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“It Cracks Up the Archangels Every Time!” (“Because They Have No Taste in Comedy!”)

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I read lots of serious books: books about Christian theology, spiritual direction, the history of mysticism, and the psychology of meditation… that sort of thing. I’m not complaining — I love pretty much everything I read (actually, at this point in my life and career, if I don’t love it, I quickly stop reading it, because there’s always something else clamoring for my...

I Love These Books with “Illuminated Manuscript” Cover Designs

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Today’s post is just for fun. I was thinking this morning how much I love books that have cover art inspired by mediæval illuminated manuscript designs. So I decided to scan a few book covers from my library, and to grab a few tasty images from hither and yon online. I make no claim to own any of this art (if you’re the copyright holder and want attribution or want me to remove your...

Saving God from Religion: A Conversation with Robin Meyers

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Last week I was invited to participate in a video sponsored by my good friends from North Georgia, Mountaintop Learning (formerly Mountaintop Lectures). Mountaintop used to host events twice a year when contemporary Christian thought leaders would come to North Georgia and give a lecture series. That program was a casualty of the pandemic, but in its place Mountaintop Learning has emerged as a...

The New “My Sweet Lord” Video is Lots of Fun, But Misses the Point of the Song

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Last week, the George Harrison estate released a new, “official” video for Harrison’s 1970 masterpiece, “My Sweet Lord” from his magnum opus All Things Must Pass. It’s a playful and fun video, with a  kind  of goofy X-Files plot, featuring a star-studded cast (Mark Hamill, Fred Armison, Vanessa Bayer, Weird Al Yankovic, Rosanna Arquette, Joe Walsh, Kate...

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, and a Song About Love Between Old Friends

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Today is the fortieth anniversary of the senseless, stupid murder of former Beatle John Lennon. I was a sophomore in college when it happened, and I remember it well because December 8 was the birthday of the woman I was dating at the time. I was sitting in Heidi’s dorm room just a few minutes before midnight when her mother called to wish her a happy birthday — and dropped the bombshell...

Christianity and “Other” Philosophies — Discerning Boundaries (and When to Cross Them)

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A question came to me recently from a reader named Allen: I am reading some stoic philosophy.  Can we learn from other philosophies or is all we need to know about how to live found in church teaching and our faith? Surely there must be other approaches to daily living that are not incompatible with Christianity but not explicitly talked about in our tradition? Thanks, Allen. This is a great...

Spirituality, Fantasy, and the Divine Imagination

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On September 12 and 13, 2020, I directed an online retreat for the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on “the Spirituality of the Divine Imagination.” The retreat draws from three beloved fantasy authors: George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis — using quotations from their writings (and the writings of others who have commented on their work) to inspire reflection on how the...

Mystical Recital: Keren Dibbens-Wyatt’s Divine Prose-Poem

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Some of the greatest mystics in history have written lyrical, imaginative poetry and prose in which they express the voice of God. From Catherine of Genoa’s Spiritual Dialogue to the poetry of Hadewijch and the Diary of Saint Faustina — not to mention the Showings of Julian of Norwich — numerous mystics over the centuries have written some or all of their visionary writing expressing the...

Imagination, Creativity and Spirituality (They Go Together Well)

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Why did God give us the gift of imagination? If the idea of God giving us imagination puts you off, then why did evolution, or the universe, give it to us? It seems to me that, fairly early on in human history, the ability to visualize something other than what is front of us must have had marvelous implications for thriving in the world. The ability to imagine something different is what lies at...

Some Thoughts On the Dolphins That Are (Not) in Venice

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Shortly after the shelter-in-place orders started to show up at local and state governments across the land, I read somewhere — I don’t remember where — that dolphins had been seen in the canals of Venice. Perhaps it was this tweet: Venice hasn't seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us pic.twitter.com/RzqOq8ftCj —...

Every Mystery is a Story

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I have a guilty pleasure that I don’t think I’ve ever written about, here on my blog. Well, here goes: I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman. Years ago somebody told me I simply had to read the Sandman comics. At the time I just filed that recommendation away for future reference (I’m slowly making my way through them now). On a trip to England about fifteen years ago now, when a...

The Break-Up of the Beatles — and the Fragmented Spirituality of Our Age

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Fifty years ago today — on April 10, 1970 — the Beatles announced that they were breaking up. We now know that this had been brewing for at least two years, as the members of the band grew apart both creatively and personally. But just like there is a difference between a troubled marriage and a marriage where the couple has decided to get a divorce, so too it seemed that everything changed on...

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