the categories of "wild" and "tame" in relation to God, to the mystical life, and to my own work as a writer. If you're just joining the conversation, read yesterday's post and comments to get a sense of where I am.My fellow blogger Benjamin David Steele (whose original thoughts sparked my reflection) posted on both his and my blog that he meant no insult by describing my blog as "tame." I want to go on the record as saying I never saw that as an insult. I saw it as … [Read more...]

Faith

For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. — Matthew 17:20 NRSV One concept I have run into again and again, both among Christians as well as among others with an interest in mysticism, is the idea that mysticism is about experience which is somehow different from faith. The logic seems to go like this: as the author of the letter to the Hebrews puts it, "fa … [Read more...]

That which is different

My brother Don and I were chatting this morning, and I mentioned an evangelical friend of mine who has a "secret" interest in Catholic mysticism. Don, who describes himself as an "agnostic hedonist," made the following fascinating observation: You know, the evangelical movement could do so much good, but people's fear of that which is different just screws things up. Now, in their defense, the fear of "that which is different" is not unique to evangelicals (or to Christians in general). In fact, … [Read more...]

The Fidelity of Betrayal

The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief By Peter Rollins Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanIn this book, Peter Rollins expands and deepens the apophatic/postmodern re-visioning of Christian theology/mystery that he first introduced in his first book, How (Not) to Speak of God. Rollins is a philosopher/theologian whose work appears to be all about dismantling unhelpful boundaries: between philosophy and theology, between church and culture, between … [Read more...]

Two Monks

Last week I had two brief conversations with two different monks. One told me that, based on his years of contemplation, the entire point of the Christian life is communion with the Holy Trinity, God as three persons. The other monk told me his experience of God was impersonalist.On the surface, it is so tempting to try to dissect or deconstruct what both of these guys are up to. Whose experience is more valid, more authentic, more nuanced, better interpreted, more orthodox, more (dare I say … [Read more...]

Atheism and Anger

I had a conversation with a friend last night — the same friend I've written about before — who is undergoing a crisis of faith. He told me last night that reading the "new atheists" — folks like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens — makes him so angry. "I came to see that I have been duped by the church, and that the church is in the business of duping people."My friend is a good and honest man, sincere in his zeal to find truth. Perhaps a bit too zealous, for I fear that he … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, … [Read more...]


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