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Archive for Contemplative Reading

Evelyn Underhill: Foremother of Contemporary Spirituality

The Book of Wisdom promises that “In each generation wisdom passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and prophets.” In our own times we need to be on the lookout for these “friends of God and prophets” whom we will find in unlikely places.  Although they appear to serve their own times, […]

Recalibrating Humility

I have been pondering the virtues, those aspects of character that are central to the spiritual life. Gradually, I’ve come to understand that we don’t have a virtue, rather it has us, and the only way to know if the virtue has us is by its fruits. As Paul says, it is by their fruits […]

Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul

Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul Written by John Philip Newell Reviewed by Leah Rampy Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 In the darkness of the COVID-19 winter, I was drawn again to the […]

Summer Resources for Spiritual Sustenance

As we move into the long days of summer, some of Shalem’s board and staff have put together a list of books, movies, poetry and other resources that are contemplatively grounding and inspirational.  Enjoy! BOOKS Tilden Edwards (Founder and Senior Fellow) When Faith Becomes Sight: Opening Your Eyes to God’s Presence All Around You by […]

Greening Nature and Spirits

One spring morning, sitting at the table sipping tea, I saw green buds on tree branches hanging over the yard just outside the picture window. Those small fists of summer, clenched tight, must have been there for a while, but I hadn’t noticed. Seemingly overnight, the greening buds had swelled and stretched up and out, […]

Coddiwomple

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” (Ursula Le Guin) Several years ago, I planned a road trip with a good friend to visit her son, my godson, during spring break. We had only four days to drive out to Idaho, visit […]

Desmond Tutu as Christian Mystic

The three-fold division of Christian mysticism (purgation, illumination, and union) is essential in understanding Desmond Tutu’s life. Purgation exemplifies Tutu’s formation as an institutional church leader, illumination exemplifies Tutu’s role as confessor, and union exemplifies Tutu’s elder years as sage. As Tutu’s life proceeds through purgation, illumination, and union, not only does mysticism describe Tutu’s […]

Prayer as Action: Loving the World

Does it ever seem that not much is happening when you pray? When that’s what it seems like to me, all I need to do is look back at the tracks of prayer in my life. The psalmist’s astonishment and relief at being “lifted out of the miry bog”- in all the bog’s various guises […]

Love, Not Atonement

This year in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the feast of the Annunciation falls just a few days before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. (This isn’t always the case since Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.) The proximity of the two feasts […]

Prayer Changes Us

There is an old saying: be careful what you wish for. In a similar vein we might also be careful how we pray and what we pray for. As we practice contemplative prayer things change and that change is mostly in ourselves. Our ways of seeing and acting in the world become transfigured by divine […]