Category

Spirituality

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The Science of Meditation (and the Relationship between Meditation and Trauma)

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A few years back the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar published an interesting article surveying what insights we can glean from the scientific study of meditation. These insights concern questions such as the health and psychological benefits of meditation, the relationship between meditation and compassion, and how meditation might impact our relationships and even our biases. It’s an...

Check Out the New Podcast from Contemplative Outreach!

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I am happy (and honored/humbled) to announce that I’ve recently appeared as a guest on the new podcast from Contemplative Outreach! Opening Minds, Opening Hearts is a new initiative from Contemplative Outreach International, hosted by Colleen Thomas and Mark Dannenfelser. Other episodes of the podcast feature wonderful folks like Lerita Coleman Brown and Adam Bucko. Definitely check it out...

The Mystical Imagination: Quotations for Reflection and Meditation

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One of my favorite topics to explore when leading a retreat is “The Mystical Imagination.” I often pair it with Centering Prayer, exploring how the silence of Centering Prayer naturally complements the inner imagery of prayer anchored in the imagination. When I lead such retreats, I often will share a variety of quotations with the retreatants to make the case for why the imagination...

Plowshare Prayer — and General Intercessions

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Yesterday I was leading a class for Zeitgeist Atlanta and one of the participants shared an amazing song by a musician named Spencer Lajoye, called the “Plowshare Prayer.” It is profoundly beautiful, and I’ve had it on repeat for pretty much the rest of the weekend. Check it out — here’s a video of a live performance of the song (you can also find it on Spotify or download...

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom — But Love Casts Out Fear

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N.B. This homily was written for the Community of Hope International at their annual retreat, during the Saturday evening Taizé service, October 8, 2022 at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas. The readings included Psalm 66:1-12, Psalm 111 and Luke 5:12-16. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This is a powerful statement, capstoning the beautiful song of praise that we find in Psalm 111...

Dying Alone (with the Angels)

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I recently received the following heartbreaking message through my website. Normally this is the kind of message that I would answer with a private email, but the person who sent it did not give me her email address. So, I’ve remove some details to protect her privacy, but here’s the message: Thank you for the recent article “Memento Mori: The Contemplation of Death and the Wonder of...

Join Carmen Acevedo Butcher for an Online Program Celebrating the Wisdom of Brother Lawrence

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On June 16, 2022 my friend and colleague Carmen Acevedo Butcher PhD is offering a free online program to explore the wisdom of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, author of The Practice of the Presence of God. Click here to register for this free event. You probably know Carmen Butcher from her luminous translation of The Cloud of Unknowing. Later this year she is releasing her latest book, in...

The Wrath of God and Wishful Thinking (or, Julian of Norwich and Biblical Images of God)

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Recently a reader of this blog wrote the following to me: I am just starting out on this journey and feel drawn to the mystical/contemplative side of Christianity.   To this end, I am using your book “Answering the Contemplative Call” and also “Growing into God” by John Mabry as my guides.   I do not have a spiritual director as yet but am trying to find one near where I live in the UK.    In the...

Concerning Contemplative Charismatics and Ecumenical Priests (Answers to Reader Questions)

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The same reader asked me both of the following questions, in two separate social media posts. but since they’re from the same person, I’m putting them together in this one post. Questions Concerning Ordained Ministry First, a question in response to Do I Have to be a Member of a Christian Church to be a Mystic? … It’s interesting what you say about seminaries. I’m...

After the Fire: Finding God in Silence and Stillness

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Like so many English-speaking Christians, I grew up immersed in the words and rhythms of the King James Version of the Holy Bible. So much of the language and lyricism of that 17th century translation of scripture has become integral parts of our cultural lexicon. Like the smart-aleck who said he refuses to read Shakespeare’s plays because they were filled with clichés, we can sometimes be...

A Meditation on the Fruit of the Spirit (A Patreon Sneak Peek)

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A note from Carl: Friends, I am currently writing a manuscript that I am calling Meditations on the Christian Mysteries. I’ve identified fifty-two key themes, wisdom teachings, and mystical principles of the Christian tradition — and each month, I take one of those themes and I wrote a meditation based on it. I’m well over halfway done — in fact, the meditation I’m sharing with you here is #37. I...

Two Essential Questions for the Mystical Journey

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I was speaking with a few friends of mine who are spiritual directors recently, and we were talking about the work they do accompanying people who seek to draw closer to God. If you are not familiar with spiritual direction, it is a ministry of interactive care, in which a person supports another in the journey into deeper intimacy with God. A spiritual director does not “direct” in...

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