Why Contemplation Matters

Two significant insights into the importance of contemplation crossed my desk this week. The first, Reversing the Exodus, comes from the Association of Religion Data Archives, where writer David Briggs looks at research currently being done to understand religious congregations (across faith traditions) that are successful in engaging membership and participation of young adults. Briggs compiles a list of seven characteristics common to such youth-friendly communities, and some of them ("Keep up … [Read more...]

Consistency

I've been praying — and thinking — a lot about consistency lately.I struggle with self-sabotage issues. I make a commitment, and then back away from it. I commit to spending an hour a day in silent contemplation, and then I over commit my life so that I just never seem to find the time for that half hour in the evening. I want to deepen my immersion in silence — both external and internal — except that, well, my behavior doesn't seem to match my intention.The traditional virtue that applies t … [Read more...]

Contemplative Practice and… Business Books?

Sometimes, I believe, the best books we can read to support our spiritual discipline are books that do not appear to be "spiritual" at all. Here's a case in point. I recently stumbled across a new line of business books by a fellow named Jim Randel; the series is called "the skinny on" — they're a bit high on the cutesy quotient, using stick figures (get the "skinny" pun?) and humor to build a narrative around the topic of each book. But they're quick reads, and present a straightforward a … [Read more...]

On Learning a Musical Instrument as a Metaphor for Contemplative Practice

I'm a beginner with the bass guitar. I bought an inexpensive Ibanez bass the January before last and took about four months of lessons, but then stopped as I got more involved in writing my book on Christian mysticism. Now, over a year later, the book is on my editor's desk and I've resumed working with the bass. Thanks to a rather lucrative freelancing job I had earlier this year, I've upgraded my gear and am now learning with a Rickenbacker bass (I am not worthy to be playing such a wonderful … [Read more...]


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