The Oneness of Kinship: From Gangs and Guns to Bakeries and Brotherhood

To walk up to the Homeboy Industries building in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall is to find yourself in the middle of a community with surprising similarities to a monastery. There, in gang-neutral territory, former gang members dressed in various colored T-shirts with the slogans “Jobs, not Jails” and “Homeboy Industries” sweep the sidewalks, step aside to let you pass, and say, “Hello, Ma’am” or “Hello, Sir.” As you open the door, you are greeted by a 20-something male receptionist who smiles and speaks to you more politely than the teen who lives next door to you ever has. (more…)

Misnaming Our Neighbors: Power, Justice and What Our Assumptions Mean

Naming is deeper than labeling. It includes the labels we give to things and people, but it is primarily a matter of the heart. Names are given in the heart and then embodied in words and actions. Names are first and foremost expressions of relationship. Embedded in our words and actions are the names we give to and receive from others. Gestures of value, nods of recognition, glances of curiosity, looks of compassion and signs of paying attention build up one another. Alternatively, when negative words and actions combine, naming can strip or even threaten a person’s life. (more…)

Confessions of a Badly Dressed Mystic

As I join this conversation about mysticism, I think it best to confess, at the outset, a certain awkwardness. Adding my voice to a
discussion on this topic generates within me an emotion similar to what I imagine a guest at a formal dinner party might feel if
he arrived wearing torn jeans and a badly stained shirt. Other contributors are better equipped than I to describe and draw you into
experiences of prayer, meditation, and sacred reading that can satisfy the deep hunger in your soul for communion with God. Integrity
requires me to focus more on the hunger than its satisfaction. (more…)

The Way of the Mystics

After performing at the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in 1973 John Michael Talbot began to reconsider his life. What seems so remarkable about this was his age—nineteen—and the fact that most would say he was on top of the world. After all, he and his brother, Terry Talbot, were the heart of a country-rock group known as Mason Proffit, which had fronted for some of the biggest acts of that era, including the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Nonetheless, John Michael had the sudden revelation that his life
was empty and sad. (more…)

Mystical Transformation of Heart and Mind

In his 2006 book by Paulist Press, Transforming Heart and Mind: Learning from the Mystics,
Peter N. Borys, Jr., shows that he is not afraid of tackling an ambitious project. He sets as his goal the synthesis of the most important insights from the history of Christian mysticism and the integration of this with Roman Catholic theology and select aspects of modern psychology. What he accomplishes
is impressive and definitely of value for us in this issue as we seek to mine the riches of our Christian mystical heritage. (more…)

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