My Sisters the Saints (2) – An Inspiring Journey in Faith

John ArmstrongBooks, Church Tradition, Contemplation, Discipleship, Faith, Marriage & Family, Mysticism, Roman Catholicism, Sexuality, The Church, The Future3 Comments

Colleen Carroll Campbell’s new spiritual memoir informs the reader, very early in the book, of how her reading St. Teresa’s biography brought deep change. She understood anew why her parents read the lives of the saints as she found in Teresa a woman of passion and purpose whose journey was deeply compelling for its many detours. What she describes as … Read More

My Sisters the Saints (1) – An Inspiring Journey in Faith

John ArmstrongChurch Tradition, Contemplation, Discipleship, Faith, Feminism & Women, Marriage & Family, Mysticism, Prayer, Roman Catholicism, Sexuality, Spirituality, The Church, The Future10 Comments

Collen Carroll Campbell is an accomplished, award-winning author, as well as a print and broadcast journalist. I have followed her writing and professional career, at least from a  distance, since I read her first book, The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy, back in 2002. I later quoted from that hopeful book in my own book, Your … Read More

How Gnostic Is the God-Within Movement?

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Church History, Current Affairs, Mysticism, Orthodoxy, Religion, Spirituality, The Church, The Future

Ross Douthat, as I stated last Friday, believes that modern American Christianity has been co-opted by ancient Gnostic ideas. But his argument is actually better developed than that of many pop-evangelical apologists who make the same claim but with very little clear distinction. Douthat writes: The cult of the God Within owes a debt to the ancient Gnostics, clearly, but … Read More

The God Within

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Church History, Current Affairs, Mysticism, Orthodoxy, Religion, Spirituality, The Church, The Future

“The God Within” is the title of chapter seven in Bad Religion, New York Times columnist and Catholic author Ross Douthat’s important new book. Douthat suggests that if there is a representative religious pilgrim for our time it is magazine writer-turned-memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert. If you don’t know much about Gilbert you have missed a story that is, in so many … Read More

Growing Into the Mystery That Is God

John ArmstrongGod's Character, Mysticism, Spirituality

The apostle John says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18).  God’s people in the Old Testament age were like us in their deep desire to see and know God. In the book of Exodus, God forbade … Read More

The Christian Mystical Tradition: Its Value and Place

John ArmstrongMysticism, Spirituality

In the New Testament the Greek word for mystery, musterion, occurs twenty-eight times. Twenty-one are in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Mystery is vital to Christian faith and understanding. Yet the concept has been frequently misunderstood too. The best theology has always maintained that what is known must be balanced by what is not clearly known. God is a … Read More

Listening to God's Word with the Heart

John ArmstrongContemplation, Mysticism, Scripture

Yesterday I made a point about the Hebrew word (dabhar) that is used for God's Word. This word means much more than the sound of words in our ear or the registry of a meaning upon our mind. The same Hebrew word is used for God's creating the world by his word. And this is the same word that expresses … Read More

God’s Love Brings About Real Change

John ArmstrongGod's Character, Love, Mysticism

I was taught, like most, that God loved me if and when I changed. Simply put, if I repent then God will love me. But 1 John 4:8 and 16 says, “God is love.” Love is the supreme revelation of the Christian faith. Divine love is the chief characteristic of living faith. Other religions know something about a God who … Read More

Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer

John ArmstrongMysticism, Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Spirituality

Before I found the book, Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer, I confess that I had never heard of Catherine Doherty. She was a remarkable lady who sought to translate Eastern Christian insights (sometimes called “desert spirituality”) into the context of Western life. More than a half century ago Catherine arrived in Canada as a Russian refugee. She … Read More