April 23, 2019

Since I have written about witchcraft and neopaganism — both books and posts on this blog — I often get requests, especially from Christians, who are seeking advice about their interest in magic. When I answer such requests, I try to be kind, thoughtful, and to avoid the knee-jerk reaction that too many Christians have (“you can’t explore witchcraft, it would be wrong!”). At the same time, since I am someone who explored neopaganism for several years but ultimately returned… Read more

April 22, 2019

Note from Carl: Today’s guest post is by Phileena Heuertz, and is an excerpt from her latest book, Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation. It seems to be especially appropriate for Earth Day — but it’s really a message we need to hear every day. Every day is a new invitation to wake up. Let’s answer the call! Life is short. Our human family is destroying itself and the planet. Our destruction of one another and the world we live in is… Read more

April 19, 2019

Over the past month I have written several posts about Centering Prayer and contemplation, all in response to an email I received from an Episcopal priest with some thought-provoking questions about the theory and practice of contemplative spirituality. You can read the original email here. Here are the posts I’ve written in response to that email: Is Centering Prayer “Old” or “New”? The Poetics of Faith, or Why Centering Prayer is a Method and Not a Technique Intention, Attention, and… Read more

April 14, 2019

A Meditation for Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea,… Read more

April 13, 2019

Alleluia! Lent is almost over! In just a few days to come we will journey through the Sacred Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, culminating in the Great Vigil of Easter, marking the Resurrection of Christ—and the end, for another year, of our Lenten fasts and sacrifices. Right? Well . . . not exactly — at least, not if you look to the Rule of Saint Benedict for Spiritual Guidance. In chapter 49 of the Rule, Saint… Read more

April 8, 2019

This is the third of a series of blog posts in response to a lengthy email I received a few weeks ago from an Episcopal priest who is a veteran centering prayer practitioner. You can read the email in its entirety here, and then the first post and the second post I wrote in response to this email. Today I want to look at this question: I wonder about this hard and fast distinction between so-called concentrative methods and receptive… Read more

April 2, 2019

Recently on social I media I offered this observation: My online friend James Ishmael Ford, author of books like Introduction to Zen Koans and Zen Master Who?, reposted it to his timeline, dutifully crediting me as the source. I was surprised — and a bit bemused — by the response. James is a retired UU minister and a Zen priest (he also has a wonderful blog here on Patheos). So it’s only natural that his readers come at religion — and science, and… Read more

April 1, 2019

Asheville, NC is one of my favorite places in the world. Beautiful mountains, a thriving city with a vibrant arts scene (not to mention craft breweries and great restaurants), and home to some wonderful Christian communities, from the Wild Goose Festival which takes place every summer, to Haw Creek Commons — a young intentional community that is actively reinventing how to do “church” in our time. I’m thrilled to report to Haw Creek Commons has invited me to present two contemplative programs the… Read more

March 26, 2019

Last week on this blog I posted a detailed email I received from a reader which included several wonderful questions. You can read the full email here. I’m going to take on the questions from that email one at a time. This week, we’re considering “is centering prayer something old or something new.” Here’s the question in the reader’s own words…. My question hovers around how centering prayer and Cynthia Bourgeault’s expression of it sits in tension with Orthodox traditions… Read more

March 22, 2019

I received the following email from a reader. I’m editing it slightly for the purpose of clarity, but otherwise posting it in its entirety. My question hovers around how centering prayer and Cynthia Bourgeault’s expression of it sits in tension with Orthodox traditions of the Jesus Prayer. Bourgeault figures centering prayer as a unique and innovative method of contemplation that represents something new. I’m an Episcopal priest and new is really not my thing. I’m interested in recovery of the… Read more

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