Kind Words

If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.

What Frommers, Rick Steves, and Lonely Planet are to travel guides for physical locales, Carl McColman is fast becoming for the spiritual journey. There is so much that recommends Answering the Contemplative Call — Carl’s own depth of experience, his wonderful ability to bring in apt quotations from the great contemplative saints of history, his ability to be both simple and deep without ever becoming simplistic or murky. As I read this delightful guide, I kept thinking of friends with whom I want to share this treasure — a travel guide to an adventurous journey that will last forever.Brian D. McLaren
Author of A Generous Orthodoxy

Mysticism is not mystifying at all, but simple, always available, and utterly clarifying. Carl McColman’s Big Book of Christian Mysticism will allow you to experience this for yourself! Christians and all Seekers will find both meat and dessert in such a full meal.Richard Rohr, OFM
Author of The Naked Now
Carl is an excellent communicator, respectful and deeply versed in contemplative spirituality. His knowledge of the subject is backed up by his willingness to share his personal journey lived in the context of his relationship with the Cistercian monks of Holy Spirit Abbey. It was an honour to have Carl with us in Dublin.Father Jim Caffrey
Parishes of St. Brigid, Killester and Our Lady of Mercy, Artane, Dublin, Ireland
Carl McColman masterfully maps out for the serious spiritual seeker the nature of the mystical experience and outlines a clear and accessible pathway on how to get there.Kyriacos C. Markides
Author of The Mountain of Silence
Charmingly and conversationally written, but also rich in nuance and thorough in its coverage and its attention to detail, The Big Book is, as its name suggests, a big … even an enormous … contribution to our current literature on the subject. Highly recommended.Phyllis Tickle
Author of The Great Emergence
Carl is an authentic and captivating retreat leader and author. The joy and love of God emanates through him, his writing and his teaching as he brings to life some of the deepest secrets of the Christian spiritual tradition. The Reverend Deedra Rich
Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA
Overflowing with jewels of wisdom, Carl McColman’s generous new book, Answering the Contemplative Call, invites us on a journey of love where everyone is welcome and worthy, and it is impossible to get lost. It is a journey that necessarily begins within, and leads ever-deeper inward, to a place of resonant silence. Bountiful quotes from mystics who have walked the path before us provide a series of luminous stepping-stones for own adventure.Mirabai Starr
Author of God of Love
Carl McColman has both studied and practised the Christian mystical tradition, stressing its earthiness and ‘ordinariness’. Like Thomas Merton, Michael Ramsey and others, he holds that mysticism is not an esoteric realm, reserved for the very holy, but is what all Christian life is about. I strongly commend his book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism.Kenneth Leech
Author of Soul Friend
An artful retreat leader, Carl guided us beautifully on a journey into the depths of our souls by way of storytelling, contemplative prayer and silence. Novices and experts alike walked away fully enriched and whole by resting in God and basking in the communal love Carl brought to this gathering.Linda Flynn
Director, Charlotte Spirituality Center, Charlotte, NC
In Answering the Contemplative Call, Carl McColman creates a safe and beautiful space where each of us can come–human as we are–and learn how possible it is to befriend silence and to live in the certain joy of daily intimacy with God. Carl is a wise and gentle guide, and brilliantly well-read, just the sort of kind friend one welcomes to take us further into the mysteries of love, together.Carmen Acevedo Butcher
Translator of The Cloud of Unknowing
The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is a masterpiece of scholarship and wisdom. Carl McColman obviously earned his understanding of mysticism through years of research as well as his own personal spiritual journey and there is no more powerful combination for inspired writing.Carolyn Myss
Author of Entering the Castle
These days, my favorite Christian blogger is probably Carl McColman. I suggest checking him out. Very, very interesting guy…James Ishmael Ford
Author of Zen Master Who?
A contemplative seeker will find a mature, sane, reliable guide to that path in Answering the Contemplative Call. I found it full of the experiential spiritual wisdom found on that path, leading us into ever deeper intimacy with God. He well says that it is a path that belongs to everyone.
Any beginner on that path will find much selected wisdom from the great mystics of Christian tradition, along with McColman’s own gifted way of presenting that wisdom in an understandable and inspiring/insightful way for us.
More experienced contemplatives will recognize and benefit from re-looking at many dimensions and hopes of their own spiritual journeys in these pages as well.
