Kenneth Leech


Online Event: Contemplative Day of Reflection: Kenneth Leech and Pauli Murray, Contemplative Activists for Our Time (June 25, 2022)


Join me (Carl McColman) for a special online quiet day of reflection on June 25, 2022. We’ll spend time together in silence, and I’ll share with you some of the wisdom of two of my favorite 20th century theologians: Kenneth Leech and Pauli Murray. Ken Leech (1939-2015) was a priest of the Church of England, a tireless advocate for social justice, and renowned for his work combating homelessness...

Contemplation When Things Seem Out of Control


A reader named Allen writes: With what is going on in the world, how do we as contemplatives take care of our spiritual health? I find it more challenging to sit now as there are a lot more distracting thoughts than normal. I’m not anxious about the virus — more about how we are managing it. I get frustrated and really hate the scare mongering by the media.  I feel a lot of things are out...

“Don’t Call Yourself a Mystic” — How Kenneth Leech’s Challenge Helped Me To Embrace Contemplative Practice


In my book Unteachable Lessons I talk about Kenneth Leech, the Anglican priest who wrote a variety of books on topics related to both contemplative spirituality and the struggle for social justice (if you’re not familiar with Ken Leech, check out Prayer and Prophecy, an anthology of his most essential writings). I only met Ken on a handful of occasions. When I ran the bookstore in Sewanee...

Why Christian Social and Political Activists Need Contemplation and Mystery — and Now More Than Ever


Last week I attended a book signing at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip here in Atlanta, in which Jon Sweeney promoted his new biography, Phyllis Tickle: A Life. I’ve known Jon for years — we share a love for Cistercian spirituality and he edited my book The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader. But I wasn’t there just for Jon — I’m also very much a Phyllis Tickle fan, and...

Thirteen Characteristics of Healthy Spirituality


Following the passing of Anglican contemplative theologian Kenneth Leech, I’ve been revisiting several of his books. In the back of his book True God: An Exploration in Spiritual Theology is Leech’s manifesto “Toward a Renewed Spirituality.” It’s an important statement that deserves wide consideration. Ken offers thirteen points that he considers essential for the...

Kenneth Leech (1939-2015)


I have learned of the passing of Father Kenneth Leech, who died on September 12, 2015 after a long illness. He was born in 1939 and grew up in a secular home in the north of England. As a youth he was inspired by Alasdair MacIntyre (later famous for his renowned study of postmodern moral theory, After Virtue) who helped him realize that it is possible to have a critical, inquiring mind as a...

Principles for Contemplative Spirituality (Part One)


A couple of years ago Rob Bell wrote a book with the title What We Talk About When We Talk About God. I haven’t read the book, but I love the title. So I suppose this blog post could be called “What we talk about when we talk about contemplation.” If that seems funny to you, I admit I’m being ironic. Why talk about something that takes us — or at least invites us — to a...



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