Posts Tagged 'Christian spirituality'

Carl McColman’s 7 Theses on the Future of Christian Spirituality

I’ve just read the most important spirituality post I’ve encountered thus far in 2009. It’s short, but powerful. It comes from my friend Carl McColman, who’s finishing up his much-anticipated Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Here’s an early peak at one of his concluding chapters, on the future of Christian spirituality (or mysticism) – Carl’s Seven Theses, I’m calling it:

  1. Christian mysticism in the future will be increasingly Trinitarian.
  2. Trinitarian Christian mysticism in the future will be essentially relational.
  3. Christian mysticism in the future will be increasingly earthy.
  4. The future of Christian mysticism will hold apophatic and kataphatic spirituality in creative tension.
  5. Christian mysticism in the future will embrace interreligious wisdom.
  6. Christian mysticism in the future will embrace scientific knowledge and will celebrate its own evolutionary nature.
  7. The future of Christian mysticism will be revealed to us through narrative and story, not just through abstract theology and philosophy.

There’s a lot of biblical and cultural wisdom packed into each of these theses; I’ve been mulling over several of these for some time now, but I love how he develops them. If you want to read how Carl unpacks this – or why you should care about ‘Christian mysticism’ at all – please take a moment and read his full post.

Read ‘Holy Fools’!

I’m going to start doing more book reviews on this here blog. My first one is Holy Fools from NYC pastor Matthew Woodley.

Like many recent Christian releases, this book is memoir-ish; a trend I (generally, cautiously) welcome. After all, if you’re writing prescriptive ‘how to’ spiritual nonfiction, I want to see how it’s worked in your life and that of others. If it’s well-crafted, this is a bonus. Holy Fools does not disappoint.

Most friends and followers of Jesus yearn to live from God’s tantalizing grace. We want our lives to experience the blazing newness of being “in Christ.” Sadly, however, we often find our heart-senses dulled with a bland approach to spirituality and Christian community. From time to time, we all need a pneumatic wake up call.

This tome is written to provoke such an awakening; countering complacency and enlivening us to the path of the trickster, the holy fool – it looks at a consortium of wide-eyed, counter-cultural, God-passionate, and Spirit-drunk ne’er-do-wells pursuing a new lens for a new reality.

As Woodley puts it:

Nearly ten years ago, although my life was marked by all the trappings of “Christian” success and respectability, my faith had become bland, safe, and completely flat. God orchestrated the needed jolt and awakening to my spiritual life through some unlikely mentors: a band of ragged, adventurous, and “foolish” people—the Holy Fools.

As I encountered more and more ancient and contemporary holy fools, I realized that I had stumbled onto a wild and wide stream of Christian spirituality. This stream of “holy folly” offered me a taste of God’s unsettling and enticing grace. As I’ve walked with these holy fools over the past ten years, God has given me a new passion to love and serve Him.

“Holy folly” is Woodley’s ancient-fresh approach to spiritual life in Christ that he describes as combining “humor, irony, spiritual discipline, surprise, radical compassion, and passionate faith.” Holy fools challenge us with an unconventional and unsettling approach to journey and play in Holy Spirit. It’s about the unlikely heroes God uses to reawaken the church to follow Jesus and bring his love to the margins of society.Woodley shows us tangible things we can do to become more “foolish”, including contemplative prayer, plotting secret goodness and practicing everyday asceticism so we can discover what a people sold out for Jesus can really do.

The book is published by Salt River, Tyndale House’s more leading-edge imprint. The author is one of maybe three people in New York without a blog or personal website but his official bio is online here.

Holy Fools has been garnering quite the blogospheric acclaim. Check out a sampling:

On Journeying with those in Exile Part I and Part II

Man of Depravity Part I and Part II

Provocative Church

Jesus Fish Food


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  • Friend of Emergent Village

    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave

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