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...]

Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's TaleBy Ian Morgan CronColorado Springs: Navpress, 2006Review by Carl McColmanFrancis of Assisi might not be the first figure who comes to mind as a mentor and inspiration for a twenty-first century evangelical pastor, but in this enjoyable and thought-provoking teaching novel by Ian Cron, Francis turns out to be just the figure to both encourage and challenge a "successful" pastor who is dealing with issues related to burnout. The hero of this tale is … [Read more...]

Finding the Monk Within

Finding the Monk Within: Great Monastic Values for Today By Edward C. Sellner Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanEd Sellner is known primarily for his writing on various aspects of the Celtic Christian spiritual tradition (such as Wisdom of the Celtic Saints). And indeed, one of the most beautifully written chapters in Finding the Monk Within concerns Brigid of Kildare, well known as an Irish saint but also remarkable for being the Abbess of a mixed gender monastery. But in … [Read more...]