Selected as one of the best spiritual books of 2010 by www.spiritualityandpractice.com!
Mysticism is a topic many people associate with eastern spiritual practices such as Zen Buddhism or yoga. But Christianity has its own mystical tradition with a long and rich history that reaches back to the New Testament — and remains surprisingly relevant today. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism explores this rich tradition and shows how it can be a powerful tool for transformation and the experience of the Divine.
One of the greatest Christian theologians of the twentieth century, Karl Rahner, once said “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” Such a statement challenges Christians of our day (we live in Rahner’s future!) to consider the role of mysticism in the Christian life. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism does just that.
As an introduction to Christian mysticism and an exploration of why mysticism remains relevant in our time, the first part of the book explores the question of what mysticism is, examining its Biblical roots, its paradoxical nature, and how Christian mysticism has evolved over time. The second part of the book considers how mysticism can make a difference in the lives of ordinary Christians today, considering how spiritual practices such as lectio divina, meditation, and contemplative prayer can foster a deeper openness to Divine presence. An extensive list of the greatest Christian mystics, a recommended reading list, and a bibliography round out this in-depth introduction.
Praise for The Big Book of Christian Mysticism:
“Mysticism is not mystifying at all, but simple, always available, and utterly clarifying. Carl McColman’s much needed book will allow you to experience this for yourself. Christians and all Seekers will find both meat and dessert in such a full meal.”
Richard Rohr, author of The Naked Now and Everything Belongs
“Charmingly and conversationally written, but also rich in nuance and thorough in its coverage and its attention to detail, The Big Book is, as its name suggests, a big … even an enormous … contribution to our current literature on the subject. Highly recommended.”
Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
“Before I heard about The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, I had been thinking about how such a book has been needed for a long time. Now, having read it, I’m glad we waited for Carl McColman to come along to write it. It’s accessible, well-informed, balanced … just what we needed.”
Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian
“A guidebook for going deeper on the Christian mystical path, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is grounded in sound scholarship and thoughtful reflection (often surprisingly fresh and insightful!), but what makes it sing is the authenticity of the author’s own contemplative journey.”
Cynthia Bourgeault, author of The Wisdom Jesus
“Carl McColman has both studied and practised the Christian mystical tradition, stressing its earthiness and ‘ordinariness’. He holds that mysticism is not an esoteric realm, reserved for the very holy, but is what all Christian life is about. I strongly commend this book.”
Kenneth Leech, author of Soul Friend
“The Big Book of Christian Mysticism is a masterpiece of scholarship and wisdom. 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, author of Entering the Castle