Concerning Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Xenophobia

Evagrius Ponticus, fourth century Christian contemplative

Contemplative spirituality is a spirituality in which, in the words of Richard Rohr, "everything belongs." It's a spirituality of inclusion, rather than exclusion. It seeks to build bridges rather than walls. To me, this is part of the towering beauty of contemplation. But we live in a world where not everyone sees things the same way, and contemplation, like anything else, has its critics. Generally speaking, my experience shows that the critics of Christian contemplation reject it for two … [Read more...]

Seven Books I Hope to Read in 2014

Mystagogy

Are you looking for a book or two to read, on the topics of contemplation or mysticism?I thought I'd offer a twist on the typical blog post where books get reviewed. Here is a list of seven books I hope to read, ideally sometime this year. Some of these books are brand new, others a few years old, others older still. They all touch on contemplative prayer, the Christian mystery, and/or interspirituality, in some form or fashion. A disclaimer: copies of three of these seven books were s … [Read more...]

Interfaith Dialogue, Interspirituality, and Holy Daring

The Dalai Lama

Recently I spoke at a church located about an hour north of where I live. As I drove to the church, I chatted on the phone with my brother who lives in Florida. We were making plans for me to come visit him on the weekend of our birthdays (his is a day later than mine). I mentioned that while I was there, I wanted to attend a training weekend at the local Shambhala Center.My brother, who is a confirmed agnostic, surprised me with his response. "Are you sure that's wise?" he asked."What … [Read more...]

My First Article in Contemplative Journal, or, How to Be a Faithful Christian While Embracing Interspirituality

Contemplative Journal is the loveliest and most promising new website to come along in quite some time. Unlike some of the more prominent inter-religious websites, this start-up is dedicated to the contemplative dimension of the spiritual life, with a decidedly interspiritual presence. Early contributors included a variety of well-known and intriguing voices in the contemplative world: Judith Simmer-Brown, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Mirabai Starr, Thomas Keating, and many others. According to its … [Read more...]

Spirituality, With or Without Religion

"I'm spiritual, but I'm not religious."It's become such a common way of self-describing spiritual identity that observers have attacked it ("Spiritual But Not Religious"? Please Stop Boring Me), have defended it (God in the Gray Areas), have tried to reduce it to an acronym ("SBNR") or even come up with cutesy abbreviations (Nones, since such persons when asked what their religious affiliation is will say "None"). This segment of our society is very diverse, covering people who may prefer to … [Read more...]

A Modest Proposal (and a question for folks who live near Decatur, Georgia)

If you have known me for a while, you know that for almost two years I was involved in a "Christian Mysticism Meetup" group that met every Wednesday night at a church in the Atlanta suburbs. At first we had lots of energy: 20 - 25 people attending each night; but eventually the group withered down to maybe 5 people or so showing up at a time. As I began to have conflicts on the night when the group met (Wednesdays) I let the group go, and that was the end of it. But I told the last few loyal … [Read more...]

Concerning the Heart, the Breath, and the Stories We Tell: Four Books for the Interfaith Seeker

Here are four books, all recently published, that will nurture you as you deepen your spiritual journey, particularly from an interfaith perspective. Three of these titles are specifically designed to foster, or contribute to, interfaith conversation; the fourth is rooted in one particular tradition (Buddhism) but covers material on a topic (embodied spirituality) that can speak to practitioners from any tradition. Hopefully one or more of these books will speak to you. … [Read more...]


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