What is the Heart of the Mystical Life?
A Silent Gaze into the Face of Love.

Hi, I'm Carl. 

I am a writer, blogger, podcaster, and speaker. While I work with words for a living, I love to explore what ultimately cannot be put into words: topics like God, and silence, and love.

The heart of every word is silence, and the heart of spirituality is the mystery of love.

My books — like The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Unteachable Lessons — approach spirituality (and life) in a joyful and optimistic way. I believe spirituality should bring people together, rather than setting us apart. For this reason, my work explores many paths, from Buddhism to Celtic wisdom to Neopaganism — while remaining grounded in contemplative Christianity.

Following a life-changing encounter with the presence of God as a teenager, I studied Christian spirituality at the Shalem Institute, and received formation as a spiritual director through the Institute for Pastoral Studies. I am a life-professed Lay Cistercian (a layperson under the spiritual guidance of Trappist monks) and am scheduled to become a commissioned Centering Prayer instructor in late 2019.

What Others Say

Carl McColman gives much wise direction and broad understanding of the field of contemplative theory and practice. Here is your teacher!

Richard Rohr

Carl McColman's first gift is his commitment to write about things that matter.  His second gift is his ability to write about them with clarity and warmth, enticing his readers to go places with him that we might otherwise not have gone.

— Barbara Brown Taylor

If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.

— Brian D. McLaren

Latest Posts

Altamont, Auschwitz, Bethlehem, and My Lai — The Challenge of Contemplating the Dark Side

1969 was quite a year, and so in 2019 we've had plenty of "50th Anniversary" moments: marking the fiftieth anniversary of the first humans on ...
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For a Contemplative, Looking for a Spiritual Community to Call Home

A reader recently wrote this to me on Facebook: I've been on a spiritual journey for some time now probably for about eight years. The ...
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A Question for Discernment: What Do We Need to Do to Make Mysticism Mainstream?

It's the first Sunday of Advent. So liturgically speaking, it's a new church year. Happy new year! In the spirit of making a new year's ...
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Poetry, Meditations, and Contemplative Encouragement (the Perks of Being a Patron)

December 3, 2019 is "Giving Tuesday." It's a day designed to highlight the many worthy non-profit and charitable organizations that deserve our support — not ...
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My Christmas Recommendations for 2019: Books to Give to the Contemplatives You Love

Here's a list of books published in the last eighteen months on a variety of contemplative themes. Most of these books are anchored in the ...
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Revisiting Grace: A New Edition of Writings and Photographs from a Trappist Monk

If you are looking for a wonderful Christmas gift idea, I've got a suggestion for you: the newly released "Memorial Edition" of Grace Revisited: Epiphanies from ...
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Unteachable Lessons (2019)
Invitation to Celtic Wisdom (2018)
Little Book of Christian Mysticism (2018)
Christian Mystics (2016)
Befriending Silence (2015)
Answering the Contemplative Call (2013)
Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader (2010)
Big Book of Christian Mysticism (2010)
366 Celt (2005)
The Aspiring Mystic (2000)
Spirituality (1997, reprinted with new forward 2008))

From 2001 to 2005 Carl wrote books about Neopagan spirituality. Learn about those books here: Eight Pagan Books (by a Christian Author)

Speaking, Teaching and Retreats

Upcoming Events
Invite Carl to Speak at Your Church or Community


Personal Blog (on this website)
Via Mystica (Christian mysticism)
Patheos (contemplative living)


Encountering Silence (cohosted with Cassidy Hall and Kevin Johnson)

Ways to Stay Connected

Patreon: Donate to Support Carl’s Work
Purchase Autographed Copies of Carl’s Books
Carl’s Email Newsletter
Contact Carl

Carl's work is supported by readers like you.