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Why Do Mystics Talk About “Purgation” or “Purification”?

Traditionally, the mystical (or contemplative) life within Christian spirituality has been understood as involving three developmental stages: Purgation, Illumination, and Union. This three-step model of the mystical life goes all the way back to the earliest centuries of Christian history.

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Walter Hilton: The Scale of Perfection

The Scale of Perfection is, in essence, a book of spiritual guidance or direction, written by an elder contemplative for a younger reader.

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Mysticism and Faith: How Do They Relate?

Mysticism is important because it implies an experimental spirituality — it’s not something you learn from a book, but it’s a reality that we live, in our own heart and minds and bodies. But does this mean that there is no room for doctrine and faith in the mystical life?

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Howard Thurman

When we consider also the rich mystical sensibility that characterizes Howard Thurman’s sermons and writings, it is clear that he is one of the great twentieth-century Christian contemplatives.

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Reclaiming the Bible as a Mystical Masterpiece

Part of the process of reclaiming mystical Christianity in our day will be the equally important task of reclaiming a mystical understanding of the Bible.

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Between Thomas Keating and Teilhard de Chardin: On Finding Your Own Personal Spiritual Style

Have you ever heard of the Enneagram or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? These are psychological tools that we can use to discover the unique characteristics of our personalities. Are you …

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Online Event: Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life (Dates: January 10-February 7, 2022)

Columbia Theological Seminary has a splendid certificate program for spiritual formation, and this four-week online course is the introductory program for those who wish to participate. But even if you …

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Questions About Different Methods of Contemplation

Recently I had an email exchange with a long-standing reader of this blog. With that person’s permission, I am sharing the conversation here, edited to protect the reader’s privacy. The …

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Online Retreat Day: At the Edge of Waiting: Centering Prayer and Celtic Spirituality (October 30, 2021)

In celebration of the Christian feast days of All Saints and All Souls — and the ancient Celtic New Year, which happened at this same time — you are invited …

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Online Retreat: The Spiritual Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (October 22-23, 2021)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia are masterpieces of fantasy literature. Since both authors were committed Christians, these writings also are filled …

Online Retreat: The Spiritual Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (October 22-23, 2021) Read More »

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