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55 Responses

  1. Donner says:

    This post is a good idea, thank you.
    Stay well.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    I have no problem with the format of the blog Michael. The only issue I have is, on my iPhone, the comments are not numbered – not sure if that is a formatting issue from Apple, but regardless of where it comes from…I still check your blog frequently on my phone!

    Also appreciate your openness to readers/comments of all Christian faith expressions!

  3. Michael says:

    Thanks, Donner!

    Dan, I’ll see if I can find a mobile theme that does number them…that’s a good call.

  4. David Ike says:

    I’m very happy with the way the website is Michael.

    Glad to here your staying healthy.

    I don’t post much but your site is a big encouragement during the week!

  5. Michael says:


    Thank you…above everything else we all hope that it provides some encouragement and help along the journey.

  6. Alex says:

    Glad to hear your health is stable. The article is great, Pulp Michael (in terms of straightforward and uniquely in your style LOL).

    Stay the Course! (Slogan from CCA Association Conference 😉 🙂 )

  7. Michael says:


    We’ve been staying their course for a long time…they have yet to thank me… 🙂

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    You just had to rain on my parade, didn’t you… Here I thought you were a reformed, charismatic, evangelical, emergent, contemplative Catholic! Now you tell me that you’re simply an Anglican… Some people!

  9. Michael says:


    I think I’m all of the above depending on who provides the definition…but we’ll keep that between us. 🙂

  10. Descended says:

    Michael (anybody really)

    If you could help me out, I’ll get the e-versions today…

    What are two sources you would point someone to for the classical definitions of “contemplative” and “mystical” (please don’t say the 1828 Webster Dictionary 🙂 )

  11. em... again says:

    website out of date? … having visited some others, this website is classic and meets the criteria of “user friendly” … 🙂

    as a political conservative evangelical fundy (more or less) i think Michael and all who come here are quite welcoming, but be prepared for push back… usually without crude insults

    we could use more of those health updates (it’s usually an awkward subject to talk about, perhaps?), but praying on, nevertheless

    don’t change a thing – stay the course, indeed!

    if we all donated here to the fullness of which we’ve been blessed by this site, Michael would be a rich man with a beach house on the Oregon coast … LOL … IMHO

  12. Michael says:


    Duane is much more qualified to answer this than I am.

    The “mystics” in the church spanned many centuries from the early church to today…in a way they cannot really be defined except by reading them. The objective is a fuller realization of the love of God and being transformed by it.

    Contemplative historically refers to people who are devoted to prayer in various forms.

    Pretty scary stuff…

  13. Michael says:


    People with different or even opposing views will always have a place here.
    The thing that scares me the most is living in an echo chamber…

  14. Jean says:

    According especially to Luke’s gospel, Jesus was a contemplative. And Paul certainly was too, according to his letters. I assume contemplation on God’s Word and in prayer probably was the rule and not the exception in the early church.

    The difference between pagan mysticism and Christian contemplation is that Christians do endeavor to empty the mind so that God will fill it, but to fill the mind with God’s Word so that the Spirit delivers the Christian from afflictions, comforts a troubled conscience, and expels the attacks of the devil.

    Paul exhorts Christians to pray without ceasing.

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    This is a pretty good description:

    “The Christian Contemplative Tradition

    Though it has acquired other meanings and connotations in recent centuries, the word contemplation had a specific meaning for the first 16 centuries of the Christian era. St. Gregory the Great summed up this meaning at the end of the 6th century as the knowledge of God that is impregnated with love. For Gregory, contemplation was both the fruit of reflecting on the Word of God in scripture and a precious gift of God. He referred to contemplation as “resting in God.” In this “resting,” the mind and heart are not so much seeking God, as beginning to experience what they have been seeking. This state is not the suspension of all activity, but the reduction of many acts and reflections to a single act or thought in order to sustain one’s consent to God’s presence and action.

    In this traditional understanding, contemplation, or contemplative prayer, is not something that can be achieved through will, but rather is God’s gift. It is the opening of mind and heart – one’s whole being – to God. Contemplative prayer is a process of interior transformation. It is a relationship initiated by God and leading, if one consents, to divine union.

    Christian Contemplatives and Contemplative Practices Throughout History
    Contemplative prayer is by no means a modern addition to Christianity. Contemplative Christian prayer has representatives in every age. A form of contemplative prayer was first practiced and taught by the Desert Fathers of Egypt, Palestine and Syria including Evagrius, St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great in the West, and Pseudo-Dionysius and the Hesychasts in the East.

