cover image CHRISTIAN MEDITATION: Experiencing the Presence of God

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION: Experiencing the Presence of God

James Finley, . . Harper San Francisco, $19.95 (290pp) ISBN 978-0-06-059192-2

Finley, a spiritual counselor who studied with Thomas Merton, presents a clear introduction to meditating as a Christian. He situates meditation—by which he principally means "a form of prayerful reflection, using thoughts and images"—in a historic tradition of Christian spiritual practice. The book's first seven chapters examine some major themes of Christian meditation, e.g. "entering the mind of Christ" and "hearing the Lord's voice." Finley is to be commended especially for the way he interweaves theology and practice, as in his examination of the role of the body in Christian meditation. Through meditation, we learn to inhabit our bodies better, he observes, and gain insight into the true meaning of the Incarnation—the Word becoming flesh. Another section that deserves special mention is the treatment of "Trinitarian mysticism." Many Christian titles aimed at a broad market skip over the complicated doctrine of the Trinity, but Finley suggests that meditating on the triune nature of the Christian God is crucial. These heady discussions are rounded out by concluding chapters—a revision of portions of Finley's 2000 title The Contemplative Heart —that are full of practical instruction. The evangelical market may find this title a bit too New Agey, but many other Christian readers will delight in it. (June)