Recommended Reading for Spiritual Accompaniment

Books for the Ministry of Spiritual Direction and Soul Friendship

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Spiritual direction, also known as spiritual accompaniment, is an essential ministry for anyone seeking to embrace contemplative Christianity. Not only is it a vital and beautiful ministry to receive, but many find meaning and value in providing this kind of soul friendship and guidance to others. Recently a reader of this blog wrote to me and asked, “Do […]

The Place of Joy in Christian Spirituality

Is it Okay to Enjoy a Deeper Prayer Life?

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What is the relationship between prayer and joy? If we enjoy our prayer, does that mean we are avoiding the hard work of spirituality (which, at least in Christian terms, is meant to make us holy, not to entertain us)? I had an interesting little exchange on Facebook the other day, when a reader, who […]

Reviving an old page from my first blog

Warning: If you love spiritual books, this could be hazardous to your wallet...

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Reading books about the spiritual life can be a substitute for actually devoting time each day to prayer. So if you have to choose between prayer and reading, make prayer your priority. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to nurture an ongoing prayer practice is to devote some time each day to reading nurturing and […]

Contemplation and Peace

A Few Thoughts for Our Troubled Times

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A Facebook friend shared with me that she has been “thinking about contemplative prayer as a resource for peacemaking or for community building.” Especially given the horrors in Orlando this past weekend, perhaps this is something we all need to be thinking about. Is contemplative prayer a meaningful tool for fostering reconciliation? Can it foster peace […]

I love being part of the Spirituality Immersion Experience that is offered about twice a year through Columbia Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning. As usual, I’ll present two talks on the history of Christian spirituality, focussing on the monastic tradition and on spirituality since the Reformation. But the program is much more than just me! If you’d like a nourishing program combining prayer, journaling, small group conversation, and insight into the riches of Biblical and Christian spirituality, then I hope you’ll come to this program. I look forward to seeing you there.

Date: August 4, 2016—August 7, 2016
Event: Spiritual Immersion Experience
Sponsor: Columbia Theological Seminary
Venue: Columbia Theological Seminary
Location: Decatur, GA
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

What is Contemplation?

It's Hard to Put a Wordless Spiritual Practice Into Words

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What is contemplation? Unfortunately, answering this question is tricky — for contemplation is like some other words in the English language, such as love or success or happiness.  In other words, different people use it to mean different things. Recently a reader named Daniel sent me this message: I’ve been gradually learning about contemplative spirituality for a couple of years now.  Throughout this […]

Georgia Author of the Year!

"Befriending Silence" wins in the Inspirational/Religious Category

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This past Saturday evening I received a lovely honor. The Georgia Writers’ Association selected me as a “Georgia Author of the Year” in the Inspirational/Religious category for Befriending Silence. The Georgia Author of the Year Awards is the oldest literary awards ceremony in the southeastern United States, started by the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists in […]

The spiritual life is not a set of exercises appended to our ordinary routine. It is a complete reordering of our values and our prioirities and our lives. Spirituality is not just a matter of joining the closest religious community or parish committee or faith-sharing group. Spirituality is that depth of soul that changes our lives and focuses our efforts and leads us to see the world differently than we ever did before.

Joan Chittister
The Rule of Benedict (New York: Crossroad, 2010), p. 247.

Charismatic Mysticism

What is the Relationship Between Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Contemplative Prayer?

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“Do Gifts of the Spirit, especially those like tongues, have any connection with mysticism? Historically, theologically, experientially, in connection with the Divine… If so, in what way, and if not, why not?” A few months back, I asked folks on Facebook if they had any questions they would like me to address on my blog. Here is […]

This summer I will be a guest speaker at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta, GA. My topic: “Sacred Questions, Unknowing Answers: On Forging a Postmodern Faith.”

Date: July 17, 2016
Time: 9:45-10:45 a.m.
Event: Sacred Questions, Unknowing Answers
Topic: Sacred Questions, Unknowing Answers: Some Thoughts on Forging a Postmodern Spirituality
Venue: Emerson UU Congregation
Location: 4010 Canton Road
Marietta, GA 30066
Public: Public

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

Religion, or conscious, intimate contact with God, must not only dominate, but must penetrate and permeate all your living. That means you are not only to worship while at work, but your work itself must be worship; you are not to go from play to prayer or from prayer to play, but your play itself must be a form of prayer; you are to sleep, and sleep soundly, but all the while your heart is to be watching; and when you are awake, you are to be wide awake to the God you are adoring with your entire being.

Fr. M. Raymond OCSO
Spiritual Secrets of a Trappist Monk (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2000), Kindle locations 589-593.

Mystagogy: the Heart of Spiritual Formation

Catechesis as a Template for the Contemplative Life

Mystagogy: The contemplative equivalent of the caterpillar-to-butterfly process

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the Catholic process by which adults enter the Church — suggests that there are four stages or steps in the process of Christian initiation. These steps — evangelization, catechesis, initiation, and mystagogy — not only define the journey of general formation in the life of Christ (in other words, “becoming […]

I’m excited to be returning to the Charlotte Spirituality Center for a day of reflection on the encounter with God in light of the Christian mystical tradition. While this event is part of the CSC’s curriculum for their students, it is open to the public (but pre-registration is required). If you’d like to attend, please click here to download the flyer, fill it out and return it with your registration fee to the Center. See you there!

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Date: June 18, 2016
Time: 09:00 a.m.-03:00 p.m.
Event: A Day of Reflection at the Charlotte Spirituality Center
Topic: "The Experience of God in the Christian Mystical Tradition"
Sponsor: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Venue: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Location: Charlotte, NC
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

Your spiritual life need not be limited to times of prayer, meditation, or worship. It is portable and exists with you every moment of the day. You cannot leave it behind any more than you can leave God behind; you can only choose to remain unconscious of the presence of what is holy.

Coming in the Fall of 2016

A Book to Celebrate the Greatest Christian Mystics

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Friends, I’m so excited to announce my forthcoming book, due in October 2016 from Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages. This book is designed to be a companion volume to The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. While that book explained the “what” and “why” of Christian contemplative spirituality, this book covers the “who” — […]