Prayerfulness — and further thoughts on “Tame” and “Wild” Spirituality

Yesterday I finished Prayerfulness. My copy of the book came from; I get books from them as part of their reviewer program, so I owed them a review on it. This is what I wrote: Robert J. Wicks writes in the tradition of Joseph Schmidt's classic, Praying Our Experiences: An Invitation to Open Our Lives to God -- in other words, Prayerfulness is a thoughtful, grounded, and warm invitation to expand our concept of what prayer is and the role it plays in the ordinary moments of our lives. … [Read more...]

From the Wilderness to Mount Tabor

I'm still pondering the categories of "wild" and "tame" in relation to God, to the mystical life, and to my own work as a writer. If you're just joining the conversation, read yesterday's post and comments to get a sense of where I am.My fellow blogger Benjamin David Steele (whose original thoughts sparked my reflection) posted on both his and my blog that he meant no insult by describing my blog as "tame." I want to go on the record as saying I never saw that as an insult. I saw it as … [Read more...]

How to Become a Mystic

I've been thinking about how so many self-help books begin with "How to..." Consider these examples:How to Win Friends and Influence People How to Raise the Perfect Dog How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth How to Stop Worrying and Start Living How to Lie with Statistics... and there are many, many more. But to the best of my knowledge, no one has written a book on How to Become a Christian Mystic. I wonder if such a book would be useful to people. … [Read more...]


Is there a difference between "union with God" and "intimacy with God"?Unpack the etymology of intimacy and you'll find that it has to do with speaking, announcing, making known. Intimacy means self-disclosure. I tell you who I am. I listen as you tell me who you are. So there seems to be a relationship between intimacy and language. Sure, in human terms we speak of "being intimate" as a code-word for sexual intercourse, but isn't sexual intimacy a physical expression of words such as "I love … [Read more...]


For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. — Matthew 17:20 NRSV One concept I have run into again and again, both among Christians as well as among others with an interest in mysticism, is the idea that mysticism is about experience which is somehow different from faith. The logic seems to go like this: as the author of the letter to the Hebrews puts it, "fa … [Read more...]

Location, Location, Location

It is said that there are three important concerns in real estate: "Location, location, location." It's funny because it's true.If you love to golf, your dream house is adjacent to a golf course — maybe not so close that you get golf balls flying through your windows, but close enough to walk to the clubhouse. Likewise, if you love the ocean, there's nothing like beachfront property; if the lake is your thing, then you want waterfront property. And so it goes.My wife and I keep going back a … [Read more...]

Meditation Minutes

"Seven times a day I praise You." — Psalm 119:164 I took a class on spiritual formation from the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, back in the mid-1980s. The instructor, Isabella Bates, led us through a variety of meditative and contemplative practices. We met every Saturday morning from November through May for two and a half hours. It was a wonderful class. One thing that Isabella said, toward the end of the class, has stayed with me over the past 25 years. Commenting on the relationship b … [Read more...]