December 18, 2018

“This article is boring.” I don’t know of any writer who wants to get this type of feedback from a reader. It certainly isn’t the kind of comment that makes my day. But when someone made such a declaration on an article I wrote, it caught my attention — precisely because it’s a question I ponder myself. Not so much about my skill as a writer (hey, some people will love my work, and others won’t), but rather about the… Read more

December 14, 2018

Every now and then I get an email or an in-person comment from someone who will tell me that they love my blog but they had no idea that I have also written some books. I suppose that is an indictment on my lack of talent when it comes to marketing. Oh, well, today’s blog post is an attempt to remedy that situation. So here is a list of all my books that explore Christian contemplative themes (books I wrote… Read more

December 11, 2018

“So the spiritual life is about the liberation of God from our images of him,” said John O’Donohue. This is just one of the many nuggets of wisdom that await you when you read this wonderful new anthology of interviews with the late Irish poet and mystic John O’Donohue. Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World is a new book featuring transcripts of interviews with O’Donohue, a best-selling author and Catholic-priest-turned-avatar-of-Irish-spirituality. On a number of occasions between 1997… Read more

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

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