Awkward

A reader of my blog has written to me to ask for advice on reading the mystics. He notes, "they embrace very traditional theology that is awkward for me in the 21st century."Indeed.There is no one single "Christian mystical theology." I would be suspicious of anyone who tries to distill the teachings of all the great mystics into a single summarized statement of "this is what you do in order to become a mystic." It just doesn't work that way. For one thing, the mystics stretch across two … [Read more...]

Taken Up

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What I find interesting about this idea of the assumption is its implications for those of us living here on the earth today.Morning prayer today includes this Responsory: "Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven." Now, if we can agree that heaven is all about being in the presence of God, and if we can also agree that God is omnipresent, then it seems obvious that we can be "taken up to heaven" right here and right now. No … [Read more...]

Silence: Doorway to Contemplation and Interfaith Friendship

I've just had a new article published on the website of Atlanta's Interfaith Community Institute. It's called "Silence: Doorway to Contemplation and Interfaith Friendship." In Psalm 46, God is quoted as saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” God, the Ultimate Mystery, is greater than human language, thought, or ideas. For this reason, language always seems to conceal God as much as it reveals God.While not, therefore, replacing the heritage of theological and mystical language that tes … [Read more...]

Simplicity, Silence, Stillness, Solitude

As I seek to move deeper into the contemplative life, I try to keep in mind the gifts of simplicity, silence, and solitude. Simplicity, in choosing to liberate my life from the tyranny of too much "stuff," of too many commitments of my time and energy, of too many causes to which I can devote — and dissipate — my energy. Silence, in letting go not only of external stimuli like the incessant buzz and chatter of the media, music, television, the internet, and so forth, but also the more insidious i … [Read more...]

Ken Wilber Class through Evening at Emory

Registration is now open for the class I'll be teaching on the philosophy and spirituality of Ken Wilber, through Emory University's Center for Lifelong Learning here in Atlanta, starting on Thursday, July 21. To register, click here.Here's the write-up on the class, from the Evening at Emory website:A Brief History of Everything: An Introduction to Ken Wilber American philosopher Ken Wilber's writings combine eastern and western spirituality, psychology, biology, cultural theory, and other … [Read more...]

Do Be Do Be Do

A new friend of mine has this on her Facebook page: "We're human beings, not human doings." This reminds me of Evelyn Underhill, whose admittedly Platonic approach to mysticism seeks to find the eternal world of being over and above the ever-changing world of becoming (or "doing"). I'm also reminded of the Buddhist notion that all things are impermanent — the world of becoming is also of necessity the world of change, of decay, of death. Finally, I am reminded of the theme of the Lay Associates r … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

As Einstein conceives of space curved round the sun we, borrowing his symbolism for a moment, may perhaps think of the world of Spirit as curved round the human soul; shaped to our finite understanding, and therefore presenting to us innumerable angles of approach. This means that God can and must be sought only within and through our human experience. "Where," says Jacob Boehme, "will you seek for God? Seek Him in your soul, which has proceeded out of the Eternal Nature, the living fountain of … [Read more...]


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