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Just as He Was

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was.  Mark 4: 35-36 This story, of course, continues with the calming of the storm, but I found myself stuck on that last […]

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 […]

Let the Door Close Behind You

I cling to the image of Mary Magdalene running out of the dark cave early on what we now call “Easter morning.” I carry it with me, believing it will help me leave my own cave that has become a tomb of Netflix evenings and Zoom days. I entered my pandemic cave by choice, but […]

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 […]

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 […]

Diana

On March 17th of last year, I was awakened in the middle of the night by intense pain shooting through my body. It felt like sharp knives cutting into my muscles. The pain continued until the morning, allowing me only fitful, unrestful sleep. When I finally pulled myself out of bed, I craved even more […]

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 […]

Welcoming God with Open Arms

While Lent is sometimes thought of as a season to give up something, this Lent comes after a year of pandemic and unrest that has many feeling like they’ve already given up a lot. For some it has meant no in-person visits with family or friends for close to a year. Some have lost jobs. […]