Sharing in the Passion of Christ (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Eight)

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This is part of a series on “Why Contemplation is Revolutionary.” If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.When we struggle with contemplative practice — facing our own inner chaos, turmoil, and darkness — we participate in the passion of Christ, which is a deeply revolutionary matter.Here's what Kenneth Leech has to say: The contemplative shares in the passion of Christ which is both an identification with the pain of the world … [Read more...]

Exploring the “Inner Wasteland” (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Six)

This is part of a series on "Why Contemplation is Revolutionary." If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.Yesterday we looked at a quote about contemplation from Anglican theologian Kenneth Leech. Following his assertion that "contemplation has a context," we looked at how the many social, political, and environmental concerns of our time form the milieu in which a life of silent prayer must occur. Unlike some critics of … [Read more...]

Contemplation and the Real World (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Five)

This is part of a series. If you’re just joining the conversation, begin with The Archbishop and the Community Theologian and then proceed to: Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Part One)  (Part Two) (Part Three) and(Part Four).The last four posts have looked at a quote about contemplation from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Today we turn our attention to one of Archbishop Williams' colleagues and theological contemporaries, Father Ke … [Read more...]

The Archbishop and the Community Theologian

I've posted both of the following quotes in this blog before, but they are such wonderful quotes that I find myself going back to them again and again. Last night I taught a class on contemplative spirituality at an Episcopal Church in Gainesville, GA, and I used the first of these two quotes. It's from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, on the occasion of his addressing the Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome: the first time an Anglican Archbishop ever gave such an address. The … [Read more...]

A Prophetic Word from Kenneth Leech

Again and again, the Anglican theologian Kenneth Leech strikes me as one of the most important voices in contemporary Christian spirituality. Here is a passage from an introduction he wrote to a book, now long out of print, called Three Spiritual Directors for Our Time (by Julia Gatta, published by Cowley Publications, 1986):The demand for spiritual direction, which has become something of an epidemic in parts of the United States, is an understandable reaction against consumerism. But it is … [Read more...]

Coming back from the desert

No longer are such centres of solitude and critical reflection located only in the remote regions. The last decade has seen the growth of urban contemplatives, communities of Christian women and men who seek to live lives of prayer and silence within the urban scene. It was a movement predicted over twenty-five years ago by the Jesuit Jean Daniélou:'The Constantinian phase in Christian history is coming to an end ... The flight into the desert was a revolutionary innovation, lasting from the … [Read more...]

The Desert and the Dark Night

In the Christian tradition, there are two symbols which recur frequently in the literature of contemplative prayer: the symbols of Desert and of Dark Night. The Desert symbol spans the spiritual history of the people of God from Abraham's movement into unknown territory, through the wanderings in the wilderness, the desert movement of the early church, to Charles de Foucauld and the revival of desert spirituality in the twentieth century. It stands for the realities of purity, of simplicity, of … [Read more...]


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