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...]

This Weekend: from the Mountains to the Inner City

If you live in North Georgia, I hope I'll see you at one or both of these events this weekend.Saturday I'll be leading a day-retreat at Holy Family Episcopal Church in Jasper, Georgia, in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Our theme is Contemplation and Emergence. I'm very excited about the combination of poetry, storytelling, lectio, silence and sharing that will encompass our time together as we explore how an ancient practice (contemplation) remains relevant today (emergence). We gather … [Read more...]

Some New Books to Explore

If this were an ideal world and I had all the time in the universe to do everything I would like, I'd be reading all sorts of books — and writing lengthy reviews of many of them on this blog. But, alas, ours is not an ideal world, and so like everyone else I have to make do. And so, in that spirit of making do, here are a few brief comments about some interesting books that have come to my attention lately. Some of them are new and some have been around for a while, but I think they are all w … [Read more...]

New Monasticism

New Monasticism: What it Has to Say to Today's Church By Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2008 Review by Carl McColman"We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another — doubtless very different — St. Benedict," says Alasdair Macintyre at the conclusion of After Virtue, his withering critique of the ethical vacuum in postmodern society. And while the triumphalist voices on the hard Catholic right might loudly proclaim that this mantle belongs to Benedict XVI, for many ot … [Read more...]

Earth Abbey

The ever-vigilant Mike Morrell sent me this link — to Earth Abbey, a British-based community that describes itself as... ... a movement of people helping one another to live more in tune with the earth. We work to promote:A rich relational life between human beings A compassion toward the earth and its creatures A sense of interconnectedness of all life Wisdom and justice in relationships Human fulfilment and the nurture of the inner life A way of living that leaves the earth better than … [Read more...]

A Community Called Taizé

A Community Called Taizé: A Story of Prayer, Worship and Reconciliation By Jason Brian Santos Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanLong before any of us had heard the term "neo-monasticism" — long before Shane Claiborne and the The Simple Way or Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Rutba House  had captured the imagination of a young generation of ecumenically-minded Christians looking for intentional community — there were wonderful, Protestant/ecumenical communities that flowe … [Read more...]

Ordinary Radicals

Based on this trailer, the forthcoming movie Ordinary Radicals looks pretty exciting.I returned to Christianity in 2005 because of my desire to be more intimately involved with the living contemplative tradition (such as can be found at the monastery where I now work). While that renewed spiritual commitment has been truly a blessing, I didn't count on the fact that while I was away, within the Christian community an entirely new movement of the Holy Spirit was emerging — a movement which is … [Read more...]


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