The Prosperity Mongers

I spoke with an editor of a large faith-oriented website yesterday; I had pitched a couple of ideas to this site and hadn't had any luck getting a contract. We talked about how most of their readers were looking for breezy, self-help articles. He mentioned Joel Osteen more than once.When I think about folks like Joel Osteen or Rhonda Byrne (author of The Secret), I have deeply ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, no one can argue with the worldly success of such things as the Law of … [Read more...]

Everytime you look at me I just keep laughing

I'm always saddened when I meet religious people who seem bitter, angry, frightened, or otherwise unhappy.It takes many forms: a piety that doesn't know how to smile... thinly-veiled hostility toward people seen as different, just because they're different... anxiety about "getting it right," whether "it" means believing correctly, behaving correctly, performing rituals correctly, or voting correctly... fear of the devil, which unfolds into a generalized fear of the "other," particularly other … [Read more...]

Mystics and Contemplatives

The ever-perceptive Phil Foster asks in a recent comment on this blog: Is there a difference between a mystic and a contemplative type? I’m certainly the latter but not the former. Phil, I think your second sentence in this quotation goes a long way toward answering the question. A "mystic" as I see it, is one who has been ushered into the mysteries — and it is God who does the ushering. So, while on one level we are all mystics (as William McNamara puts it in his book Earthy Mysticism, "A mys … [Read more...]


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