Christian mystical tradition comes alive in both realistic and alluring ways in McColman’s lucid writing. It is an important contribution to the re-awakening and democratization of contemplative tradition in our time; that tradition carries so much of the depth of spiritual practice and awareness so needed in the church and world today.Tilden Edwards
Author of Embracing the Call to Spiritual Depth
A wise and supportive guidebook for those going deeper on the Christian mystical path, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is grounded in sound scholarship and thoughtful reflection (often surprisingly fresh and insightful!), but what makes it sing is the authenticity of the author’s own contemplative journey.Cynthia Bourgeault
Author of Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
I have known Carl McColman for many years, as a friend, as a Lay Cistercian, as a frequent lecturer on our retreats in the retreat house, and in his capacity as a worker in our Abbey Store.  I can attest to his fine character and his solid Catholic orthodoxy.  He has a broad working knowledge of our faith and other religious traditions and has a wonderful way with people.  I always enjoyed the many times I assisted him when he led retreats here at the monastery.  He is an excellent and well informed teacher and has a gift for making people feel very much at home.  I have never failed to be impressed with his generosity when it came to offering his time, his insights, his advice.Father James Behrens, OCSO
Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, GA
Answering the Contemplative Call not only offers a clear and compelling invitation to the contemplative life, but it points us toward the ineffable territory of the “pathless path”. With deep insight and clarity framed by a lighthearted style, Carl McColman invites us to awaken to the Divine Mystery within and all around us.Robert V. Thompson
Author of A Voluptuous God
With his Big Book of Christian Mysticism Carl McColman has pulled off a tour de force: a work on Christian mysticism that is broadly accessible, but deep; scholarly but not pedantic; reverent, but judicious; thorough, but a good read; an excellent introduction to the subject for the general reader, but with plenty of meat for the specialist. Highly recommended for the neophyte, the informed, and the expert alike.Robert Davis Hughes, III
Author of Beloved Dust
Carl McColman used a wonderful mixture of silence, prayer, humor, and teaching as he led our retreat.  He created a meaningful time for those who are new to the contemplative life as well as those with previous experience.The Reverend Katrina Paxson
St. Paul United Methodist Church, Louisville, KY
Who else but Carl McColman could write such a magnificent primer on contemplative spirituality as Answering the Contemplative Call. If you long to journey deeper into the heart of God then this wise, accessible, practical, and engaging book should be on the top of your list. It is a first rate contribution to the conversation about the vital relevance of ancient spiritual practices for contemporary people thirsting for communion with God.Ian Morgan Cron
Author of Chasing Francis
A brilliant contribution from a clear, concise and articulate author! Carl McColman’s The Big Book of Christian Mysticism deepens the conversation as he explores the paradoxes of the mystical/traditional approaches, outlines the bias against cultivating an interior life and illuminates the reader on practices to embrace in order to relate to a dynamic Living God.Lauren Artress
Author of Walking a Sacred Path
Carl, thanks for a great weekend. All the evaluations were through the roof. You really connected with the group. Brother Joseph Guyon, CO
The Oratory, Rock Hill, SC
It is not often that a book is like Answering the Contemplative Call — both very practical and very inspiring at the same time. Carl McColman gives you much wise direction and broad understanding of the field of contemplative theory and practice. The need is too great today to waste time relearning what has already been learned—so well. Here is your teacher!Richard Rohr, OFM
Author of Immortal Diamond
The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is truly a work of art as well as a spiritual guide for those who want to know more about Christian mysticism. Writing for a broad audience of readers, Carl wants everyone to become aware of that rich history and its potential meaning for today. He writes in a lively, engaging style, but his work comes out of deep wells of spiritual wisdom. Appealing to both head and heart, his book not only makes the history of Christian mysticism accessible, but also provides for readers guidance in prayer, contemplation, and transformation itself. For Carl, the great mystics are not just people specially gifted, but soul friends and spiritual mentors for anyone who seeks to live today with some degree of interiority, integrity, and joy. I highly recommend this book not only for general readers interested in mysticism and spirituality, but also for undergraduate or graduate students who need an introduction to what Carl himself calls “this ancient wisdom tradition.”Edward C. Sellner, PhD
Author of Wisdom of the Celtic Saints
Anyone who is an aspiring mystic should read The Aspiring Mystic! It is a wise yet practical guide for the sacred journey into the mysteries of the soul.Denise Linn
Author of Soul Coaching
