What is Contemplation?

What is contemplation? Unfortunately, answering this question is tricky — for contemplation is like some other words in the English language, such as love or success or happiness.  In other words, different people use it to mean different things.Recently a reader named Daniel sent me this message:I've been gradually learning about contemplative spirituality for a couple of years now.  Throughout this journey I've continually wondered how "contemplation" should be defined.  I've discovered t … [Read more...]

What Are We Afraid Of?

I've been reading Bill Bryson's charming and delightful book on the English language, The Mother Tongue, and ran across this delicious tidbit:English speakers dread silence. We are all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling that overcomes us when a conversation palls. Studies have shown that when a pause reaches four seconds, one or more of the conversationalists will invariably blurt something — a fatuous comment on the weather, a startled cry of "Gosh, is that the time?" — rather than let th … [Read more...]

Better to Light a Candle (of Silence) than to Curse the Darkness (of Language)

Does language always limit the way we talk about, think about, or even pray to, God?This question has been on my mind for the past few days.This past weekend I attended a service at a nearby Episcopal Church. The liturgy came from Enriching Our Worship, a contemporary, inclusive language resource approved for use in Episcopal Churches. For the most part it was poetic and lovely. However, one phrase during the Eucharistic prayer startled me — and not in a good way.Glory and honor are yo … [Read more...]