About Carl

Photo by Matt Jones

Photo by Matt Jones

Hi, I’m Carl McColman. Thank you for visiting my blog — I am honored that you are here.

I am a contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and spiritual companion. I help ordinary seekers — everyday people like you and me — joyfully respond to the love of God through prayer, meditation, and contemplation, so to embody a compassionate life filled with creativity and delight.

I know that’s a bold statement. But I believe spirituality is about more than just warm feelings or lofty ideas. I have faith in God’s grace and power to heal and change even the most wounded of lives. My faith is inspired by the wisdom of the mystics and the saints — visionary men and women from all generations whose writings, teachings, and practices can help us find the abundant life in the Spirit that we long for.

I believe God calls each of us to that abundant life. It’s a life marked by love, joy, peace, and other eternal values. It’s a life already hidden deep within us — and a key to finding it is the ancient practice of silent, contemplative prayer, based on this core Biblical principle: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, I’m not a priest or pastor or monk or professional theologian. Just an ordinary guy. I draw most of my inspiration out of the Christian tradition, but I try to frame my message in as universal a way as I can. In my work, I strive to be respectful of all Christian denominations and world religious traditions. That’s because I believe God loves everybody and wants the entire world to find the happiness and meaning that comes from a life lived in response to divine love — a contemplative life.

My blog is an important part of my work, so I’m honored and delighted that you’re here! I hope you will subscribe to my email list to receive messages when I post new articles — usually once a week. But even on days I don’t post new articles, I often post book recommendations, interesting videos, and inspiring quotations. So please visit often. Everything I post has one over-arching purpose: to support you in your daily adventure of growing closer to God through prayer, contemplation, and silence.

Here are a few of my more popular posts:

If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.Brian D. McLaren
Author of A Generous Orthodoxy

Here’s a little bit more about me. I am a life-professed Lay Cistercian — a layperson under formal spiritual guidance at a Trappist monastery. Like I said, I am not a monk, but monks are my spiritual teachers and guides. As a Lay Cistercian, I bring the wisdom of the monastery that has been passed down through the centuries, and make it available to the public at large.

Before I entered formation as a Lay Cistercian, I first learned the practice of contemplation with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and received training as a spiritual director from the Institute for Pastoral Studies.

Befriending Silence

Befriending Silence

I’ve written several books. My newest one, Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality, will be published in November 2015. Previous works include Answering the Contemplative Call and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. In addition to this blog, my writing appears in The Huffington Post, Patheos, and Contemplative Journal.

I frequently speak about the spiritual life at retreat centers, churches, and academic institutions. An important part of my ministry is helping individuals and communities reclaim the heritage of Christian contemplative spirituality — by celebrating the lives and teachings of the Christian mystics, the practice of silent prayer, and the revival of ancient practices like lectio divina, the liturgy of the hours, and spiritual accompaniment.

I love to interact with wisdom seekers of all faiths. I find that my faith in Christ is nurtured by a positive engagement with the contemplative teachings of the world’s great wisdom traditions. My interfaith work has included the study of Buddhist meditation, co-leading an interfaith contemplative group in Atlanta for several years, and authoring several books about Celtic and nature-based spirituality.

Carl, Fran, and Rhiannon, March 28, 2011.

Carl, Fran, and Rhiannon, March 28, 2011.

I’m married to Fran, an amazing woman who is a photographer and artist. Our wonderful daughter, Rhiannon, passed away in 2014 after a lifelong battle with kidney and liver disease. So now our earthly “family” consists of several very well-pampered cats!


To learn more about me and my work, visit these links:


Giving a talk on Celtic Spirituality at the Hill of Tara in Ireland.

Giving a talk on Celtic Spirituality at the Hill of Tara in Ireland.

 

Author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.