Four Questions about Centering Prayer and Other Forms of Contemplative Practice

I received the following email from a reader. I’m editing it slightly for the purpose of clarity, but otherwise posting it in its entirety. My question hovers around how centering prayer and Cynthia Bourgeault’s expression of it sits in tension with Orthodox traditions of the Jesus Prayer. Bourgeault figures centering…… Read more at Patheos

Requiem for a Not-Quite-Friend

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…… Read more at Patheos

Five Ways to Think About Christian Mysticism

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…… Read more at Patheos

When to Let the Sacred Word Fall Away (and When to Keep On Praying It)

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…… Read more at Patheos

Answer the Contemplative Call — For Less Than a Dollar! (Here’s a Great Idea for Your Lenten Reading)

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…… Read more at Patheos

Unteachable Lessons: Why Wisdom Can’t Be Taught (and Why That’s Okay)

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…… Read more at Patheos

Walter Hilton: A Contemplative Guide Who Will Take You Back to the Basics

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…… Read more at Patheos

Nondual Christianity and the Problem of Evil

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…… Read more at Patheos

Great Mystical Book Covers

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…… Read more at Patheos

How to Find God in Your Dreams

One night in a dream I found myself near the Ballston Metro station in Arlington, Virginia (I lived close by there at the time). But as is so often in dreamscapes, the neighborhood in my dreams was radically different than in real life. For one thing, there was a large…… Read more at Patheos

The Easy Way to Pray the Liturgy of the Hours

I believe that anyone who is serious about embracing the Christian contemplative path needs some form of sustainable daily prayer. For most of Christian history, this has meant using a breviary — a prayer book which contains prayer “services” or offices for praying throughout the day. Such collections of prayers are known as The…… Read more at Patheos

Inter-Religious Spirituality and the Contemplative Renaissance: How Our Friends From Other Faiths Helped Christians Rediscover Our Spiritual Heart

Christianity has a long history of contemplative practice. But many scholars and spiritual teachers within the faith recognize that in the centuries immediately preceding and following the Reformation, the church (at least in the west) largely lost its contemplative heart. Theologian Robert Davis Hughes III addressed this topic in his…… Read more at Patheos

Contemplation, Atheism, and Amputees

N.B. I wrote the first draft of this post about a year ago, at a time when several militant atheist commentators were active on my blog’s comment section. Eventually I banned the ones who were trollish, some of them moved on, and many of those original comments got deleted. I…… Read more at Patheos

On the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) — Let’s Practice “Presenting” Christ to One Another

Today is the feast of the presentation. It’s also traditionally known as Candlemas; it was a time when candles would be blessed —a candle, after all, emits light, and Jesus is the light of the world. If Christmas were a forty-day season instead of just a 12-day season, today would…… Read more at Patheos

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