Tag Archives: Carl McColman

Unteachable Lessons: Encountering Silence in Wisdom That Can’t Be Taught

This week we’re keeping our conversation close to home, as we explore Unteachable Lessons: Why Wisdom Can’t Be Taught and Why That’s Okay — the new book from Encountering Silence co-host Carl McColman.

How do you touch the face of God? You touch the face of God through the medium of silence. And the silence is always there, it’s not something I have to create, it’s not something we have to conjure, if anything it’s something we simply have to allow. Again, by learning, little by little by little, by learning to attend to the spaces between the words. — Carl McColman

Unteachable Lessons looks at some of the most important “lessons” of life — learning how to love, how to trust, how to pray, how to grieve — can never be learned from a book or a class or a workshop. It looks at how wisdom often operates on a level deeper than words. Of course, that means one of the best ways to access wisdom is through silence.

In today’s episode of the podcast, Cassidy and Kevin talk to Carl about how the book came to be written and what inspired Carl to explore this particular topic.

Sometimes words get in the way… and sometimes going to a workshop gets in the way, or reading a lot of books gets in the way… we have to learn not through “learning,” but through living. — Carl McColman

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Writing is a great antidote to pride. — Carl McColman

Episode 72: Unteachable Lessons: Encountering Silence in Wisdom That Can’t Be Taught
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: September 3, 2019

Bonus content! Here’s one of Carl’s favorite kitty-cat videos…

Silence and Mysticism (Episode 16)

What role does silence play in mysticism?

That’s the question that launches our conversation this week. Episode 16 is inspired by the recent release of The Little Book of Christian Mysticism, by Carl McColman. But rather than just focus on the new book, we decided to broaden the conversation in this week’s episode to a more general reflection on how silence and mysticism belong together — and influence each other.

We launch our conversation by looking at the problems connected with merely trying to define the word “mysticism” (and related terms  like “experience” and “spirituality”). From there we explore the connection between mysticism, mystery and silence.

“The Christian of the future will be a mystic — which is to say, a Christian who’s comfortable with silence, who’s comfortable with mystery, who’s comfortable with paradox and ambiguity, but who moves into all of that for the sake of love: the love of the Divine, and the love of one another.” — Carl McColman

Our conversation considers how mysticism is misunderstood by both the academic world the world of “pop” spirituality, how mysticism can make a difference even in the context of the institutional crisis in the church today, and how mysticism can be meaningful to the ordinary person today — leading to the radical (but ancient and orthodox) teaching of deification or divinization — what Saint Peter called being “partakers of the Divine nature.”

In our conversation, we explore who are some of Carl’s favorite mystics, how the women mystics of the Middle Ages need to be acknowledged as courageous heroines of the faith, and which mystics ought to be declared doctors of the church.

“Experience is the beginning of mysticism… People will say ‘I am drawn to mysticism because I want an experiential faith.’ I think that’s great! But let that be your starting point, and not your ending point. If the experience of God is the beginning of mysticism, then God’s encounter with you is the end of mysticism.” — Carl McColman

Some of the resources and authors mentioned in this episode:

“In the ancient church, contemplation was the highest form of rationality. It was when you actually let go of your ideas so that you could have new ideas, you could be open and you could rest and you could listen.” — Kevin Johnson

Episode 16: Silence and Mysticism
Hosted by: Kevin Johnson
With: Cassidy Hall, Carl McColman
Date Recorded: March 29, 2018