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

The Power of Powerlessness

At the climax of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, young Harry meets his nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort, who ...
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“Blessed are the Peacemakers” — Jesus Said It, and It Still Applies Today

A couple of days ago in a dream I was instructed to write about "Blessed are the Peacemakers." At first I put it off, because ...
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White Supremacists use the Celtic Cross as a Symbol of Hate. But True Celtic Spirituality is Anti-Racist.

According to the Anti-Defamation League's website, the Celtic Cross — particularly when rendered as an equal-armed cross — is used by white supremacists as a ...
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Kindness, Cynicism, and a Better World: A Contemplative Approach to Social Media — and Digital Civility

I don't think it's very shocking to acknowledge that we live in a cynicalI don't mean "cynical" in the classical philosophical sense, but in the ...
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Some Thoughts on the Roaring 20s — for 2020 (and Beyond)

I'm writing this on the second day of January 2020 — and I'm mindful of an amusing meme that made its way around Facebook last ...
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How the Beatles Help Me Overcome Writer’s Block

I suppose most writers don't like to talk about writers' block. It's not a pretty sight — to have a deadline looming, and every time ...
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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.