Of Atheists and Apophatics…

An interesting article recently appeared in the New York Daily News, by one of the "celebrity atheists," Daniel Dennett: The Unbelievable Truth: Why America has become a nation of religious know-nothings. In this article, Dennett argues that non-believers — agnostics and atheists — are, generally speaking, more knowledgeable about religion than are those who believe.I'm not quite ready to accept the triumphalist way in which Dennett interprets his data. He suggests that atheists know more than … [Read more...]

Mysticism and Missing the Point

A reader named William Law (I wonder if he's related to the author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life?) has not been shy about attacking the basic premise of this blog. Here are a few quotes from recent comments of his (all made to one recent post): The discussion of mysticism and writing about mysticism as an “object” is specious and misses the point.How words just multiply like rabbits. There comes a point where explaining is too much like a hamster on his wheel. There is real pow … [Read more...]

Fast Food Mysticism?

Consider these two interesting quotes. This one comes from Simon, who commented on my essay The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism: One of the dangers of Centering Prayer, as I see it, is that contemplation is being served up as some sort of fast food. MacContemplation, so to speak! And this, from Ali at Meadowsweet & Myrrh, reflecting on the Northern Ireland retreat: What is the connection between silent contemplation and peace? Is there one? ... so far the lesson of this week … [Read more...]

The Promise of Paradox

The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life By Parker J. Palmer, with an introduction by Henri Nouwen San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanParker Palmer's first book almost didn't happen. As he explains in the new introduction to The Promise of Paradox (first published in 1980 by Ave Maria Press and now reissued in a gorgeous hardcover edition by Jossey-Bass), he didn't imagine himself as capable of writing an entire book, but when an editor … [Read more...]


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