March 23, 2021

Richard Beck, professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University in Texas, has just released a book that will certainly be a finalist for “most whimsical title.” Hunting Magic Eels: Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age covers a lot of ground that I love: looking at sacramentalism, Celtic spirituality, mysticism, contemplation, and even a sprinkling of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, to make the case that what Christianity needs today is not a more robust theology, more clever apologetics, more worthy... Read more

March 9, 2021

A note from Carl: Friends, I am currently writing a manuscript that I am calling Meditations on the Christian Mysteries. I’ve identified fifty-two key themes, wisdom teachings, and mystical principles of the Christian tradition — and each month, I take one of those themes and I wrote a meditation based on it. I’m over halfway done — in fact, the meditation I’m sharing with you here is #28. I hope you enjoy this meditation — and to learn more about... Read more

February 17, 2021

A reader, who chooses to remain anonymous, posed the following question: “a world shaped by peace and harmony among the people of all positive paths.” Are they all the way or is there only one way? The reader is quoting me from an article posted on my website, The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism. In short: are all religions one? Are all spiritual paths simply different expressions of the “one path” — or is there, in fact, only “one” way?... Read more

February 10, 2021

Theosis comes from the Greek θέωσις and literally means “divine state” — Theo (God, divinity) + osis (state or condition). Think of words like theology (God-talk) and kenosis (a state of emptiness) to understand how the word is constructed. Put simply and succinctly, theosis is the mystical state of being one with God, or embodying union with God. Different theological perspectives will suggest that this is something only available to us at the end of a long process of purification and enlightenment, or... Read more

February 6, 2021

Centering Prayer is a contemporary method of Christian spiritual practice that is based on teachings from ancient Christian mystics. It is based on a recognition of silence and stillness as doorways into prayer and intimacy with God. The Method of Centering Prayer Centering Prayer is, properly speaking, not a form of contemplative prayer, but rather a method of prayer that helps the praying person to prepare and consent to the gift of contemplation. It is a method of prayer that... Read more

February 2, 2021

“Everyone can pray” is the hopeful and helpful opening message of Learning to Pray, the new book from bestselling Jesuit author James Martin. But he knows that many people don’t pray — even people who never miss church on Sundays. Prayer is something that, at least for those of us who grew up in religious homes, we learn as small children — but then it seems for so many of us, we never manage to graduate from the sing-song rhythms... Read more

February 1, 2021

Last night, I had the following dream. I woke up and wrote the dream down, and here is the unedited transcript of what I wrote: Dream 1/31/21-2/1/21 I was back in high school, but not the school I attended when I was a teenager — which was in a solidly middle to upper middle class, mostly white neighborhood. This high school of my dreams felt more like the neighborhood I live in now: more urban, much more diverse, and many... Read more

January 28, 2021

A reader named Allen writes… I have heard some mystics talk about when we die and are at a higher consciousness, we are all one and one with God. But from a Christian perspective don’t we retain our individuality and live in communion with God? Whatever that means. Isn’t God meant to remake everything? A new heaven and a new Earth.  I find the thought of losing my individual person and merging as a wave into the ocean, a frightening... Read more

January 14, 2021

Friends, I’m excited to announce a major new initiative on my personal website ( Coming on February 1, 2021, I’m launching a Christian Mysticism (Un)Knowledge Base. I’ll still maintain my blog here on Patheos. This doesn’t replace my blog, but hopefully enhances the value of my writing for readers like you. What’s an “Unknowledge Base”? You might be wondering. Think of it as a help desk for exploring the world of Christian mystical spirituality. If you develop websites, you know... Read more

December 28, 2020

One of my dreams is to create a Christian Mysticism Knowledge Base (or, perhaps better described as a Christian Mysticism Un-knowledge Base!). I wrote the following questions a while back thinking that they would go into the FAQ page of a Mysticism Knowledge Base. And maybe they will. But for now, I’m publishing them here. What is Christian Mysticism? Christian mysticism, an aspect of Christian spirituality, emphasizes knowing and encountering God, here and now, in our lives today. The Christian mystics,... Read more

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