Dreaming the Tiger

My family and I went to see Life of Pi last night. I have not (yet) read the book, but Gareth Higgins (who knows a lot more about movies than I do) says it's one of the best novel adaptations he's ever seen. I can only judge the movie on its own merits, and I'd say it's well worth seeing. If you're worried about spoilers, stop reading this now and go see the movie. … [Read more...]

Practical Discipline

There was a sense of freedom in knowing that I would never run out of room to grow. There was peace in knowing the race was over. Where I was right now was just where I should be, given the amount of effort I had expended. I saw the wake behind my boat for the first time, and I realized I was moving ahead, and pretty quickly, as a matter of fact. But the most important truth revealed to me in that moment was this: My real joy was found in my ability to learn to experience my growth, moment by … [Read more...]

The Spirit of George and Jack

This past weekend I led a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit called "The Spirituality of George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis." Following Lewis's longstanding nickname, I affectionately referred to our topic as "The Spirit of George and Jack."Weekend retreats at the monastery typically include five conferences: one Friday evening, three on Saturday, and on one Sunday. Friday evening I gave a brief introduction to George MacDonald, generally regarded as the father of modern fantasy and … [Read more...]

Craving, Avarice, and Deadly Sin

Had an interesting exchange on Twitter over the weekend. It began with I made the following tweet:According to Dorothee Soelle, the Christian "deadly sin" of avarice equals the Buddhist concept of craving.Here is the quote from Dorothee Soelle which inspired my pithy little comment.Possessions are often regarded as a kind of life-threatening drug, impeding the power of judgment. 'Sloth and cowardice creep in with every dollar or guinea we have to guard.' Having contributes to rendering … [Read more...]

Before We Face the Monkey Mind

A reader has written to me with the following question:I make my living as a psychotherapist & most of my work is spiritually oriented counseling with Christians.  I have long been trying to introduce clients to contemplation through encouraging brief periods of silence, solitude and openness  (15-20 min).  I also taught an introductory  course through my church.  Finally, I am preparing to lecture other therapists on using contemplation in therapy.As I have tried to introduce others we … [Read more...]

The Desert and the Dark Night

In the Christian tradition, there are two symbols which recur frequently in the literature of contemplative prayer: the symbols of Desert and of Dark Night. The Desert symbol spans the spiritual history of the people of God from Abraham's movement into unknown territory, through the wanderings in the wilderness, the desert movement of the early church, to Charles de Foucauld and the revival of desert spirituality in the twentieth century. It stands for the realities of purity, of simplicity, of … [Read more...]

Meeting Jane Tomaine

Episcopal priest Jane Tomaine has written a wonderful book on Benedictine spirituality called St. Benedict's Toolbox. Tomorrow she is presenting a one-day workshop on "Benedictine Spirituality: Living Intentionally in a Distracted World" here in Atlanta, and alas, I won't be able to attend — I'll be busy co-leading a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on "the Wisdom of the Christian Mystics." As much as I love leading retreats at the Monastery, I was a wee bit grumpy about not being a … [Read more...]


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