“Contemplative awareness confirms that God is closer than we think, that there is no path to God that is not first God’s path to us. . . . [It is] a life committed to ever more unguarded exposure to the love that is at once the source, transformation, and joy of human existence.”
—John Mogabgab, Weavings (July/August 1992, Editor’s Intro- duction)
Perspectives on Contemplative Living
The mission of Weavings has always been about exploring how God’s life and human lives are being woven together in the world, and contemplative awareness is at the heart of this exploration. We last featured an issue on “The Contemplative Life” in 1992. In twenty-two years, our world has experienced major shifts in global perspectives precipitated by events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis, as well as continuing shifts in communication and gargantuan leaps in technology. Living contemplatively is a constant challenge and yet more necessary and valuable than ever.
In this volume, we offer a variety of perspectives from which to consider the contemplative life. What does living contempla -tively look like in 2015? What are the foundations to which we need to call ourselves back? And what are the new expressions of contemplative living that have emerged in recent times? We invite proposals and perspectives that will illuminate our themes for this volume. Printable pdf version of 2014-2015 themes.
Vol. XXX, No. 1 (Nov/Dec 2014/Jan 2015)
All Proposals Due – 03/10/14
Please note: Writers who have contributed to Weavings in the past may send a proposal. All others must submit a draft of their article/essay/poem/prayer for consideration by the due date.
Selections Made – 03/24/14
Copy for Selected Materials Due – 05/14/14
Jesus [said], “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” —John 14:23, NRSV
The centennial of the birthday of contemplative icon Thomas Merton is January 31, 2015, and Weavings partners with the Merton Society on this issue to highlight some of Merton’s many contributions to the understanding of the contemplative spiritual life. We welcome proposals from writers who have known Merton or been deeply formed by his writings.
In addition, we’ll be looking at what it means to live contemplatively in everyday life. The word monasticism comes from the Greek monachos, “one who lives alone.” Monks and nuns are those people who seek a way of life that provides the silence to pray and live in communion with God. What can we, who do not live in monasteries, learn or “borrow” from this way of life? What perspectives can we draw through observing the history of Christian monasticism? How do experiences within the walls of monasteries translate to life outside of them? What are some examples, or characteristics, of existing monasteries without walls? In this season of Advent, what practices of monasticism might be especially fitting in our observance of the season?
Vol. XXX, No. 2 (Feb/Mar/Apr 2015)
All Proposals Due - 04/04/14
Selections Made – 04/18/14
Copy for Selected Materials Due - 07/15/14
“‘In him we live and move and have our being.’”—Acts 17:28, nrsv
A simple definition of contemplation is “loving presence to what is.” Brother Lawrence, the 17th century Carmelite friar, called it “the loving gaze that finds God everywhere.”1 Contemplation is not necessarily all silence and stillness however; classically it is interpreted as “open presence in the world, directly perceiving and lovingly responding to things as they really are.”2 What is the nature of Christian contemplative presence in our world? What are some examples of contemplative action? What are Lenten spiritual practices that might keep us more present to God, to others, and to the moment?
Vol. XXX, No. 3 (May/Jun/Jul 2015)
All Proposals Due – 06/01/14
Selections Made – 06/15/14
Copy for Selected Materials Due – 09/15/14
Why do you hide your face? —Psalm 44:24, NRSV
Our unanswered questions may usher us into God’s mystery—into what we cannot know—leaving us feeling uncertain and vulnerable. At this point we can attempt to live the questions and to “try to love the questions themselves,”3 believing that even our questions can bring with them an openness to new perceptions of God. The negative way of contemplation emphasizes that no symbol or image can express who God is, only what God is not. What are your experiences of the desert, of “the dark night of the soul”? What part do questions and ambiguity play in spiritual growth? What spiritual practices open up the journey of living the questions?
Vol. XXX, No. 4 (Aug/Sep/Oct 2015)
All Proposals Due – 08/01/14
Selections Made – 09/01/14
Copy for Selected Materials Due – 11/15/14
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. —Psalm 63:1, NRSV
The heart of contemplative living and prayer is a deep desire for union with God. The contemplative classic The Cloud of Unknowing instructs: “struggle to pierce that darkness above you; and beat on that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love, and do not give up, whatever happens.” How does our desire and yearning for God motivate our spiritual pilgrimage? What are your experiences of spiritual hunger and thirst? How is yearning for God different than yearning for other people or things? What are the spiritual practices of our sending “a sharp dart of longing love”?
1 Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, The Practice of the Presence of God.
2 Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, “What Is Contemplative Spirituality?” Senior staff monograph, Shalem.org.
3 Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet