February 17, 2019

The other day I wrote a post about a dream I had back in the 1980s. I mentioned in that post that I used to shop at an old Catholic Bookstore that used to carry the old Image Books editions of the mystics. That was back when you could buy a mass-market paperback edition of the writings of St. John of the Cross or St. Teresa of Ávila or Julian of Norwich for just a few dollars. Ah, the glory… Read more

February 14, 2019

One night in a dream I found myself near the Ballston Metro station in Arlington, Virginia (I lived close by there at the time). But as is so often in dreamscapes, the neighborhood in my dreams was radically different than in real life. For one thing, there was a large hill, covered with lush vegetation — almost like a rain forest. I decided to climb up the hill, and made my way through the vines and trees to the crest… Read more

February 11, 2019

I believe that anyone who is serious about embracing the Christian contemplative path needs some form of sustainable daily prayer. For most of Christian history, this has meant using a breviary — a prayer book which contains prayer “services” or offices for praying throughout the day. Such collections of prayers are known as The Liturgy of the Hours or The Daily Office or The Divine Office. The Liturgy of the Hours is the structure of prayer that nearly all Christian monasteries follow. There are different liturgies for… Read more

February 8, 2019

Christianity has a long history of contemplative practice. But many scholars and spiritual teachers within the faith recognize that in the centuries immediately preceding and following the Reformation, the church (at least in the west) largely lost its contemplative heart. Theologian Robert Davis Hughes III addressed this topic in his book Beloved Dust. Hughes wrote that after the Reformation, “spirituality, especially the more contemplative or mystical side, is marginalized as dangerous to the forces of good order.” The Reformation, on one level,… Read more

February 5, 2019

N.B. I wrote the first draft of this post about a year ago, at a time when several militant atheist commentators were active on my blog’s comment section. Eventually I banned the ones who were trollish, some of them moved on, and many of those original comments got deleted. I never published this post and put it out of my mind, until recently I found it while going through some other unpublished drafts. I figured it was worth sharing with… Read more

February 2, 2019

Today is the feast of the presentation. It’s also traditionally known as Candlemas; it was a time when candles would be blessed —a candle, after all, emits light, and Jesus is the light of the world. If Christmas were a forty-day season instead of just a 12-day season, today would be the fortieth day of Christmas! And indeed, in some Christian countries today, rather than the feast of the Epiphany or the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, is considered… Read more

January 31, 2019

About ten miles or so from Thomas Merton Square in Louisville, KY — the street corner where Merton had his famous “Fourth and Walnut” epiphany in 1958 — is a Hindu house of worship, Swaminarayan Temple. Earlier this week, the temple was vandalized. The crime was described this way in the Louisville Courier Journal: Sometime between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning, vandals broke in and spray-painted “repugnant messages of hate” in the temple, [Louisville Mayor Greg] Fischer said. In an upstairs room… Read more

January 30, 2019

A friend on Facebook named Stephanie posed this question to me: Hello Carl, I am wondering if you’ve ever written anything on the subject of tithing in the church, and what that looks like in regards to a contemplative practice? I am a member of an Anglican church and participate in the weekly mass and liturgy, but there is not a “community” there for me, as there are very few folks interested in a contemplative practice or silence, and there… Read more

January 26, 2019

  One of this blog’s patrons named Aaron asked, in response to my post Nonduality in the Bible and Us: Not sure if you’ve posted one before, but is there a resource that collects verses for the mystical and non dual in the Bible? Did you have a post that had more? Also, this is just a passing thought. This post is beautiful in how it handles the non dual. But what about the shadow side of the Bible. The… Read more

January 21, 2019

I know, I know — a blog post about new years’ resolutions several weeks after the year has begun?!?! What kind of craziness is that? Sure — the first week of January is our culturally-sanctioned time for making promises to make the new year “better” — whether that means losing weight, going to the gym, decluttering the house, paying off the credit cards, being nicer to friends, or what have you. Cynics always love to point out that gyms sell… Read more

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