Distinguishing Mysticism from Contemplation

Gary asks: "Christian mysticism, contemplative Christian spirituality, (pardon my naive position but are these different, similar or the same?)..."Regarding the distinction between contemplation and mysticism: I do address this issue in my forthcoming book (can't resist the plug), but briefly, I would say mysticism is an umbrella term for spirituality that engages the mysteries of the  faith (and this is a pun, for the Eastern Orthodox Churches call the sacraments the "mysteries"), whereas … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The closer we grow to God, the more intensely we experience the love of God and the desire for God that awakens in us, the more painful become all those defects of character to which we still cling because they are part of our self-definition; this includes even our definition of ourselves in relation to God as we have experienced that to this point. We are now called not merely to detachment of worldly things from our egoism but the very giving up of those structures of self that we believe … [Read more...]

The Epistemology of Post-Fundamentalism

A friend of mine, formerly a devout Christian who is now an atheist (and, unfortunately, a rather bitter and cynical one at that), wrote this to me recently: I got into religion as a literal believer, and I became disappointed when I discovered that I was repeatedly lied to (the earth is not 6000 years old, for instance, and now I suspect that Jesus is not God in the flesh, any more than anyone else is anyway). Sigh.I understand his feeling of being lied to. But I am reminded of Meister … [Read more...]

Brad Culver on Mysticism

I've just stumbled across a pretty sweet looking blog by a guy named Brad Culver, Living Water From an Ancient Well.Of particular interest is his post on Mysticism. … [Read more...]

Upcoming Events: Mysticism Retreat and Class

Friends, here are the two events I have coming up, that may be of interest to folks who read this blog. The first is a a retreat on Christian mysticism that will be held at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia; the second is a class on world mysticism through the Evening at Emory Continuing Education Program at Emory University in Atlanta. Space is limited at both these events, so if you're interested, please register soon. Hope to see you there...Wisdom of the Christian … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Then what prevents you from seeing and hearing Him? Truly, there is so great a din in your heart, and so much loud shouting from your empty thoughts and fleshly desires that you can neither see nor hear Him. Therefore, silence this restless din, and break your love of sin and vanity. Bring into your heart a love of virtues and complete charity, and then you shall hear your Lord speak to you. — Walter Hilton, The Stairway of Perfection … [Read more...]

Registration now open for “Introduction to World Mysticism”

I'll be teaching my class on World Mysticism through the Emory University Center for Lifelong Learning again, on Wednesday evenings July 22 through August 12. It's a fun class — a whirlwind tour through some of the most luminous spiritual writings from around the world.For more information or to register, click here: http://cll.emory.edu/classes.cfm?cla=-2016892019&pt=3 … [Read more...]


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