    In the Middle Ages, St. Bernard of Clarivaux, William of St. Thierry and Guigo the Carthusian represent the Christian contemplative tradition, as well as the Rhineland mystics, including St. Hildegard, St. Mechtilde, Meister Eckhart, Ruysbroek and Tauler. Later, the author of The Imitation of Christ and the English mystics of the 14th century such as the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, Richard Rolle, and Julian of Norwich became part of the Christian contemplative heritage.”

  16. Michael says:


    One of the ways Anglicans pray without ceasing is through the Daily Office…

    A.W Tozer is a modern mystic and an evangelical favorite.
    Eugene Peterson would qualify as a contemplative.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    Speaking of which, I was going to comment this article from CT:

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    I would also commend the series: The Classics of Western Spirituality (Paulist Press).
    Despite the name, they also include a number of Eastern Orthodox writers. The translations are pretty good.

  19. Jean says:

    I will offer one suggestion to anyone who would like to try and experience Christian contemplation. Take a Psalm, I began with Psalm 23 and then Psalm 51, and commit to memorizing the Psalm. If you’re like me, it will be challenging. You will have to review the Psalm several times a day for one to three weeks.

    By the time you’ve memorized the Psalm, it will be firmly implemented and at your and the Holy Spirit’s disposal whenever your soul needs it, which for mine is a lot.

    This isn’t magic or spooky, but simply Christian and very fruitful.

    If you want any tips for memorizing Psalms, let me know.

  20. Jean says:

    Typo correction in #19:

    implemented should be implanted.

  21. JoelG says:

    Thank you Jean. I must admit I get a bit intimidated when I hear words like mystic and contemplative. For those like me who relate best to cat theology, this information is helpful and simple.

  22. Jean says:

    You’re very welcome Joel. Good to hear from you! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable (hopefully) short week, so far.

  23. Captain Kevin says:

    Great explanation of the Anglican way. At first, I didn’t care for the characterization of evangelicals as the “me side.” But his explanation makes total sense. Over the years, while still identifying with evangelicals and fundamentalists, I have definitely drifted more toward the “we” side. In fact, when I think about the meaning of the word evangelical, it would be contradictory for my personal relationship with Jesus to remain only about me.

  24. Michael says:


    I think he does a good job…I like his compass a lot… 🙂

  25. Captain Kevin says:

    The compass rose is a great illustration for this wannabe captain.

  26. JoelG says:

    Jean yes it’s a short week, therefore enjoyable. I like what you said above: we need to “fill the mind with God’s Word so that the Spirit delivers the Christian from afflictions, comforts a troubled conscience, and expels the attacks of the devil.”

    Those doubts and troubles in our conscience tend to sneak up quite frequently. Memorizing a Psalm this weekend sounds like good medicine.

  27. John 20:29 says:

    for “contemplative” i think i like the word “study”
    as is hinted in the conversation here, just reading the Word does not place it in one’s thinking, how one responds or analyzes
    but as to the goal, the renewing of one’s mind (brainwashing?) i say a hearty hallelujah amen…
    if one thinks on it there are numerous passages such as 2 Tim 3:16-17 and Romans 12:2 that urge doing this are there not?

    i think of an old phrase popular in my InterVarsity days: “get the Word into the marrow of your bones…” an interesting thought as that is where the blood is manufactured…

    Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  28. John 20:29 says:

    i set out to memorize Psalm 104 some years ago… got the first nine verses down, but surprisingly the rest would occasionally pop into my head – not verbatim – but the thot, the omnipotence, the God who provides for all… creatures and man
    the 23rd Psalm should be taught to every child… over the years, even when one thinks He’s not doing His job, in retrospect it will surprise us just how well He has fulfilled that Psalm

  29. richard says:

    as a frequent reader and very infrequent commenter, there are many times i would like to simply agree/disagree or upvote/downvote on other’s comments. (i believe disqus has this feature). any possibility of adding this feature to your site?
    and i love the site

  30. Michael says:


    Thank you!

    That is the most requested feature…I’ll see what I can come up with.

  31. Descended says:

    Well that is very helpful and interesting. I’ll check it out 🙂 thank you Michael, Duane, Jean and Jn 20:29.

  32. Michael says:

    There’s a like button…we’ll see if the site can hold up with it on.

  33. Michael says:

    That was really buggy…I’ll have to do some work on that before I make it permanent…

  34. Captain Kevin says:

    With school prep, it will have to go into my collection of future reads, but I just got the ebook version of Fr. McKenzie’s The Anglican Way. Look forward to diving in as time allows.

  35. Paige says:

    Glad you had a good medical check up. Great birthday “present”. Hope you have a very good birthday my dear.

    Bob Coy is running a club. A dog returning to its vomit. Pitiful. May Gods grace and presence preserve us all. May we keep ourselves in the love of God, as Jude admonishes us.

