This poem and treatise from the sixteenth century Catholic mystic describes the soul's journey from its bodily form to its ultimate reunion with God, the Creator. St John's riveting descriptions of the soul's transition from the physical world to spiritual purification continue to enjoy allusions in popular culture and should delight literary scholars and theologians alike.
In this highly acclaimed and lyrical book, the best-selling author Barbara Brown Taylor reveals the countless ways we can discover divine depths in the small things we do and see every day. People go to extraordinary lenghts, she writes, to discover this treasure. 'They will spend hours launching prayers into the heavens. They will travel half way around the world to visit a monastery in India...The last place most people will look is right under their feet, in the everyday activities, accidents and encounters of their lives...the reason so many of us cannot see the red X marks the spot is because we're standing on it.' An Altar in the the World shows us how heaven and earth meet in such ordinary occurrences as hanging out the wahing, doing the supermarket shop, feeding an animal, losing our way. It will transfrom our understanding of ourselves and the word we live in and renew our sense of wonder at the extraordinary gift of life.
First published in 1980 - and reissued here with a feisty new introductory essay - The Promise of Paradox launched Parker J. Palmer s career as an author and his ongoing exploration of the contradictions that vex and enrich our lives. In this probing and heartfelt book, the distinguished writer, teacher, and activist examines some of the challenging questions at the core of Christian spirituality. How do we live with the apparent opposition between good and evil, scarcity and abundance, individuality and community, death and new life? We can hold them as paradoxes, not "either/ors", allowing them to open our minds and hearts to new ways of seeing and being.
Animated by the insights of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, The Promise of Paradox explores spiritual questions in the open and generous spirit of Christian mysticism, challenging forms of Christianity that are closed and even cruel. There are no easy answers to these questions, and there may be no answers at all. But with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Palmer advocates the rich possibilities that emerge when we learn to "live the questions".
The spiritual and psychological insights of these essays were nurtured in a monastic milieu, but their issues are universally human. Thomas Merton lays a foundation for personal growth and transformation through fidelity to "our own truth and inner being". Our desire and need to attain "a fully human and personal identity" is the focus of Merton's concern.