Category Archives: Contemplation

The Heady Strangeness of God’s Calling

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. —From the Christian scriptures, John 3:8   Last year, with no warning, my writing changed. For the previous […]

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What’s the State of YOUR Nation?

How are you feeling about the country you live in? Last week, in North America, we had two celebrations of nationhood in four days: Canada Day on July 1 and the U.S. Independence Day on July 4. That got me thinking about a custom followed by all U.S. presidents in one form or another: an […]

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We’re the Product of Many Forces, but We Are Not Helpless

For the months of March and April, I’d been in an odd place spiritually—not traumatic, just unsettling. Sorting through it took some serious work: a number of journal entries, an intense session with my spiritual director, an intriguing metaphor or two, a great deal of turning over the situation in my head. Also for the […]

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Silent Prayer Made Easy (Sort Of)

Quick: what does contemplation mean? (No fair peeking at this post.) If you’re drawing a blank, don’t worry. It took me forever to understand it even a little—and I’m trying to live it. Contemplation doesn’t come up in everyday conversation. But as the focus of this blog, it’s worth trying to describe. Today, let’s look […]

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Why I’ve Hit the Pause Button on Dialogue

Not so long ago, most of my writing was devoted to dialogue. Dialogue and Donald Trump. Dialogue and the debate over guns. Dialogue and why my website isn’t called Dialogue Venture anymore. A whole book about dialogue. All of which makes my current approach to dialogue so curious—and maybe fruitful. For the past year or […]

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Hurricanes, Prayer, and Gazing at Barbuda

Before Irma, I had never heard of Barbuda. How could I have known it would alter the way I pray? The hurricane had sent my wife and me scurrying to Google Maps for a crash course on Caribbean geography. For whatever reason, I had never got round to figuring out the names of all those […]

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Depression, the Dark Night, and Why We Should Pause Before Shouting

I’ve been away from this space awhile, and with good reason. The good reason is hard to describe. It could have been an episode of severe depression, or a dark night of the soul, or both. My money’s on both but tilts more toward the dark night. You’ve probably heard the phrase dark night of […]

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What Can Our Enemies Teach Us?

Please note: This is a delicate topic. If you’ve suffered major trauma at the hands of another person, feel free to skip the article, or at least read with care.   I don’t like using the word loathe. I don’t want to admit I can loathe. But three people in my past inspire something like […]

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Hard Knocks and the Choice to Be Happy

My beloved cat is in decline. She came to us from a pet store 17 years ago, and it was her decision. We’d picked out a different cat at the store to bring home, but Madeleine would not be denied. Somehow she got into my arms and we took to each other immediately. As my […]

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Do Contemplatives Make Lousy Bloggers?

Three weeks gone and I’m already in trouble. Last month I attended a series of webinars on social media for spiritual writers. Sponsored by Writing for Your Life, the series was a pleasant surprise: it provided enough tips and insights for me to put together a workable marketing strategy for my own writing. One of […]

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