Conversatio Divina

Conversations Journal Fall 2010

Conversations 8.2: Contemplation and Action

Contemplation is “to wake up to the presence of God in all things.” This issue of the journal approached two important themes in spiritual formation—Contemplation and Action. The conjunction in the title is crucial. The purpose of gathering content on this topic wasn’t to determine which camp the faithful should spend time, contemplation or action. But as the essays and stories will reveal, it is both contemplation and action that make up a wholehearted life with Christ. Practicing contemplation with action is to wake up to the presence of God in all things, while keeping one’s heart open to the Holy Spirit’s invitations—perhaps moving us toward action in service or love. In the last article of the issue, “Two Operating Systems,” Gary Moon summarized the issue noting, “Contemplation can reveal a person’s core operating system and the deep motivation for our actions.”

In the first article, “Recognizing Our Condition,” Tara Owens writes “Conversations has never been a forum that strives for theological unanimity—we aim to offer a place for dialogue centered on Christ.” Given the current (constant) global landscape, this topic stands to spark some “conversations around the issues and articles that believers from around the world share with us.” Many writers from a variety of theological perspectives contributed articles on this topic. But one common thread that is woven throughout the pieces, is that of kindness. From Scott Sabin’s excellent account of his struggles to bring hope to Haiti and other countries in the midst of overwhelming poverty and devastation in “How Not to be a Hero” to Lisa Graham McMinn’s “Food for the Soul: Eating as an act of Justice.” Gary Moon interviewed his longtime friend, and fellow founding editor of this journal, David Benner. They discussed how lectio divina opens us to a life of creative action grounded in the love of God. You’ll also hear from Richard Rohr, Ruth Haley Barton, James Catford, and other regular contributors. Featured in the classroom section this month is a wonderful article by Trevor Hudson on integrating contemplation, compassion, and the struggle for justice, “Developing a Pilgrim Posture: Integrating Contemplation, Compassion, and the Struggle for Justice.” 

See class here.