Thirteen Characteristics of Healthy Spirituality

Following the passing of Anglican contemplative theologian Kenneth Leech, I've been revisiting several of his books. In the back of his book True God: An Exploration in Spiritual Theology is Leech's manifesto "Toward a Renewed Spirituality." It's an important statement that deserves wide consideration.Ken offers thirteen points that he considers essential for the ongoing renewal of Christian spirituality. Here are his points with a my reflection on them. Ken's words are in bold type, my … [Read more...]

In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech

I have learned of the passing of Father Kenneth Leech, who died on Saturday after a long illness. With his passing, we have lost one of the great contemplatives of our time, who was also a prophet for God's justice and mercy.He was born in 1939 and grew up in a secular home in the north of England. As a youth he was inspired by Alisdair MacIntyre (later famous for his renowned study of postmodern moral theory, After Virtue) who helped him realize that it is possible to have a critical, inq … [Read more...]

Kenneth Leech (1939-2015)

I have learned of the passing of Father Kenneth Leech, who died on September 12, 2015 after a long illness.He was born in 1939 and grew up in a secular home in the north of England. As a youth he was inspired by Alasdair MacIntyre (later famous for his renowned study of postmodern moral theory, After Virtue) who helped him realize that it is possible to have a critical, inquiring mind as a person of faith. He embraced the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England and was ordained a … [Read more...]

Principles for Contemplative Spirituality (Part One)

A couple of years ago Rob Bell wrote a book with the title What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I haven't read the book, but I love the title. So I suppose this blog post could be called "What we talk about when we talk about contemplation."If that seems funny to you, I admit I'm being ironic. Why talk about something that takes us — or at least invites us — to a place beyond language, beyond words, beyond grammar? But as silent as contemplation is, the reality of being human is that we … [Read more...]

Rocking Justice & Spirituality: Like the Two Movements of the Breath

When I met the Anglican writer Kenneth Leech, who is one of my heroes, he told me a funny but sad story.I mentioned to him that one of my favorite books of his was The Eye of the Storm: Spiritual Resources for the Pursuit of Justice. I loved it (and still do) because it is an eloquent statement of why Christian spirituality necessarily includes a commitment to making the world a more peaceful and just place. He explained to me how he was inspired to write the book.At some point in the … [Read more...]

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

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...]