December 2, 2019

December 3, 2019 is “Giving Tuesday.” It’s a day designed to highlight the many worthy non-profit and charitable organizations that deserve our support — not just in December, but throughout the year. May I humbly suggest that, on this Giving Tuesday, you might also consider supporting a creative professional — a writer (like me), or some other artist whose work brings joy to many people? You probably know that my work as a blogger — maintaining not only my personal… Read more

December 1, 2019

It’s the first Sunday of Advent. So liturgically speaking, it’s a new church year. Happy new year! In the spirit of making a new year’s resolution, I’d like a pose a question for discernment. I don’t have the answer to this question, certainly not all the answers. This is question that I think everyone who is drawn to contemplation and mysticism needs to be working on, together. The way we answer this question will give us insight into the “new… Read more

November 28, 2019

Here’s a list of books published in the last eighteen months on a variety of contemplative themes. Most of these books are anchored in the Christian tradition, although several have a strong inter-spiritual themes as well. Their theologies and approach to spirituality vary, as one might expect from any collection of twenty interesting and thoughtful books. But what they all have in common is a recognition that contemplative prayer and mystical spirituality matter. I am confident that there is something… Read more

November 26, 2019

If you are looking for a wonderful Christmas gift idea, I’ve got a suggestion for you: the newly released “Memorial Edition” of Grace Revisited: Epiphanies from a Trappist Monk by Fr. James Stephen Behrens, OCSO. Father James passed away suddenly earlier this year; you can read my obituary for him here: Remembering the Monk Who Wrote About Grace. At the time of his passing, all of Fr. James’s books were out of print, but the publisher was preparing a new edition… Read more

November 8, 2019

I often get asked if Christian mysticism needs the institutional church. Do you have to be a member of a church in order to be a Christian mystic? Or, to paraphrase a common way many people describe their spiritual lives: is it possible, in our day, to be “MBNR,” that is, “Mystical But Not Religious”? Almost ten years ago, on page 30 of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, I wrote the following: Mysticism is often connected with religion. Here I am… Read more

November 2, 2019

A friend of mine posted the following fascinating observation recently on Facebook: I am easing out of parish ministry because there are too many gatekeepers and not much interest in contemplative prayer. The writer is a Catholic lay minister — but I have heard or read similar words from Protestants as well as Catholics, from clergy as well as laypersons. I think this points to a serious problem within the institutional form of Christianity. The church gets so wrapped up… Read more

October 16, 2019

Today’s post is by guest contributor Dr. Marie Marquardt, who is a novelist (Dream Things True), scholar, and contemplative activist. This is the transcript of a reflection she offered at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Decatur GA, on September 22, 2019. Her thoughts are based on the following scripture passages: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; I Timothy 2:1-8; and  Luke 16:1-13 (the parable of the shrewd manager). Dr. Marquardt looks at how God’s invitation to say “Yes!” made all the difference in… Read more

October 11, 2019

One of the most beautiful passages in the New Testament — perhaps even one of the most beautiful passages in all the wisdom literature of the world — comes from the 8th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. I think anyone interested in Christian mysticism and contemplative spirituality needs to be familiar with this passage. It affirms who God is, how God loves us, how inseparable God’s love is from us, and really sets the stage for how Christian… Read more

October 4, 2019

“Follow your heart.” It’s a classic phrase of advice and encouragement, for we know that true wisdom is not just a matter of thinking logical thoughts. It emerges most assuredly from the intuition and insight that only our hearts provide. But what does it really mean to “follow your heart,” and how can the wisdom of the heart truly make a difference in our day-to-day lives? Fortunately, each of the world’s great spiritual traditions has much to say about the… Read more

September 27, 2019

Today’s post is by a guest author, Dr. David Rensberger, author of Johannine Faith and Liberating Community.  I’m a fan of the Atlanta Braves, and one day this summer I watched a pregame interview with two Braves players. They weren’t starters, but guys who sit on the bench and may go two or three games without playing. Nevertheless, they perform at a high level when called on. The interviewer asked them how they manage to be ready to play so well… Read more

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