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Christian mysticism

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A Great Mystical Book — With a Surprising Title

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I’ve recently been re-reading one of the most fascinating and unusual books of mystical wisdom to have been written within the last 100 years. This is actually my third time through the book, and I know I will read it again, certainly more than once. It’s one of those rare books that rewards multiple readings, each new journey through it yielding new insights. I’m not the only...

Online Class: Introduction to Christian Mysticism (August 21, 2021)

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This online program is sponsored by Zeitgeist Atlanta. For more information or to register, click here. Zeitgeist — Atlanta’s Home for the Spiritually Independent and their friends — is offering a four-month course on the foundations of world mysticism in the fall of 2021; this program begins with this day-long event on the mystical spirituality of the Christian tradition. Join us to...

Explore the Mystical Life — with a Christian Mysticism “Unknowledge Base”!

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Friends, I’m excited to announce a major new initiative on this website. Coming on February 1, 2021, I’m launching a Christian Mysticism (Un)Knowledge Base. (Update: it’s been launched! Visit the Unknowledge Base by clicking here) What’s that? You might be wondering. Think of it as a help desk for exploring the world of Christian mystical spirituality. If you develop...

Seven Ways to Think About Christian Mysticism

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Here is the third episode of my “Schola Mystica” podcast. The transcript of the episode appears below. Mysticism is a notoriously difficult word to define — which means it is a tricky concept to understand.  The word gets used in slightly — or significantly — different ways, in different contexts. If we speak of Christian mysticism, or Eastern mysticism, or Neo-Platonic mysticism, we...

Video: Mysticism and the Bible — Three Contemplative Verses

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“Is mysticism in the Bible?” It’s a question I get asked from time to time. And while the word mysticism itself is not found in scripture, the elements of mysticism are very much part of the Biblical story. In the first of what I imagine will be multiple videos on this topic, I begin to explore mysticism in the Bible by focusing on three verses that speak of silence — in a...

A Dream and a Book (How I Learned About Christian Mysticism)

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For episode 2 of my new podcast, Schola Mystica, I tell a brief story about how I first learned about Christian mysticism, beginning with a dream I had shortly after graduating from high school; a conversation with a trusted friend to try to make sense of that dream, and a book that friend recommended to me: Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness...

Five Key Words for Understanding Christian Mysticism

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So often people will say to me, “I just don’t know what Christian mysticism is!” Which is perfectly understandable, since not only is mysticism related to mystery, but also the added confusion that the word gets used in so many different ways by different people. Evelyn Underhill alluded to this, over a century ago, in her book Practical Mysticism: The genuine inquirer will find...

What We Need for Union with God

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Recently I posted this quote from Fr. Thomas Keating on Facebook: If you’re curious about the source of this quote, it is found on page 71 of Open Mind, Open Heart. In response, one reader posted this question as a comment: Carl, what, in practice, does divine union actually mean? Surely we’ll be totally at one with God only in the next life? It’s a fair question, especially for...

A Question for Discernment: What Do We Need to Do to Make Mysticism Mainstream?

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It’s the first Sunday of Advent. So liturgically speaking, it’s a new church year. Happy new year! In the spirit of making a new year’s resolution, I’d like a pose a question for discernment. I don’t have the answer to this question, certainly not all the answers. This is question that I think everyone who is drawn to contemplation and mysticism needs to be working...

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