March 22, 2019

On the day before my 58th birthday, a man who was just a few weeks older than me died. I’ll just call him “H.” I met H. when we were in the seventh grade. We went to the same church — my family and I were newcomers, joining the small Lutheran congregation after years of no religious observance. H. was the youngest son of a prominent lawyer in town; the family had been members of the church for several years…. Read more

March 8, 2019

In August 2015 I had the opportunity to record a series of videos in front of a small audience. Here are each of those videos, in the order in which they were filmed. Enjoy! Enjoy reading this blog? Click here to become a patron. Read more

March 8, 2019

Mysticism is a notoriously squirrelly word to try to define. In The Big Book of Christian Mysticism I devote an entire chapter to defining mysticism, and even then I admit that defining this word is like trying to put love into a bottle. Not long after the book was published in 2010, I was asked to lead a Friday/Saturday retreat at a Disciples of Christ Church near where I live. The topic for our time together was mysticism and contemplation. During… Read more

March 4, 2019

Today’s guest post is by Jon M. Sweeney, author of numerous books including The Pope’s Cat and When Saint Francis Saved the Church. Jon is the editor of Thomas Merton’s A Course in Christian Mysticism and the forthcoming A Course in Desert Spirituality. In today’s post he offers a reflection on how current insights about observance of the Sabbath often overlook a subtle, but important, detail — that has a surprising contemplative implication. I’ve read many books and articles, heard many… Read more

March 2, 2019

A reader of this blog wrote to ask me this question: How does Centering Prayer differ from Christian Meditation as taught by John Main? In Centering Prayer you allow the prayer word to “fall away” on it’s own. And though, in Christian Meditation, you are meant to keep repeating the Prayer Word (Maranatha) throughout the period of prayer, it too falls away and you are in the silence until one’s “inner commentator” kicks in. So how are they really different?… Read more

February 28, 2019

Update: Sorry, friends, the sale is over. But I hope you’ll still consider this book for Lenten reading — or for devotional reading at any time during the year. I love a bargain. So I’m happy to announce that, through the “BookBub” website, one of my books, Answering the Contemplative Call, is available — for a limited time — for only 99¢! (Sorry, but this is just for USA residents). This sale only lasts for four days, which means you only… Read more

February 26, 2019

My dear friends, it’s time to announce a new book that’s coming out this fall. It’s called Unteachable Lessons: Why Spirituality Can’t Be Taught… And Why That’s Okay. It will be published in September. To pre-order it now, click here. I’m very excited about this book for several reasons. Unlike my last few books, each of which focused on historical Christian spirituality — looking at the wisdom of the ancient Celtic saints or the great mystics — this book is all about today. I… Read more

February 23, 2019

Twice this month, the lesser-known English mystic Walter Hilton has shown up on this blog. First I wrote about a dream I had, and how I think Hilton inspired me to dream about a “Hilton Hotel.” Then I wrote about some of my favorite “mystical book covers” and one of the books I featured on that post was the old Image Books edition of Walter Hilton’s classic, The Stairway of Perfection (also called The Scale of Perfection). So it only seemed right to… Read more

February 20, 2019

A reader of one of my previous blog posts sent me this question via Facebook messenger. I read your article about non dualism Nonduality in the Bible … and us. So what about scriptures about God hating sin, wickedness, evildoers etc… Or am I misunderstanding? Also there’s a lot of scriptures contrasting God as light and Satan/evil as darkness. So how can these be understood in the mindset of nonduality? Thanks for your question. To answer it, first we need… Read more

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

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