Carl McColman is a contemplative writer, speaker, teacher, soul friend, and storyteller.
He is the author of numerous books, including The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom and Unteachable Lessons. His latest book, Eternal Heart, was published in the summer of 2021. He is now writing a book on finding the mystical wisdom in the Bible.
Several of Carl’s books have won awards or recognition, notably Befriending Silence which won the 2015 “Georgia Author of the Year” award in the field of inspirational/religious writing. His work has been warmly endorsed by many leading voices in the field of Christian spirituality, such as bestselling author Brian D. McLaren who said, “If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.”
Carl studied at James Madison University (BA, English) and George Mason University (MA, Professional Writing and Editing). His formation in the spiritual life includes training with the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC; the Institute for Pastoral Studies in Atlanta; and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA; where Carl is a Life-Professed Lay Cistercian: a layperson under formal spiritual guidance with the Trappist monks.
After a career as a bookseller, he entered into full-time lay ministry as a retreat director, writer and speaker. Since 2016 he and his wife have served as adult catechists, co-directing the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) process at their parish. He is a commissioned Centering Prayer presenter with Contemplative Outreach of North Georgia, and a spiritual director serving individuals both in metro Atlanta and online.
Carl’s writing appears on numerous websites, including Patheos, the Huffington Post, Day One, Contemplative Life, and Medium. He regularly posts new content to his personal blog at www.anamchara.com/blog on topics such as Christian mysticism, contemplative practice, Celtic spirituality, and interspirituality (interreligious dialogue).
Carl co-hosts the Encountering Silence podcast with filmmaker Cassidy Hall and theologian Kevin Johnson. He also creates video and audio content for his website.
Carl and his wife, artist Fran McColman, live near Atlanta in a small house filled with cats, books, icons and love. Their daughter, Rhiannon, passed away after a long illness at age 29 in 2014. When they take a break from their creative work, you may find Carl and Fran wandering around the mountains of western North Carolina or taking long walks along the Emerald Coast of Florida.
Books by Carl McColman
Carl's style of writing is so down-to-earth, so honest, human, and normal... If you don't know about Carl McColman and his work, you should. — Brian McLaren
Carl McColman leads us to the brink of lessons no book can teach, then frees us to go forward to learn them, trusting the God who meets us at every step of the unknown way. — Barbara Brown Taylor
Carl McColman gives you much wise direction and broad understanding of the field of contemplative theory and practice. Here is your teacher! — Richard Rohr
Carl McColman presents the classic precepts and practices of the Christian contemplative path in a clear and helpful way.
— Cynthia Bourgeault
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
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
Carl McColman leads us further into our hearts as sleuths in the mystery of life. What joy!
— Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Contemplation begins with Wonder.
What Are you Wondering About Today?
Columbia Theological Seminary has a splendid certificate program for spiritual formation, and this four-week online course is the introductory program for those who wish to participate. But even if you …
I am SO excited to be returning to Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY! I was honored to lead several online retreats for this monastic community during the pandemic; …
I’m so pleased to be returning to Ignatius House for my first in-person retreat since before the pandemic! I’ve been asked to revisit one of my most popular retreats, which …
I recently had a conversation with my friend and colleague Alice Camille (author of books like Isaiah and the Kingdom of Peace) about our shared love for Star Trek. Well, before …
Latest Blog Posts
Sigh. Last night I stumbled across yet another website from a well-meaning, but obviously misinformed, Catholic blogger who attacks Centering Prayer as “un-Catholic.” Not only has she spilled a lot …
Mysticism crosses all religious and spiritual boundaries. In other words, mysticism — like prayer or meditation or worship or sacrifice — is a universal spiritual/religious concept, not something that is …
Last night I had this dream: Fran and I were visiting friends who had a beautiful house out in the woods. The house was covered with natural wood paneling that …
The Encountering Silence podcast, which I co-host, is available through all the normal podcast channels, from Apple (iTunes) to Google to Spotify to Amazon. So please listen to it using …
Have you ever heard of the Enneagram or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? These are psychological tools that we can use to discover the unique characteristics of our personalities. Are you …
Recently I had an email exchange with a long-standing reader of this blog. With that person’s permission, I am sharing the conversation here, edited to protect the reader’s privacy. The …
Work with Carl
Carl McColman has a limited practice of spiritual direction — a one-on-one opportunity for Carl to accompany you as you seek to move more deeply into the life of prayer. Learn More »
Carl is also available to churches and other organizations, to lead retreats or classes (online or in person) related to contemplative spirituality. Make a Booking Inquiry »
The Mystics show us a new way of being...
Silence. Love. Joy.
“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God…”
In every heart there is a place of infinite longing.
— Carl McColman