Wuthnow, Robert. After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
“It is thus practice, rather than a spirituality of dwelling, that is most capable of generating a balanced perspective on the sacredness of the world. By engaging in spiritual practices, the practitioner retreats reflectively from the world in order to recognize how it is broken and in need of healing; then, in recognition that the world is also worthy of healing because of its sacral dimensions, the practitioner commits energy to the process of healing. In her book on contemplative prayer, Joan Chittister expresses this paradoxical relationship between spiritual practice and the world. ‘Contemplative prayer…is prayer that sees the whole world through incense—a holy place, a place where the sacred dwells, a place to be made different by those who pray, a place where God sweetens living with the beauty of all life. Contemplative prayer…unstops our ears to hear the poverty of widows, the loneliness of widowers, the cry of women, the vulnerability, the struggle of outcasts.’”1
I love PHD Comics. Jorge Cham does an excellent job of explaining complex topics–usually in the field of physics–through engaging comic book illustrations. Last year he published an animation that sought to describe the Higgs Boson field. The comic below tells the story of how he got it wrong and was corrected by a physicist.
I post this comic because it relates to my recent interaction with Charles Taylor’s book A Secular Age and the Immanent Frame. Taylor suggests that our current, Western, late-modern culture is dominated by the Immanent Frame: the belief that the only reality is that which can be observed empirically and rationally explained through mathematical equations. Physics and physicists have become the theologians of our era. This comic is a good example of how this plays out.
Black, Gary. The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2013.
The Author – Dr. Gary Black, Jr.
This essay is both a reflection on Gary Black’s book The Theology of Dallas Willard, and a huge note of gratitude to Gary for shedding light on a much needed subject. This book has not only helped me make sense out of my own spiritual journey, but it has greatly enhanced my dissertation work in the area of missional spirituality in the suburbs.
(The following is a personal narrative of how I interacted with Black’s book. Click here to view my annotated highlights from the book.)