Religious Violence, Hate Crimes, and Contemplation

About ten miles or so from Thomas Merton Square in Louisville, KY — the street corner where Merton had his famous “Fourth and Walnut” epiphany in 1958 — is a Hindu house of worship, Swaminarayan Temple. Earlier this week, the temple was vandalized. The crime was described this way in the Louisville…… Read more at Patheos

A Contemplative Perspective on Tithing (At Church… and Beyond)

A friend on Facebook named Stephanie posed this question to me: Hello Carl, I am wondering if you’ve ever written anything on the subject of tithing in the church, and what that looks like in regards to a contemplative practice? I am a member of an Anglican church and participate…… Read more at Patheos

Celebrating Mary Oliver (Episode 49)

“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?” asks Mary Oliver in  her poem “The Summer Day.” On January 17, 2019, her many fans — including the co-hosts of this podcast — discovered just how real this question was, as we reeled from the news of Oliver’s death at the age of 83. Even before … Continue reading Celebrating Mary Oliver (Episode 49) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Navigating through the Bible’s Shadow

  One of this blog’s patrons named Aaron asked, in response to my post Nonduality in the Bible and Us: Not sure if you’ve posted one before, but is there a resource that collects verses for the mystical and non dual in the Bible? Did you have a post that…… Read more at Patheos

Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part Two (Episode 48)

Today’s episode is part two of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one. “All words begin as silence,” proclaims Andō on her Patreon page.  Indeed, those five words provide an auspicious introduction to this enigmatic yet joyful contemplative Zen poet. As a lay monastic, Andō has spent many years living a monastic … Continue reading Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part Two (Episode 48) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Seven Contemplative New Year’s Resolutions (That Are Worth Adopting Any Time of the Year)

I know, I know — a blog post about new years’ resolutions several weeks after the year has begun?!?! What kind of craziness is that? Sure — the first week of January is our culturally-sanctioned time for making promises to make the new year “better” — whether that means losing…… Read more at Patheos

Understanding How Contemplation and Mysticism are Different (and Similar)

Sometimes people will ask me if “contemplation” and “mysticism” are synonyms. I admit: I often use the words interchangeably. But if they meant exactly the same thing, then one word would be redundant, right? So perhaps it’s worth taking a moment to consider how contemplation and mysticism describe two slightly…… Read more at Patheos

Another Way to Explore Silence — with this Reading List of 101 “Silence Books”

Hello friends! If you’re like us, chances are you enjoy reading — and we hope you will enjoy the following list of over 100 books that address the importance of silence in our lives. As you look over the list, you’ll see it represents a variety of perspectives: some of these books are Christian, some … Continue reading Another Way to Explore Silence — with this Reading List of 101 “Silence Books” → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part 1 (Episode 47)

“All words begin as silence,” proclaims Andō on her Patreon page.  Indeed, those five words provide an auspicious introduction to this enigmatic yet joyful contemplative Zen poet. As a lay monastic, Andō has spent many years living a monastic life in the forest. In her own words, “Spending five years living quietly in the forest, … Continue reading Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part 1 (Episode 47) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Twelve Contemplative Books for Spiritual Transformation

A reader named Andrew wrote to me and asked this question: What do you think the key books are in the Christian tradition on spiritual transformation? How about a top ten? Another reason for asking is that church leaders might find the story interesting as the main goal, or one…… Read more at Patheos

“I feel called to a life of solitude. What should I do?”

A reader named Thomas wrote to me: Dear Sir; Blessings.  Where can a person go to be a hermit.  I am called to a life of solitude.  But I don’t know where to go.  Do you have any ideas? Dear Thomas, Thanks for writing. Feeling called to a life of…… Read more at Patheos

The Contemplative Life in Three Easy Steps

Origen of Alexandria came up with the idea first. Unless you’re a Christian history geek, chances are you’ve never heard of Origen. He lived in Egypt from about 185 to 253—meaning he was a third-century Christian, who died sixty years before Constantine decriminalized the faith. In other words, he lived…… Read more at Patheos

Richard Rohr in Conversation with Cassidy Hall (Episode 46)

Richard Rohr sat down with Cassidy Hall in Chicago last month, at the conference “‘Disappear from View’? Thomas Merton, Fifty Years Later and Beyond” which commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Merton’s death. If I had to choose between music and silence, I’d always choose silence. — Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM In this informal chat, Fr. Richard … Continue reading Richard Rohr in Conversation with Cassidy Hall (Episode 46) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

After the Silence, or, the Long Process of Forming a Contemplative Life

So you’ve been to a centering prayer workshop or two, and now you participate in a weekly centering prayer group. You are committed to praying silently twice a day — at least most days. You go on retreat at a monastery or retreat center once or twice a year, and…… Read more at Patheos

Silence is Not a Vow (Not Even for Monks)

“There are times when good words are to be left unsaid out of esteem for silence.” — Saint Benedict A common misunderstanding of Trappist monks and nuns is the erroneous belief that they make a “vow of silence.” In fact, no such vow has ever been part of Christian monastic life,…… Read more at Patheos