January 5, 2023

Hi friends! Join me on Thursday, January 19 for a special Zoom call in which I’ll be sharing Evelyn Underhill’s Three Forms of Contemplation. Click here to register for this free program. If you’re not familiar with Evelyn Underhill, a treat awaits you. She a leading Christian mystic of the early 20th century, and her writings influenced other significant contemplatives and mystics, from C. S. Lewis to Thomas Merton to Aldous Huxley! Her 1911 book Mysticism has for over a century now been... Read more

December 6, 2022

Hi everyone! I’m so excited about an upcoming online “Centering Prayer Summit” that I’ll be participating with — I want to make sure all my Patheos friends know about it. Hosted by my friends Keith Kristich and Jana Rentzel, this program features speakers like Cynthia Bourgeault, Adam Bucko, Mary Dwyer, Phileena Nikole and others (including yours truly). Eight speakers over a two day period, and if you can’t attend all of it as it is live-streamed, you can access the... Read more

November 23, 2022

A reader of this blog wrote to me last week and asked: I am writing to ask if you have any good recommendations for spiritual reading during Advent. There are some wonderful books to explore for Advent. Some are new, some are classics, some are specifically “Advent-y” and others are simply books I’d like to recommend. So, here goes! We’ll start with the Advent themed books drawn from the wisdom of one of my favorite authors, Evelyn Underhill. Music of Eternity... Read more

November 16, 2022

It’s time for another episode from the Encountering Silence podcast! You can subscribe to Encountering Silence from all major podcast sites, or click here to visit the Encountering Silence home page. In this episode, Dr. Joy A. Schroeder, a Lutheran pastor, joins Cassidy, Kevin and me to explore the shadow side of silence — in this case, the silencing of many significants voices in the Christian tradition, of women Bible interpreters. Dr. Schroeder is a specialist in the history of... Read more

November 14, 2022

Hi friends, as you may know, this blog is made possible by the generous support of Patreon members. So I’m writing this post to give everyone a look at what your membership in Patreon will provide in 2023. If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it is an ongoing membership/crowdfunding program specifically for writers, musicians, podcasters, artists, game designers and other “content creators.” It’s a way for you to invest a small monthly amount (most people choose between $5 and $20) to support the ongoing work... Read more

October 3, 2022

A reader of this blog named Brian writes: Carl, How would you compare and contrast mysticism with gnosticism? Thanks! I suppose there are three ways to answer this question. First we’ll look at the historical sense of mysticism and gnosticism in the history of Christianity. Then, to bring it closer to the present day, we’ll consider how these words were used by a twentieth century Christian Hermetic writer, Valentin Tomberg. Finally, we can reflect on how we can make sense... Read more

September 24, 2022

There are literally hundreds of mystics in the Christian tradition alone — or, should I say, hundreds of mystics who were writers (no one knows how many great mystics were too humble to write about their union with God, and so their wisdom is lost to history). And while some mystics like Julian of Norwich only wrote a small amount, others like Thomas Merton or Teresa of Ávila left us enough writings to fill multiple books. The bottom line: if... Read more

September 15, 2022

The year 1952 in England has gotten a lot of attention lately, with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Her seventy-year reign, the longest ever for a British monarch, began with the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952. But on September 15 of that year, C. S. Lewis published the third of his seven Narnia books: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. So happy birthday, Dawn Treader! People who know me know that I love this book, which... Read more

August 20, 2022

N.B. Today’s guest post is by Carmen Acevedo Butcher, Ph.D., renowned for her luminous translation of The Cloud of Unknowing with the Book of Privy Counsel. Her latest book — a new translation of Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence — will be published on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. Order your copy by clicking here. “If the little ship of our soul is still rattled and tossed by winds or by storm, let’s wake up the God who’s resting there.” Brother Lawrence’s epistolary advice to a nun... Read more

August 6, 2022

Twice this week I have learned of the death of an acquaintance. I hesitate to say “friend” because neither of these people were friends in a close sense: one of them I hadn’t seen or been in contact with in almost four years, the other not since the mid-1990s. But they were both men I liked, and both I knew through church. One was a Jesuit priest at my parish from 2017-2018, the other the organist at Fran’s and my... Read more

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