Four questions about Mysticism

A reader named Matt wrote the following questions to me, quite some time ago (sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, Matt!):The Reformed, and Protestant traditions have been quite suspicious of some of the practices of "Mysticism", why is that, and what would be a response to Protestant concerns? What is the theology behind Christian Mysticism? Does Christian Mysticism have Biblical Support? How does one go about practicing the more Mystical aspects of the Christian faith?Any … [Read more...]

A Chat with a Methodist Minister

The other day at the Abbey Store I struck up a conversation with a Methodist minister who was making a short retreat at the Monastery. We chatted up books and authors and it became apparent that we had a similar interest in contemplative spirituality."So tell me," I asked him, "What is it like to advocate for contemplative spirituality in your congregation?"He smiled ruefully. "It's not easy," he said."Are people afraid of it?" I wondered, mindful of the small but vocal presence of … [Read more...]

Something I wrote for Amazon.com

Amazon.com offers authors the chance to write something personal about their book(s) to appear on Amazon's website. This morning I finally wrote such a statement for The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. I thought I may as well post it here, so readers of this blog could enjoy it as well. The following text should be published within the next few days on The Big Book of Christian Mysticism's page under the heading "From the Author." When I was eighteen years old, a friend of mine loaned me a copy … [Read more...]

The Jewel and the Setting

In response to my post yesterday of Annemarie S. Kidder writing on the relationship between postmodernity and the rediscovery of mysticism, one commenter writes: Her insights resonate with me, both in words and practice. What I wonder though, is what kind of church this individual movement will form. How will the creeds be written or will creeds be simply experienced in similar ways? How will be able to share with the youth from our own inward experiences? I understand where we are, but I feel … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

So just let God act, and be at peace. As far as you are in God, you are in peace; and as far as you are outside God, you are outside peace. Lack of peace comes from created things and not from God. Nor is there anything to fear in God, and nothing in him to cause sadness; his being can draw only love from us. It is true: they who have all they wish for, know joy; but no one has this except those whose will is one with God's will. May God grant us this union! — Meister Eckhart, quoted i … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

And here I must say a few words concerning certain things which some reckon as virtues, although they are nothing of the sort—I mean ecstasies, trances, rhapsodies, deific unions, extraordinary transformations, and the like, which are dwelt on in some books, and which promise to raise the soul to a purely intellectual contemplation, an altogether supernatural mental altitude, and a life of pre-eminent excellence. But I would have you see, my child, that these perfections are not virtues, … [Read more...]

A Book for All Time

I've posted the text of the talk I gave in February at the "Awakening in God's Love" conference to my website. This conference was sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta's Institute for Ministry and Theological Education. It was a celebration of the life and work of Anglican writer and contemplative Evelyn Underhill, marking the centennial of the publication of her book Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness.In the morning at the conference, scholar Dana … [Read more...]


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