In this three-part narration of the spiritual journey, Carl McColman, in his own inimitable style, demystifies the mystical and clearly points toward a rich and rewarding life journey to be taken here and now. In his previous writings he has demonstrated a remarkable ability to break into bite sized pieces some really obscure, profound and paradoxical truths. Answering the Contemplative Call continues this approach as he explores the profound but elusive pathway of the mystic. If you find yourself haunted with a hunger “for something more” in life, this book will guide you in this eternal quest.Ben Campbell Johnson
Author of Hearing God's Call
In The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Carl McColman offers us a thorough and engaging exploration of Christian mysticism which he defines as a form of alchemy – that is, transformation through the Source of all Love. His wise and clear writing takes us on a wide journey through both classical and contemporary mystic guides. Ultimately he invites us to catch a glimpse of the heart of Mystery through concrete suggestions for mystical practice and be transformed ourselves.Christine Valters Paintner
Author of The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom
Carl McColman’s website is a beautiful site that lists books and web sites introducing all aspects of Christian mysticism.Abbot Christopher Jamison
Author of Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life
There is a sweetness—a candor—a gentleness to McColman’s work that makes him the most desirable of guides into the holy places of the soul. But there is also, as one would expect from such quietness, the enabling authority of one who knows and who, knowing, can wisely tell and share. Answering the Contemplative Call is a book to savor and then to treasure.Phyllis Tickle
Author of Emergence Christianity
The Big Book of Christian Mysticism provides a remarkable overview of the riches, wisdom, paradoxes, practices, and major figures in Christian mysticism.Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Author of Spiritual Literacy
Drawing from various religious traditions, particularly Christianity, Carl McColman shows us that Spirituality is a way of life in which we encounter and respond to the Sacred through all aspects of our lives. As he dialogues with many resources — books, song, films, life stories — McColman illustrates the daily and varied dynamics of spirituality.Mary Reuter, O.S.B.
Author of Running with Expanded Heart: Meeting God in Everyday Life
Carl McColman’s The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is an excellent introduction to the topic for beginners and is informative to those who have read widely on the topic. Its prose is inviting, its subject matter accessible, and its wisdom is that of the Christian tradition. It informs and inspires.Dana Greene
Author of Evelyn Underhill: Artist of the Infinite Life
Carl was well received by his audience here in Portland, OR. He demonstrated a broad depth of knowledge of his subject matter which he presents with high energy, scholarship, and good humor in an accessible format. He is attentive and personable with a willingness to spend time in one on one and group conversation in addition to his formal presentations. I heartily recommend him.The Reverend Charles Cooper
Director, Institute for Progressive Spirituality, Portland, OR
Mysticism is at the heart of faith, whatever religious or denominational flag we raise. Thoughtful, well-written doorways into these mysteries, such as The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, matter a great deal to all of us who seek communion with the Mystery Itself.Robert Benson
Author of In Constant Prayer
Spirituality provides multiple doorways of comfort and insight through wonder, prayer, and the true meaning of humility, worship, and sacrifice — a practical book for personal, professional, and deep interior exploration.Angeles Arrien
Author of Living in Gratitude
If you are looking for both a primer on Christian mysticism as well as an in-depth treatment of this oft-misunderstood aspect of the spiritual life, here is your book. Readable, useful, well-researched, Carl McColman’s The Big Book of Christian Mysticism helps both the novice and those already well along on the journey toward a deeper relationship with God to see that mysticism is ultimately not at all a mysterious quest, but a human — and possible — one.Paul Wilkes
Author of Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life
Written for Christian seekers, The Aspiring Mystic is accessible and full of gentle common sense.Judy Harrow
Author of Spiritual Mentoring
Before I heard about The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, I had been thinking about how such a book has been needed for a long time. Now, having read it, I’m glad we waited for Carl McColman to come along to write it. It’s accessible, human, well-informed, balanced, broad … just what we needed.Brian D. McLaren
Author of A Generous Orthodoxy
Listening to Carl was like being present while a grand-slam home run was taking place: articulate, warm, intelligent — an excellent presenter of some rather challenging concepts.Ruth Hopkinson
Member of Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists
In this delightfully accessible book, Carl McColman dispels the notion that Christian mysticism exists somewhere in the ether, and reveals its solid, earthy roots. If you want a rich, nourishing life of faith, and virtues that flourish like wildflowers, read The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, and let the good news in it transform you.Claudia Mair Burney
Author of God Alone is Enough
Carl McColman is part Ken Wilber, part Richard Rohr, and part Indiana Jones’ dad.Brittian Bullock