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Union, Intimacy, and Love: the Dynamics of Christian Mysticism

The best way to understand Christian mysticism (if “understanding” is even a possibility, given the mysterious nature of mysticism) is to approach it as a process: a developmental journey of how one relates to God.

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Experience

Anyone interested in mysticism may sooner or later face questions like this: what does it mean to have an experience of God? What is the nature of such experience?

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sunrise, sky, blue

Twelve Ways to Approach Christian Mystical Spirituality

I cannot nail down a Christian understanding of mysticism in a single session of a class (or in a simple blog post), but hopefully I can offer some lines of thinking that can help readers and students to think about Christian mysticism in a manner that is consistent with how mysticism has been understood by Christian theologians, contemplatives and visionaries.

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Silence

Spiritual silence is not about the kind of silence that harms relationships or inhibits communication. Rather, the silence of spirituality is the silence of listening, pondering, meditating, contemplating. It can only be freely chosen; never imposed.

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What do Christian Mystics Believe?

Anyone interested in the beliefs of Christian mystics will naturally be curious to know, “do Christian mystics believe the same things as other Christians?” It’s an almost impossible question to answer…

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Jason M. Baxter: An Introduction to Christian Mysticism

An Introduction to Christian Mysticism approaches the topic from an academic perspective. Baxter begins by suggesting that the mystics of Christian history — figures like John Ruusbroec, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, and Gregory of Nyssa — offer a healthy corrective, perhaps even an antidote, to the domesticated, “nice” spirituality that has come to characterize so much of mainstream Christianity in our time.

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Does Talking About a Mystical Experience Make it Stronger?

If you share with others a moment of profound mystical insight that you have does it, in fact, make it stronger and real for the person with the epiphany? In other words, in the retelling does it gain strength?

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Verbum / Logos

Most people think of contemplation and mysticism in terms of prayer and meditation — and rightly so. But there is still an impressive body of wisdom literature to explore — what Thomas Cranmer said about the Bible applies also to mystical literature: these are teachings to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.” You can take your study of the mystics so much further if you tap into a program as powerful as Verbum or Logos.

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Spiritual Directors International (SDI)

SDI now is an educational nonprofit, serving over 6,000 members in 42 countries around the world. Although it began as a gathering of Christian spiritual companions, today the organization is interfaith in scope and supports spiritual guides of any faith tradition.

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Latest Blog Posts

Why Julian of Norwich Matters to Me

I first “met” Julian of Norwich through reading Evelyn Underhill’s magisterial book Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. Underhill’s book changed my life, for a number of reasons: it …

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book, read, old

So Many Books, So Little Time…

Lately I’ve been posting on social media a “book of the day.” It’s a combination of new books that I find interesting (which I may or may not have read), …

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Even More (!) Advance Praise for “Eternal Heart”

In February I published the first words of endorsement that my forthcoming book, Eternal Heart, received, and then in March I published more words of support from authors like Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, …

Even More (!) Advance Praise for “Eternal Heart” Read More »

A “Top Ten” List of Christian Contemplative Books

A reader writes, Wondering if you have an updated list of top ten books about Christian contemplation? Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a fondness for publishing …

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Do You Follow Me On Instagram (Or Should I Say, “Bookstagram”)?

Friends, I’ve had an Instagram account for maybe seven years now, but it’s always been the poor stepchild of my social media accounts. All the action seemed to take place …

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Faith, Science, PBS — and Trappist Monks

I’m so happy to share this segment from a recent episode of the PBS News Hour with you. It features the monks of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit — the …

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Hunting Magic Eels: the Quest for a Re-Enchanted Christianity

Richard Beck, professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University in Texas, has just released a book that will certainly be a finalist for “most whimsical title.” Hunting Magic Eels: Recovering an …

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Online Course: Wisdom of the Desert (September 27-October 22, 2021)

Explore the wisdom, wit, and spiritual insight of the Desert Mothers and Fathers in this four-week online course, sponsored by Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning. The course counts …

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More Advance Praise for Eternal Heart

Last month I published the first words of endorsement that my forthcoming book, Eternal Heart, received — from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Adam Bucko, Colette Lafia, Br. Paul Quenon and Christiana Peterson. …

More Advance Praise for Eternal Heart Read More »

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