Keeping Silence

Christian Practices for Entering Stillness

C.W. McPherson

Oct/2002, 112 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819219107



When C. W. McPherson asked the members of his congregation to practice just ten minutes of silence each day during Advent, it seemed like a simple task. "It sounded easy, " said one of his parishioners, "but then I actually tried to do it."

This concise, conversational, and engaging book is for those who find it difficult or even impossible to slow down and be quiet. But if we can't learn how to be still in the midst of a noisy world, we will have a hard time listening for God's voice and guidance in our lives.

McPherson explores the positive effects that practicing silence has on body, soul, and mind. He provides historical background and easy-to-follow instructions for a variety of Christian practices. Among the practices included are Benedictine rumination, psalm repetition, the Jesus Prayer, Ignatian meditation, meditation on icons or candles, walking the labyrinth or the Stations of the Cross, and more. This valuable book is written to be used by individuals or groups.

C.W. McPherson has spent twenty years in parish ministry and is also a spiritual director, retreat leader, and a mentor for deacons and priests in formation. He teaches theology and church history. He is a published poet and the author of Understanding Faith: An Exploration of Christian Theology. He lives in New Rochelle, New York.

"This is a splendid manual for any wanting to be helped to enter and enjoy the riches of silence. How I wish I had had something like this when I started out on my spiritual pilgrimage. Absolutely invaluable."—The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu

"McPherson's contribution to the growing literature on Christian spiritual practice is invaluable. He casts a keen eye on the history and background of meditations that lead to silence, but also takes readers by the hand to guide them past barriers and pitfalls to fulfilling experience. The section on the joys that come from memorizing the psalms and other devotional material is worth the price of admission!"—Elizabeth Koenig, Professor of Ascetical Theology, General Theological Seminary, New York

"McPherson offers concrete practices to activate this spiritual discipline such as visual meditations, mental prayer and kinetic meditations. He closes the book with suggestions for extending this practice by visiting a monastery, taking a silent retreat or forming a community of friends who keep silence with you...McPherson makes it clear that silence is a gift of the Spirit that adds meaning and depth to Christian life."—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, The Lutheran

"Keeping Silence will be useful both for individual Christians and for church groups desiring to learn methods of meditation that incorporate significant periods of intentional silence. The book takes a hands-on, "how-to" approach that will be especially appreciated by beginners, and also by those more advanced mediators who have not been exposed to a wide variety of techniques. It serves equally well for everyday spiritual practice and for more concentrated times of meditative activity, such as Advent or Lenten seasonal devotions and times of retreat..Keeping Silence is a book that many Christians seeking to deepen their knowledge and experience of silent meditation will find very useful."—Joseph Molleur, Cornelll College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, Anglican Theological Review

"McPherson has given the faithful on any level of proficiency in silent prayer a jewel of a handbook to read and to keep handy. The world outside is not likely to quiet down, not soon, and God will continue to speak in our hearts. How lovely to have a book of directions, the better to hear the Divine Voice."—The Episcopal New Yorker

"He begins with 'sitting meditations,' including Benedictine rumination, psalm reptition, memorization, the Jesus Prayer, The Cloud of Unknowing and breath counting. For 'visual meditations,' he used icons, meditation on symbols and candle meditation, again with history and background and suggestions for practice."—Lois Sibley, Episcopal Life

"The author explores the postitive effects that practicing silence has on body, soul, and mind. He provides historical background and easy-to-follow instructions for a variety of Christian practices....This valuable book is written to be used by individuals or groups."—Spiritual Formation

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