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

Devotional Reading for the Three Celtic Lents

Previously I have written about how, in ancient times, Celtic monks observed three “Lents” — which is to say, three forty-day periods of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice, in preparation for three sacred moments in the year: The actual season of Lent (forty days prior to Easter) A summertime “Lent” (forty…… Read more at Patheos

If Mystical Christianity is Shamanistic, then the Divine Office is the Drum

For years, I have thought that one of the best ways to understand Christian spirituality is by the study of shamanistic forms of spirituality and religion, typically found among indigenous cultures the world over. Wikipedia defines shamanism as “reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with…… Read more at Patheos

God is Love — and Love is a Story

If the 1959 plane crash which claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens marked “the day the music died” — as Don McLean put it — then I think we could make a case for November 12, 2018 being the day the stories died. For…… Read more at Patheos

Day of a Stranger: Forthcoming Movie Reveals a Hidden Side of Thomas Merton

Here’s a trailer for a forthcoming short film about Thomas Merton and the hermitage he lived in at the end of his life. Take a few moments and watch this. It’s a treat. And be sure to watch it to the end. “Most human speech is devised to evade being,…… Read more at Patheos

Dialogue with a Druid (About the Relationship Between the Mystical Life and Faith Community)

On Facebook recently I engaged in a dialogue with a reader named Aaron who commented on my post Letting Go of (Our Limited Image of) God. This reader describes “druidry” as “his main private practice,” although he remains connected with progressive Christianity as well. Our conversation explores the idea that sometimes,…… Read more at Patheos