Sybil MacBeth: “I could tell you about Phyllis Tickle… but I won’t”


[Sybil MacBeth, creator of the amazing book and workshop series Praying in Color, wrote this post about her friend and mentor, Phyllis Tickle, who passed away several weeks ago, as many of you already know. Phyllis was a driving force and conscience behind Paraclete Press, where I have recently become editor. While I knew Phyllis, [Read More...]

The Sea Change of Mercy and Forgiveness

Source: Gabriel Sozzi, 11/27/13

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Pope in America: Implications, Collaborations, Challenges. Read other perspectives here. Pastoral, conciliatory: these are the words that keep popping up about Pope Francis. As he comes to the United States for the first time (in his life, not just since becoming pope), [Read More...]

Unlikely Instruments: A Reflection on John 20:15-16


Today’s daily meditation in Living Faith is one of mine. The reading is: Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus [Read More...]

What If You Were at the Tomb?

Fra Angelico- noli-me-tangere-featured

The story of the resurrection of Jesus — the empty tomb; the fear and awe; Mary talking with the gardener without knowing it’s Jesus — is one of the most familiar in Christianity. You might think you know all there is to know about it; maybe you’ve heard the words every year since you were a kid. There’s a wonderful contemplative method of reading scripture from the Ignatian tradition that helps you gain new understanding of familiar passages. You place yourself in the story and use your imagination to awaken the senses. Like lectio divina, of which it is a type, it helps you bypass the rational mind, which thinks it knows the story and what it means. [Read more...]

With The Zimzum of Love and his new Oprah Network TV show, Rob Bell broadens his focus but it’s all spiritual


As Rob and Kristen Bell’s book, “The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage”, blankets the country and Rob’s new TV show premieres on Oprah’s network tonight, has Rob Bell become a self-help guru and abandoned his evangelical mission of preaching the gospel? I have been asking myself variations of this question for years, while writing in the space between spirituality and self-help. The answer is that there is no separation. Talking about how to live life fully and honestly and helpfully and robustly and ethically is talking about the gospel. And talking about faith without concern for how to live life is to some extent empty words. [Read more...]

Vatican’s vendetta investigation of American women religious completes under Pope Francis, with praise instead

Sister Simone Campbell of "Nuns On The Bus" speaking in lower Manhattan. Source: Thomas Altfather Good, 2012, Wikimedia C.C.

What a difference a few years makes. With the final Vatican report of Cardinal Law’s vendetta investigation of American women religious, this ugly episode is finally put to rest. He and Pope Benedict’s team really should have finished it before they left power if they wanted a different outcome. Now under Pope Francis, Fr. Jim [Read More...]

Sybil MacBeth’s The Season of the Nativity is a trove of ideas for fellow Advent extremists


I’ve always loved Christmas. Growing up in an atheist ex-Christian household, though, the religious aspects of it were limited to: a small crèche on a side table which was never referenced or examined; a star ornament on the top of the Christmas tree; my mother’s occasional mentioning that Jesus was a Jew; and listening on [Read More...]

There Is No Other: The Radical Message of St. Francis in Jon Sweeney’s New Book


At the beginning of his new book, When Saint Francis Saved The Church, Jon Sweeney warns that what is to follow will not support the “sentimental” rendering of St. Francis as a gentle animal-loving pacifist. But that’s a bit of a tease. It’s not that he paints a different picture; it’s that he paints one much larger and more significant. St. Francis’ gentle temperament, his interactions with nature, his willingness to work with enemies of the state: these are not the point. Rather, they are evidence of a much more radical one: a view of the world in which there is no Other. [Read more...]

Benjamin Corey’s “Undiluted” Calls Fundamentalists to Return to Fundamentals of Love and Openness


“Undiluted” is more a personal testimonial than a theological treatise. It follows Corey as he encounters the authentic Jesus and struggles to follow Him, learning that this means changing his worldview from the black-and-white one his fundamentalist upbringing gave him. [Read more...]

Great Bible Intro Is That Much Better as E-textbook


My own stint with an e-textbook startup last year taught me about the complexity of the format. It’s not enough to be a digital copy of a paper book, with perhaps bookmarks and highlighting. There are already plenty of e-readers for that. You need to offer layers of utility and connectivity that could drive a [Read More...]