To love many things…

The other day my co-worker, Robin, with whom I carpool, and I had a deep and philosophical conversation... about the weather."This is such a great time of year," I enthused, about September in Georgia. "Cool in the mornings, and yet still plenty of warmth in the afternoons." She nodded, as I went on, "You get a chance to both cool down and thaw out.""I agree, Carl, I love this time of year." She thought for a moment, and then added, "but I love every time of the year." We both … [Read more...]

Means of Liberation and Internal Conversion

Yesterday at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit's lay associates gathering day, I attended a class in which we considered a document called Lay Cistercian Identity, drawn up at an international gathering of Cistercian lay associates in Spain two years ago. We particularly examined a list of "Cistercian values and practices" commended to laypersons as "a means of liberation and internal conversion." These values and practices include:Prayer and praiseConfidence and abandonment to … [Read more...]

Live, Laugh, Love

I have been asked to lead a retreat at the Guesthouse of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in September. The person who originally was in charge of the retreat is unable to lead it, and so I have inherited it. It is called "Live, Laugh, Love" and it sounds like it will be tremendous fun. Here is the write-up for the retreat, as it appears on the Monastery's Website:Live, Laugh, Love September 13-16, 2010 The Live, Laugh, Love Retreat is a Celebration — celebrating our relationship with God. It i … [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...]

Everytime you look at me I just keep laughing

I'm always saddened when I meet religious people who seem bitter, angry, frightened, or otherwise unhappy.It takes many forms: a piety that doesn't know how to smile... thinly-veiled hostility toward people seen as different, just because they're different... anxiety about "getting it right," whether "it" means believing correctly, behaving correctly, performing rituals correctly, or voting correctly... fear of the devil, which unfolds into a generalized fear of the "other," particularly other … [Read more...]


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