Contemplative Journal

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Contemplative practices for loving, sacred relationships

Carl McColman warns against going it alone.   (Photo courtesy Photobucket.)

Cynthia Bourgeault's eulogy for Beatrice Bruteau, 1930-2014

Discover Karma's true meaning with Kim Orr.

Bringing together the best of Paula D'Arcy's inspired writings with her down-to-earth teachings.

Dr. Janet Quinn's contemplative practices for caregivers

Contemplative practices for loving, sacred relationships

Carl McColman warns against going it alone.   (Photo courtesy Photobucket.)

Cynthia Bourgeault's eulogy for Beatrice Bruteau, 1930-2014

Discover Karma's true meaning with Kim Orr.

Bringing together the best of Paula D'Arcy's inspired writings with her down-to-earth teachings.

Dr. Janet Quinn's contemplative practices for caregivers



Art and Poetry Feature

Please enjoy four exceptional poems
from award-winning writer Gunilla Norris
adorned by Toinette Lippe’s exquisite brush paintings.
Click "next" to progress through the series.

Whelk by Toinette Lippe
Whelk, Copyright ©2009 by Toinette Lippe

Finding Now

It’s not too late.
Our bodies want to feel
the way the day dawns
in the skin slowly
with a blush.

In snail time we can glide
slowly over our lives.
This is a tender Braille
where joy is the thinnest layer
and asks everything.

              by Gunilla Norris


NEXT



Don’t Miss
Advent: a Pilgrimage of Anticipation
with Paula D’Arcy
November 30- December 24, 2014
CLICK HERE to Enroll for $49.99!

Click to listen to our conversation with Paula.



Please click the titles below to enjoy three features from
Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee



Contemplative Conversations
with Kate Sheehan Roach & Guest


CLICK HERE for The Sunrise of BeingPlease enjoy David Ellzey’s The Sunrise of Being. “I hope my videos inspire your own road of awakening to the lightness and celebration of being alive.” David. Please click here to listen: The Sunrise of Being














Contemplative Journal's December Columns
We're honored to host monthly columns by four extraordinary writers:
Living the Eternal Way with Ellen Grace O'Brian, Eyes Wide Open with Tom Rapsas,
The Seekers Forum with Mark Matousek, and Belonging with Matthew Wright.


Lift Up Your Life



Is it really possible to “Pray Without Ceasing”?


Nothing to Lose




Tending the Coals







Holy Waiting in a Holy Universe
Jason Brown


Come Lord come!
Alpha: A Flaring Forth! A Big Bang! A Cosmic Christ!
Omega: A Holy alphabet chanting itself into being!
A Universe singing to itself!
Halleluiah!
Christ has come!

Adventus means coming. On November 30, Christians around the world ended “Ordinary Time” in the Liturgical cycle and began a four Sunday celebration leading up to Christmas. As a neophyte to contemplative Christianity, this year I am trying to deepen my experience of a familiar holy-day by making an Advent wreath for my altar and having daily contemplative devotionals leading up to Christmas day, focusing each week on one of the four elements: fire, air, water, and earth. Growing up, the secular rituals of gift giving and the sentimental retelling of the nativity scene were fun, but this year I am trying to take more seriously what a story about a child born in a barn has to do with my fledgling contemplative spirituality.

The exact date of Christ’s birth may be unknown, but the choosing of December 25th as a fit day for celebration comes to us in part thanks to the Winter Solstice: a cosmological event wherein the sun ends his six month decline in the sky and hence begins his slow march back toward spring and summer. For thousands of years, it has been a celebration of the coming end of a long darkness. Advent, then, is a time of Holy Waiting in anticipation of Jesus’s birth, but also hope for his return. And like all good liturgy, it is embedded within the rhythms of the cosmos.

The exact date of Christ’s birth may be unknown, but the choosing of December 25th as a fit day for celebration comes to us in part thanks to the Winter Solstice: a cosmological event wherein the sun ends his six month decline in the sky and hence begins his slow march back toward spring and summer. For thousands of years, it has been a celebration of the coming end of a long darkness. Advent, then, is a time of Holy Waiting in anticipation of Jesus’s birth, but also hope for his return. And like all good liturgy, it is embedded within the rhythms of the cosmos.

In Trinitarian Christianity, the event of Jesus’s birth is called the Incarnation. God became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and become Christ, the anointed one. What humbles me most about this theology is that it suggests that Christ is more than Jesus, who did not just descend to the earth like some Holy Alien and then leave again when he died 33 years later. In the familiar words of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1, my emphasis). If Christ is the Word of God then Creation is the alphabet. Or as Sallie McFague has said, Creation is God’s body, the Word is composed of the DNA-alphabet of an every evolving cosmos.

Another analogy from Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (1:15-17, my emphasis). In this analogy, Jesus as Christ is an Icon (image) of God in Creation, he points to God, and thus so too does everything else. Thus, we might say, as many have that the Incarnation began not just with the blessed birth of Jesus, but also with the “Great Flaring Forth” of the cosmos 13.8 billion years ago from a single point trillions of degrees hot. This Incarnational universe has been written about eloquently by many, including Father Thomas Berry, Father Richard Rohr, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyne Tucker, and David Christopher—all of whom see the Divine in the cosmic story of which we are a part.

This is a tremendously powerful notion for me. At the center of the sometimes silly pastel plastic Nativity scenes is not only the God and Savior of Christianity, but a reassurance that we live in a Holy Universe. This Advent, I hope each day will deepen my understanding of what it means to live in an Incarnational universe. The gifts I give to family and friends will be offerings that remind us that we live in such a universe. Blessings to you and yours during this time of Holy Waiting!

Jason M. Brown is a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia and practices Contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism. He blogs at www.holyscapes.wordpress.com /



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Jim Graven, publisher
Jim Graven
Jim@ContemplativeJournal.com

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Kate Sheehan Roach
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