Musician John Michael Talbot and Father Thomas Keating

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John Michael Talbot is a musician. He is also a Catholic monk. Many years ago, I heard him at a concert where he and his brother Terry performed. There were no Catholic rituals and certainly no mention of meditation, contemplative prayer, or New Age chanting and yoga. His music was gentle and soothing. His lyrics seemed to point to the Lord. But whether he was back then or not, today, Talbot is a contemplative. In a 2001 Christianity Today article, Talbot said: “In my music, silence is just as important as the notes. There is an aspect of music, of sacred music, that can speak the unspeakable … The only other style of music that attempts to go to the deeper place of the silence that is music is New Age music.” In his book, Come to the Quiet, he reveals: “I began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer, once again. I integrated the use of Tai Chi and yoga.”

On August 15th, John Michael and his wife Viola attended a retreat in which Father Thomas Keating was the featured speaker. Click here to view a photo of Talbot and Keating and to read an article about the event. At the retreat, Keating discussed contemplative prayer and centering prayer.

Listen to Ray Yungen discuss the spirituality of Keating and Basil Pennington:

In the book Finding Grace at the Center, written by these two Catholic monks, the following advice is given: “We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible … Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices …” Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington have taken their Christianity and blended it with Eastern mysticism through a contemplative method they call centering prayer. I met a woman who once enthusiastically told me that in her church ‘we use a mantra to get in touch with God.’ She was referring to centering prayer … Keating and Pennington have both authored a number of influential books on contemplative prayer thus advancing this movement greatly. Pennington essentially wrote a treatise on the subject called Centering Prayer while Keating has written the popular and influential classic, Open Mind, Open Heart (A Time of Departing).

See more on Christian musicians who promote contemplative.

Also see research on Thomas Keating andBasil Pennington.