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The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality

Narrated by: Brian Smith
Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
3.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

In popular usage, mysticism typically refers to New Age or Eastern forms of spirituality. However, the mystical tradition is also an important component of the Christian tradition. At its heart--and much like its expression in other faith traditions--Christian mysticism is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, contemplation, worship, philosophy, the quest for personal enlightenment, and the experience of Divine presence.

This volume is a comprehensive introduction and guide to Christian mysticism. It is a big book about a big possibility: the hope of achieving real, blissful, experiential unison with God. Among the topics covered here are a general introduction to mysticism, the Bible and mysticism, the history and types of Christian mysticism, biographical sketches of leading Christian mystics, and practical instructions about practicing mysticism today. This is a breathtaking work that explores a form of spirituality that has changed lives over the course of 2,000 years. Learning about Christian mysticism and how it has been articulated through the centuries will prove inspirational for today's seekers, regardless of the faith tradition.

The mystic is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of mystic. (William McNamara)

©2010 Carl McColman (P)2013 Linda Biagi

What listeners say about The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality

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Profile Image for Sraymgp
  • Sraymgp
  • 23-01-15

Wonderful book awful narration

I love this book! An awesome and sole guide to mysticism. The narrator is far to slow and cannot pronounce many of the simplest words though. At times it made the book difficult to listen to.

11 people found this helpful

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  • MJ
  • 28-07-13

Setting the record straight

Carl McColman's "The Big Book of Christian Mysticism" is NOT evangelical or fundamentalist in any way, contrary to the rather puzzling assessment of the only other review to be posted at this time; it is a highly competent and heartfelt (if somewhat didactic and prescriptive) overview of Christian mysticism/contemplative Christianity that is about as far from fundamentalist/evangelical thinking as is spiritually possible. To assert otherwise indicates that one simply does not know what the words "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" actually mean. (Medical intuitive and "Entering the Castle" author Caroline Myss wrote an endorsement for this book, if that helps clarify where the author is coming from.)

Authors or teachers from ANY spiritual/religious tradition are naturally going to quote/discuss the sacred texts and great spiritual masters of their faith. Quoting the Bible -- as a wisdom book in the "perennial tradition", not a literalist text -- and discussing Jesus, one of the greatest mystics and wisdom teachers of all time, is perfectly natural and appropriate for a Christian mystic or contemplative author to do, just as it would be normal for Pema Chodron to quote Tibetan Buddist texts or discuss the life of Siddhartha. (Does this really need to be said?) According to the standards of the previous review, everyone from Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr to Thich Nhat Hanh and Deepak Chopra (all of whom have quoted Christian scriptures and/or written extensively about Jesus at one time or another) would all be evangelicals or fundamentalists! Obviously, this is utter nonsense, as is any assertion that TBBoCM is coming from this perspective.

I can agree (in part) with one point that the previous review made, and that is regarding the narration. I don't know who at Audible is in charge of selecting/overseeing narrators for their self-produced titles, but they are doing a poor job, at least in the genres I listen to most often. While I am not going to attack this narrator for his southern twang -- evidently, not only are Christian writers not allowed to be Christian these days, but narrators are not allowed to have politically incorrect accents -- I am going to call him and (even more so) whoever produced this recording to task for some pretty inexcusable mistakes in pronunciation. For the narrator to mispronounce the word "contemplative" about a thousand times over the course of a book about contemplation, not to mention all of the other mistakes, and for this to go unnoticed and uncorrected in the recording studio...ugh. Personally, I'd pass on this audio and get the hard copy instead.

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  • Tamara
  • 13-08-16

Great book! Poor narrator.😏

Carl McColman's wonderful book on Christian Mysticism deserves a much better narrator! While Brian Smith has a good enough voice for narration, his mispronouncing of words was quite distracting at times. I've listened to many books on Audible and this was the first narrator I disliked. I was very disappointed and surprised that Audible let this reading be produced.

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  • Betty K. Weaver
  • 22-05-17

Hard To Listen


Although the content was interesting, the reading was hard to listen to. The reader's voice frequently utilized "vocal fry" no doubt to soften the sound but which is irritating to listen to for a whole book. However, the worst thing about the reading was the very frequent mispronounced words, mispronounced names, and actual changed language which totally changed the meaning of the content, for example "comprised" became "compromised." I listened for 16 chapters because I was interested in the content but couldn't bring myself to finish it. The overall poor quality of the reading distracted too much from the content.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Fr. Richard Green
  • 19-01-19

Be Prepared

This entry level introduction to Christian Mysticism is read by Brian Smith. If one is going to read for an audiobook recording of a topic with language and names outside the usual parlance of the everyday, one must prepare by learning to properly pronounce those names and terms. Mr. Smith's Southern accent was not distracting to me, having grown up in Texas. His mispronunciations, however, were.

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  • AZ Scholar
  • 27-03-19

The title is clear it’s about Christian Mysticism

Since this book is about Christian mysticism, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Christianity is it focus. Some people may be disappointed that it doesn’t branch out much into other faiths. While it does offer a wide perspective accepting of any Christian denomination, for me personally, I was a little put off by its focus on belonging to a church. The author dwelt on that more than nearly any other facet. Just my personal perspective.

1 person found this helpful

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  • H.B.
  • 30-07-20

Excellent material- mediocre narration

Excellent introduction to the subject. However, the number and frequency of repeatedly mispronounced words was hard to take. Words such as: liturgy, ceasing, contemplative, syntax... it went on and on.

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  • AngiePangie
  • 16-06-20

Well....

I like hearing other points of view on everything. Even if I feel like I may be able to debate a few. I do not regret the purchase, all knowledge is useful!

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  • Michael
  • 06-01-20

Poor quality narration

The narrator mispronounces many words, specially the names of the mystics. In addition he mispronounces simple English terms. Sadly, every chapter is like this. The subject of the book is fine. In many ways it mirrors the likes of Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault (who’s name he mispronounced), Beatrice Bruteau, and others. I can recommend the material but not the delivery of the material. I hope the book is re-recorded with better delivery and pronounciation.

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  • Cathy J White
  • 26-07-19

ineffective Reader

My husband and I often listen to books and this was a subject we are quite interested in. Although the writing is excellent, the reading was very poorly executed. Only after reading the first chapter aloud myself, did either of us comprehend what was written. Save your money and read it yourself.