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

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

The Privilege of Silence

Back in 2003, I spent a day at a relatively new monastery near Sligo, Ireland. Like many small religious foundations just getting off the ground, it was struggling, although the members of the community were filled with optimism and a sense of purpose about their shared mission. I plied one…… Read more at Patheos

Silence and Words are Like Yin and Yang: a Contemplative Spirituality Needs Both

How does language help us — or hinder us — as we try to express our understanding of God — probably the most inexpressible subject imaginable? We adults can really get lost in our God-talk (the word “theology”? All it means is “God-talk”). I love to talk to children about…… Read more at Patheos

Planting the Seed and Watching it Grow

I grew up in the suburbs, and gardening was not something my family devoted much time to. So when I got into elementary school and we had a class project of planting something — I think it was a bean or some other vegetable — I became fascinated with the…… Read more at Patheos

Is Contemplation Boring?

“This article is boring.” I don’t know of any writer who wants to get this type of feedback from a reader. It certainly isn’t the kind of comment that makes my day. But when someone made such a declaration on an article I wrote, it caught my attention — precisely…… Read more at Patheos

Mysticism, Contemplation, and Celtic Spirituality: A Guide to Books by Yours Truly

Every now and then I get an email or an in-person comment from someone who will tell me that I love my blog but they had no idea that I have also written some books. I suppose that is an indictment on my lack of talent when it comes to…… Read more at Patheos

Walking in Wonder: This Book of Conversations with John O’Donohue is Everything You Hope It Would Be

“So the spiritual life is about the liberation of God from our images of him,” said John O’Donohue. This is just one of the many nuggets of wisdom that await you when you read this wonderful new anthology of interviews with the late Irish poet and mystic John O’Donohue. Walking…… Read more at Patheos

Are Art and Mysticism Two Sides of the Same Coin?

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between contemplation and creativity. This is inspired in part by the many contemplatives who are also artists. We see this in the past — think of William Blake, or Johann Sebastian Bach, or of course poets like John of the Cross and Thomas Merton.…… Read more at Patheos

An Ocean of Light — Martin Laird’s Must-Read New Book on Contemplation

Rejoice, my friends. The author who is arguably our most eloquent and learned living authority on Christian contemplation — at least in the western church — has released a new book. And it’s a gem. Martin Laird’s An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation and Liberation combines the author’s lyrical, accessible…… Read more at Patheos

Seven Contemplative Artists/Creators Who Deserve Your Support via Patreon

Like many bloggers and other creatives, I rely on Patreon to fund my blog. Patreon is a crowdfunding website which allows people to support artists and other creatives whose work they love. But since today is “Giving Tuesday,” I’d like to talk about some other creators on Patreon who I think you…… Read more at Patheos

Three Wonderful Julian of Norwich Books

I’m not sure why the fall of 2013 belonged to Julian of Norwich (except to the extent that any time is a good time for reading and reflecting on Julian’s wisdom). What I do know is that three wonderful books about Julian were published that fall. If you’re already a…… Read more at Patheos