Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Keeping Silence: Christian Practices for Entering Stillness

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Keeping Silence: Christian Practices for Entering Stillness

Article excerpt

Keeping Silence: Christian Practices for Entering Stillness. By C. W. McPherson. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse Publishing, 2002. 112 pp. $12.95 (paper).

C. W. McPherson is a parish priest who has found, through his own experience of working both with individuals and church groups, that observing intentional silence is very difficult for most contemporary Christians. His goal in writing Keeping Silence is to make "a few suggestions about how to practice silence," in order to help people "get started" (p. 5). These suggestions are comprised of "a sampling of methods" that many people have found conducive to the practice of silence, none of which, by the author's own admission, are new (p. 5). His aim, therefore, is to draw on resources already available within the Christian spiritual tradition (a few are borrowed from other religions as well) in order to make the keeping of silence an appealing practice for contemporary Christians.

Keeping Silence contains six chapters, including an introductory chapter which serves as "an invitation to silence," a concluding chapter offering suggestions for "extending the silence," and four chapters in between, in which fifteen different methods for practicing meditative silence are explained. Chapter 2 offers six suggestions for "sitting meditations," including "Benedictine rumination," Psalm repetition, the "Jesus Prayer," and breath counting. The "visual meditations" of chapter 3 include methods for meditatively focusing on icons, Christian symbols, and candle flames. Chapter 4, on "mental prayer," describes Ignatian meditation, a practice that relies heavily on the use of imagination. Finally, chapter 5 introduces several "kinetic meditations," including walking meditation, labyrinths, and the Way of the Cross. …

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