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

I’m Wondering About the Relationship Between Mysticism and the Church. Here’s Why.

I often get asked if Christian mysticism needs the institutional church. Do you have to be a member of a church in order to be ...
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Gatekeeping and Contemplation: Is the Church Its Own Worst Enemy?

A friend of mine posted the following fascinating observation recently on Facebook: I am easing out of parish ministry because there are too many gatekeepers ...
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Let’s Go Deeper in Our Exploration of Mystical Christianity

Friends, I'm really excited about a new writing project I am launching next month through Patreon. I hope you will prayerfully consider joining me on ...
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A New Edition of One of My Older Books is Coming Out Next Summer!

In my book Unteachable Lessons I talk about how, before I became a Catholic in 2005, I wrote a number of books that reflected my interest ...
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Pictures of Rhiannon

My saving angel was... a chronically ill little girl. If you've read Unteachable Lessons, you know that the "star" of the title chapter of the book ...
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Unteachable Hope, or, My Dream for Readers of My Latest Book

"What is your greatest hope for this book?" This question came to me the other day from my friend Colette Lafia, a spiritual director and ...
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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.