Friends, I’m really excited about a new writing project I am launching next month through Patreon. I hope you will prayerfully consider joining me on this adventure.
Patreon is the crowdfunding website where readers like you are invited to support this blog and my other writing projects. Patrons through Patreon get early access to my current and future writing projects, including this new initiative. To learn more and to become a patron, click here.
This new project is called Contemplative Compass. It will be a monthly newsletter with original content, not available anywhere else, designed to offer practical, day-to-day support for people who are embracing the mystical element of Christianity. It’s for anyone who wants to explore the mystical side of Christianity. That includes Christians as well as non-Christians or spiritually independent persons who recognize that the mystical dimension of Christianity speaks to everyone.
Karl Rahner famously said “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist.” I think we are already living in the future Rahner (who died in 1984) was talking about. Many churches are facing declining and aging membership, and some are even closing their doors. The institutional side of Christianity is in crisis.
More and more people — especially young people — don’t want to be part of a religious institution.
But Christianity is more than just an institution. It preserves, generation after generation, a beautiful, deeply transformational, but largely hidden lineage of mystical, contemplative wisdom. And it is that dimension of Christianity — often unknown to the institutional side of the religion — that inspires and excites me, and that I am dedicated to exploring with the patrons who sign up for Contemplative Compass.
I know that the last thing most people need are tons of emails showing up every day (I know, you’re already reading Richard Rohr!) — so for Patreon supporters who sign up for Contemplative Compass, I only will be sending an email once a week. Some of these emails will be devotional in nature: original poetry or meditations that are written to support your daily practice. Once a month I’ll send out an informal, “behind the scenes” newsletter. But the heart of the program will be the Contemplative Compass email, with all-new material each month written expressly to support your practice — your contemplative journey.
Following the “compass” metaphor, each month I’ll be exploring four “directions” for cultivating our contemplative practice:
- Reflect on the Mysteries — Live the questions of the spiritual life. Each month we’ll explore a question designed to foster and cultivate our deepening sense of wonder and encounter with the mystery that lies at the heart of the contemplative search. God seeks you — and does so by instilling in your heart a place of infinite longing. We’ll explore the questions that open that longing up to embrace the infinite.
- Remember the Great Mystics — Honor the exemplars, the saints, visionaries, sages and teachers, from centuries ago or alive today, who embodied the promise and possibility of mystical spirituality. Each month we’ll celebrate a wisdom keeper whose life and teachings truly show us how to move deeper on the path.
- Receive the Wisdom of Silence — Embrace the heart of the mystical life, by opening your heart and mind each day to the guidance that can only come directly from the Spirit, at a level deeper than words. Each month we’ll explore another facet of silent prayer and practice, always with an eye toward resting in the gift that is given: an invitation to go deeper to that place where we can be still and know.
- Respond to your Unique Call — It has been said that the mystic is not a special kind of person, but each person is a special kind of mystic. There is no one-size-fits-all path into the mystical heart of Christianity. This is why Christianity has no “gurus” — only spiritual companions (like you and me) who accompany one another as we each seek to respond more fully to the guidance of the Spirit. Each month we’ll consider a virtue, a prayer practice, a Biblical story, or some other aspect of contemplation that can help us to more fully live the joyful, transformational, contemplative life we are called to live.
My hope for Contemplative Compass is that it will be a blessing for people of all walks of life and all stages on their spiritual journey: beginners as well as seasoned practitioners, devout churchgoing Christians as well as the spiritually independent. It’s meant to be an inclusive guide to what unites us, what calls us deeper, and what offers us transformation and possibility. In other words, it is meant to celebrate the spirituality of mystical love.
Contemplative Compass will not replace my blog, which I will continue to update as frequently as my schedule permits (most weeks I publish 2 – 3 new posts between my three blogs). The blog remains free for all readers — it is a ministry that I remain committed to doing as long as I can (and as long as people express an interest in it). But like the other content that is available exclusively on Patreon, Contemplative Compass is offered as a special thank-you gift for those who are able and willing to support my work through Patreon.
The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or will not exist. — Karl Rahner, SJ
Patrons will also have the ability to interact directly with me and the other subscribers of Contemplative Compass through the “Community” page on my Patreon site, where we can share with one another our experiences with the material we explore each month.
You can support this blog and my other writing projects for as little as $1 a month. There are six levels of support — each one offers specific rewards for those who sign up. The subscription to Contemplative Compass (which includes new poetry and meditations each month as well) is $10 per month. But there are others levels if you need to make a smaller pledge, or would like to make a larger one.
Remember, your financial support is not only a way of helping me (which I appreciate!), but also helps to keep new content posting to all of my blogs, which in turn helps more and more people each month discover the splendor and spiritual wisdom of contemplative Christianity. Thank you for doing your part to support this ministry!
If you aren’t familiar with Patreon — it’s a crowdfunding platform for creative professionals. It’s basically the means by which I am able to publish new content on my blogs (here, and Via Mystica, and my blog at Patheos). The support I receive through Patreon makes it possible not only for me to write every day, but also to continue doing the research that allows me to keep growing as a writer and a student of the mystical path. My blogs will always be 100% free (and the ones that I manage, I intend to keep ad-free), thanks to Patreon. So if you find my writing helpful, and would like to help make sure new content keeps coming, I hope you will prayerfully consider joining the circle of patrons. To do so, click here: www.patreon.com/carlmccolman.
Thank you! See you on the path!