North Decatur Presbyterian Church invited me to lead a three week series on the life, writings, and spiritual meaning of Thomas Merton. The class is on Sunday mornings between services, and is open to the public.
Here’s a book that I use repeatedly when I speak about the necessity of recovering an authentic mystical spirituality for the church today. Heath is a professor of Christian Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, and has made an excellent case for why the mystics throughout church history can be our best guides as we seek to be faithful to the Gospel today, not only as individuals but as a community of faith.
Karl Rahner, one of the most renowned Christian theologians of the twentieth century, once famously remarked that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” For people whose experience of Christianity is, often, little more than a religion invested in obedience and in patriarchal morality, this seems to […]
A Book for All Time: Why Evelyn Underhill’s MysticismStill Matters
For pretty much my entire adult life, if anyone would ask me who my favorite authors are, without hesitation I would say Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Merton. (more…)
This is the book that started me on my life-long journey of learning from the great mystics of Christianity (as well as other sacred traditions). It’s over a century old now and somewhat dated, but it still matters. Underhill quotes generously from the mystics themselves as she explains both what mysticism is and how it progresses in the life of the seeker.
Today is the feast of St. Benedict. This morning at mass, Father Tom Francis (who works with me at the Abbey Store) preached on the Rule and on his life experience as a Trappist monk for over 50 years now. During the sermon, he mentioned a conversation that he and I and another Lay Cistercian […]
[The Lord’s Prayer], although it seems to contain the utter fullness of perfection inasmuch as it was instituted and established on the authority of the Lord himself, nonetheless raises its familiars to that condition which we characterized previously as more sublime. It leads them by a higher stage to that fiery and, indeed, more properly speaking, wordless prayer which is known and experienced by very few. This transcends all human understanding and is distinguished not, I would say, by a sound of the voice or a movement of the tongue or a pronunciation of words. Rather, the mind is aware of it when it is illuminated by an infusion of heavenly light from it, and not by narrow human words, and once the understanding has been suspended it gushes forth as from a most abundant fountain and speaks ineffably to God, producing more in that very brief moment than the self-conscious mind is able to articulate easily or to reflect upon.