In popular usage, mysticism typically refers to New Age or Eastern forms of spirituality. However, the mystical tradition is also an important component of the Christian tradition. At its heart--and much like its expression in other faith traditions--Christian mysticism is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, contemplation, worship, philosophy, the quest for personal enlightenment, and the experience of Divine presence.
This volume is a comprehensive introduction and guide to Christian mysticism. It is a big book about a big possibility: the hope of achieving real, blissful, experiential unison with God. Among the topics covered here are a general introduction to mysticism, the Bible and mysticism, the history and types of Christian mysticism, biographical sketches of leading Christian mystics, and practical instructions about practicing mysticism today. This is a breathtaking work that explores a form of spirituality that has changed lives over the course of 2,000 years. Learning about Christian mysticism and how it has been articulated through the centuries will prove inspirational for today's seekers, regardless of the faith tradition.
The mystic is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of mystic. (William McNamara)
©2010 Carl McColman (P)2013 Linda Biagi
Carl McColman's "The Big Book of Christian Mysticism" is NOT evangelical or fundamentalist in any way, contrary to the rather puzzling assessment of the only other review to be posted at this time; it is a highly competent and heartfelt (if somewhat didactic and prescriptive) overview of Christian mysticism/contemplative Christianity that is about as far from fundamentalist/evangelical thinking as is spiritually possible. To assert otherwise indicates that one simply does not know what the words "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" actually mean. (Medical intuitive and "Entering the Castle" author Caroline Myss wrote an endorsement for this book, if that helps clarify where the author is coming from.)
Authors or teachers from ANY spiritual/religious tradition are naturally going to quote/discuss the sacred texts and great spiritual masters of their faith. Quoting the Bible -- as a wisdom book in the "perennial tradition", not a literalist text -- and discussing Jesus, one of the greatest mystics and wisdom teachers of all time, is perfectly natural and appropriate for a Christian mystic or contemplative author to do, just as it would be normal for Pema Chodron to quote Tibetan Buddist texts or discuss the life of Siddhartha. (Does this really need to be said?) According to the standards of the previous review, everyone from Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr to Thich Nhat Hanh and Deepak Chopra (all of whom have quoted Christian scriptures and/or written extensively about Jesus at one time or another) would all be evangelicals or fundamentalists! Obviously, this is utter nonsense, as is any assertion that TBBoCM is coming from this perspective.
I can agree (in part) with one point that the previous review made, and that is regarding the narration. I don't know who at Audible is in charge of selecting/overseeing narrators for their self-produced titles, but they are doing a poor job, at least in the genres I listen to most often. While I am not going to attack this narrator for his southern twang -- evidently, not only are Christian writers not allowed to be Christian these days, but narrators are not allowed to have politically incorrect accents -- I am going to call him and (even more so) whoever produced this recording to task for some pretty inexcusable mistakes in pronunciation. For the narrator to mispronounce the word "contemplative" about a thousand times over the course of a book about contemplation, not to mention all of the other mistakes, and for this to go unnoticed and uncorrected in the recording studio...ugh. Personally, I'd pass on this audio and get the hard copy instead.
I love this book! An awesome and sole guide to mysticism. The narrator is far to slow and cannot pronounce many of the simplest words though. At times it made the book difficult to listen to.
Carl McColman's wonderful book on Christian Mysticism deserves a much better narrator! While Brian Smith has a good enough voice for narration, his mispronouncing of words was quite distracting at times. I've listened to many books on Audible and this was the first narrator I disliked. I was very disappointed and surprised that Audible let this reading be produced.
I feel like this is a very important book. I want to listen to it. But I get stuck asking the question, why did they choose this particular narrator. He sounds more like he should be narrating a western or novel about the deep South. I will continue to listen, until the narration gets in my way of learning anything, because like I said, the topic of the book is very important to me.
Yes, if the narrator is different.
Very gravely voice, sounds like he needs to clear his throat. Very slow.
First the book is a very good and sweeping introduction to Christian spiritual practices of contemplation/meditation. Well worth a read by beginners and experienced practitioners alike.
Second, the narrator has a good pace and inflection while reading that illumine a the book's message.
However, the narration does continually and consistently mispronounce names and terms common to this subject. In particular, the narrator often accents the incorrect syllable. The negative result is two fold. First the narrator causes the book to appear less authoritative on the subject. Second the constant mispronunciation sate distracting.
Verdict: Great introductory book. Narration is passable, but leaves some to be desired.
Into the Silent Land
no ... needs to be digested
The mispronunciation of words is distracting, but if you know what is being said you can get past it.
This book is a great listen. The author have gleaned secrets of the bible and presented the mysticism to us. They were "in plain sight" but one would not be understood if not for material such as this.
To be accurate, I have listened to the book only one time in fragments. Being a student of Buddhism, I have been looking for a book like this. So far, it's seems to be identical with the non-dual religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.
Anyway, Great audiobook!
Full of wisdom and opportunities for spiritual reflection. Are you interested in mysticism as a means by which to manipulate God into giving you more exciting spiritual experiences, or as a way to know and understand God more so you can serve Him better? Buy this book if it's the latter.
This book is NOT a big book on Mysticism. The best part of this book is perhaps the last 2 1/2 hours where the author finally gets a little more into the subject. The narrator mispronounces so many words that it is akin to listening to someone scraping fingernails across a blackboard. I'm not sure how many times the word "contemplative" was used, but each time the narrator said it, he botched it! This is a wonderful topic made tedious to listen to. Sorry but the truth hurts!
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