December 7, 2018

I lost a follower on Facebook today. I’m sure it happens all the time, but this time was unusual, in that the person announced that she was leaving. What triggered this was a quote I posted from the Benedictine monk, Fr. Bede Griffiths: I got this reply from a (soon to be former) follower: Catholic doctrine is only a myth?? I had met this person, years ago, out at the monastery; I knew her faith was important to her and… Read more

December 4, 2018

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between contemplation and creativity. This is inspired in part by the many contemplatives who are also artists. We see this in the past — think of William Blake, or Johann Sebastian Bach, or of course poets like John of the Cross and Thomas Merton. It often seems that a contemplative personality or philosophy goes hand in hand with a gift for one more forms of creative expression. Evelyn Underhill certainly understood this. She writes… Read more

November 29, 2018

Rejoice, my friends. The author who is arguably our most eloquent and learned living authority on Christian contemplation — at least in the western church — has released a new book. And it’s a gem. Martin Laird’s An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation and Liberation combines the author’s lyrical, accessible writing, along with his scholarly knowledge of the Christian contemplative tradition and astute insight into the dynamics of contemplative practice today. If you’re familiar with his previous books on contemplation,… Read more

November 27, 2018

Like many bloggers and other creatives, I rely on Patreon to fund my blog. Patreon is a crowdfunding website which allows people to support artists and other creatives whose work they love. But since today is “Giving Tuesday,” I’d like to talk about some other creators on Patreon who I think you might want to support. Since I’ve been on Patreon, I’ve connected with a number of other creators who, in some form or fashion, are doing contemplative work. Most of them… Read more

November 26, 2018

I’m not sure why the fall of 2013 belonged to Julian of Norwich (except to the extent that any time is a good time for reading and reflecting on Julian’s wisdom). What I do know is that three wonderful books about Julian were published that fall. If you’re already a Julian nut (yes, that’s a pun) like me, rejoice, for these are all worthy books to add to your library. If you have not yet discovered Julian — the medieval… Read more

November 21, 2018

Previously I have written about how, in ancient times, Celtic monks observed three “Lents” — which is to say, three forty-day periods of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice, in preparation for three sacred moments in the year: The actual season of Lent (forty days prior to Easter) A summertime “Lent” (forty days prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration) A forty-day period of Advent (prior to Christmas). I love the spirit of the three Lents, because, all told, it means that… Read more

November 15, 2018

For years, I have thought that one of the best ways to understand Christian spirituality is by the study of shamanistic forms of spirituality and religion, typically found among indigenous cultures the world over. Wikipedia defines shamanism as “reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with what [shamans] believe to be a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.” Altered states of consciousness? From Jesus’s transfiguration to Paul’s vision of the “third heaven”… Read more

November 13, 2018

If the 1959 plane crash which claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens marked “the day the music died” — as Don McLean put it — then I think we could make a case for November 12, 2018 being the day the stories died. For this was the day we lost Stan Lee. Lee — the chief storyteller behind legendary comic book superheroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther… Read more

November 5, 2018

Here’s a trailer for a forthcoming short film about Thomas Merton and the hermitage he lived in at the end of his life. Take a few moments and watch this. It’s a treat. And be sure to watch it to the end. “Most human speech is devised to evade being, and simply to keep on a stream of sound and noise and apparent meanings.” — Thomas Merton Like most indie films, the producer and director of this film are relying… Read more

November 1, 2018

On Facebook recently I engaged in a dialogue with a reader named Aaron who commented on my post Letting Go of (Our Limited Image of) God. This reader describes “druidry” as “his main private practice,” although he remains connected with progressive Christianity as well. Our conversation explores the idea that sometimes, we not only have to let go of a limited image of God, but we also may need to let go of a faith community which seems to be holding… Read more

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