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31/10/2005

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Er top of my head... Thomas Merton, Ignatius Loyola, Julian of Norwich but I figure you're meaning more modern stuff really yeah?
Hans Urs von Balthasar springs to mind but I've not read much of his stuff to be honest.
Some very good books by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Centring (or Centering) Prayer stuff has been used at All Saints with a good response...
Online stuff:
This place is pretty good:
http://www.contemplativefire.org/site.htm
a friend's site on lectio divina:
http://www.laybenedictines.org/index.asp?id=873&cachefixer=cf02335728077293

Rather random thoughts but I hope they help!

books about christian meditation i don't know, books with christian meditations/ poems that can be used as meditation include Anthony De or Di Mello, Nicola Slee, lots by the Iona Community (www.ionabooks.com)... but i'm sure you know all these.

Cheers guys, yes Sarah I'm looking for techniques really rather then the writing of the mystics... though they are def worth a read and we will be using some of their words and thoughts! We plan to run some classes/a course so I really need to be able to put together a programme of practices... Contemplative fire are excellent (I know Phillip so I might give him a bell - good call)

i have a jesuit friend who has an MA in Christian spirituality. he could probably put together a reading list on techniques if you want ...

'Sadhana' by Anthony de Mello is a brilliant resource of that type with loads of different practical approaches to prayer and meditation

Great, thanks Richard... on its way from Amazon :-)

Mark, The unfortunate reality is that there is not much in the way of a living protestant tradition.

You will find fragments from the past and fragments from Catholic and Orthodox traditions which will be of some use, but generally they were worked out in the context of monastic life and not contextualised for our everyday urban lives. On top of this there are theological issues that anyone who calls himself evangelical or post-evangelical should be wary of.

My advise is the classic protestant one, if you only go back to the mystics you are not going back far enough. You may be surprised by just how much the Bible does have to say. I have written about this at various points on http://mattstone.blogs.com/ekstasis. I have been meditating for long before I became a Christian, and although I have drawn on the alternate traditions like Zen and Yoga, on the Christian mystics of the past and the wisdom of more contemporary figures like Thomas Merton and Richard Foster, there is no substitute to seeing what the Word of God has to say. Only when you're conversant in what the Bible says will you be ready to approach the rest with a critically contextual eye.

May the words of my mouth
And the meditation of my heart
Be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

PS. Sorry the link in my comment mucked up. Delete the full stop from the end to follow it.

Cheers Matt,
As ever you have some really usefull and challenging stuff, don't know why I didn't look at your meditation site earlier (I regularly read Eclectic Itchings!) ???
Of course you are right about focussing on the word of God, I guess we want to look at meditation for 2 reasons; firstly to explore the word of God in ways we are not used to and therefore may challenge/provoke us in new ways and secondly because starting to look at the Bible in a different way may open it up to people who feel that the academic/systematic style they may have experienced is lifeless or it may simply not suit their learning style/personality.
To me it may have resonance with Theilike when he talks about readdressing the Gospel but not compromising it, the method can be a block... so can we change the method not the message? Or maybe just begin to explore different methods to enliven our own encounters with scripture?

I certainly agree with your motivations. There are many ways of approaching the text of scripture and the systematic-academic is only one of them. It has its uses (not least of which is providing a corrective against esoteric interpretations that ignore genre and context) but engaging the emotions and the full mind (including subconscious) is not one of them.

In his book on Prayer, Richard Foster notes "meditation on scripture [is] the central reference point by which all other forms of meditation are kept in proper perspective" and I tend to agree, particularly given the emphasis the Psalmist places on it.

Be wary of focussing to much on method though. The scriptural emphasis is much more on the attitude you bring to your practice than the method you follow.

Personally I sometimes find it valuable to engage the other scenses and the imagination - but if you chose to follow down that track you may need to spend a bit of time thinking through a theology of the imagination and the potential pitfalls of letting it run wild. How can you engage your God given imagination without falling into delusional fantasies?

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