    Love your comment about the kitties being too hot to be spiritual. Ha! Glad they are doing well.

    Love you. Happy birthday tomorrow.

  36. Donner says:

    Michael… Re: Bob Coy. I heard he was working at a music/restaurant/club called (initials only) T.F.B. Can you confirm?

    I used to attend CCFTL and I hear rumblings now and then about what Coy is up to now that he is back in the area.

  37. Donner says:

    FYI: In the list of links on the right, More Than Coping is offline.

  38. Michael says:

    Paige, thanks…much love to you my friend.

    Donner, yes, that’s the place Coy is working…

  39. Donner says:

    Thanks, Michael. It fits, somehow…..

  40. Michael says:


    Yes…the half has still never been told about that guy…maybe soon…

  41. Donner says:

    Well, Michael, if you ever decide to do an update and want some “boots on the ground” to confirm or deny anything, let me know. You have my email.

    Of course it may not be worth the cost, however. 😉

  42. em... again says:

    i knew Michael and Packer shared a birthday month … thank you for the reminder, Paige

    knowing my short term memory, let me join in the one day early wishes and prayers for a
    Happy Birthday Michael and then too, for God’s mercies to be renewed every morning in your coming year… please Lord, may it be a healthier one than the last

  43. David H says:

    Do this more often.

    Glad to hear your health has stabilized.

  44. em... again says:

    #45 – this morning’s post was interesting, i agree and i, too, hope it’s something that Michael does at least a couple times a year now

    i get caught up the comments here and tend to think that’s all … then, once in a blue moon i check the visitors’ map and … gulp … God have mercy on me for all my off the cuff posts without any regard for just who else may be checking in … hope i haven’t caused too much confusion…

  45. Jean says:

    I would like to add a few thoughts on Christian contemplation.

    First, I find the following exhortations by Paul to provide very holistic exhortations on contemplation:

    “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

    “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

    I think the model for the Christian contemplative is Psalm 77. Please read this Psalm before continuing.

    From the psalm we can see that the Christian during afflictions meditates not only on the Word and His promises, but also on what Christ has already accomplished for us (i.e., His deeds and His work). Bringing God to remembrance strengthens faith.

    What has Christ done for us that we should remember?

    In the beginning, He created the heavens and the earth by the power of His Word. Christ’s Word accomplishes what it says Ex Nihilo, This same powerful, unchanging and trustworthy Word promises us the forgiveness of our sins, life and salvation.

    Christ baptizes us into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This baptism gives us a gracious Father, a brother and Mediator, and the Spirit which dwells in us and intercedes for us.

    Christ offers us His very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation in His Holy Communion.

    So, Christians receive so much goodness, blessing and salvation from God that we have more than enough to contemplate on to drive out the devil, sin and our flesh.

    Praise the Lord!

  46. JD says:

    The Book of Colossians is meant to be read in its entirety before a congregation. (4:16)
    This doesn’t happen as far as I know, instead the norm equates to some piecemeal study comments in a verse by verse and the epistle completely loses its character.
    Not a comment about anyone here, just one of my pet peeves. So much so that I transliterated the book into paragraphical form to be read aloud.
    No one took notice but I was really blessed.
    We need to read the word prayerfully and carefully; not swallow hook, line, and sinker whatever someone on the radio, TV or internet is saying about it. Why be fooled? Go figure.

  47. JoelG says:

    #47 – On behalf of all who struggle with doubts, anxiety, who struggle with the silence of God and need constant affirmation….

    Thank you

  48. em... again says:

    long years ago there used to be a comedian on TV that had a fundy preacher shtick – he’d make some outrageous assertion and then slap a Bible with his hand as he declared, “it’s in the book!”
    FWIW – i believe that there is a big difference between quoting a verse or a passage in context and distorting same to make a personal point.

    “We need to read the word prayerfully and carefully;” amen to that point

    “study to show thyself approved unto God – a workman that is not ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” … or words to that affect … we need teachers, but chose wisely

  49. Surfer51 says:

    As an evangelical, I learn a lot here. In eternity we will all be family, so what’s the difference down here. Sites like this, allowing all of us to be here and openly share our thoughts without the over shadowing elitism some ODM style sites have is refreshing. I have not observed any strong polarization and in fact have gained deeper spirituality by the cat-ology musings…?

  50. em... again says:

    Surfer51, you’re one of the ones who give us evangelicals a good name – prayer continues for your health and your family

  51. pstrmike says:

    Duane! ?

  52. dusty says:

    Happy birthday big brother! Thanking God for you, this site, and your stabized health. Much love.

  53. Dan from Georgia says:

    Happy Birthday Michael!

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