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The first time I walked a prayer labyrinth was at the Richmond Hill retreat center in Richmond, Virginia about 7 years ago, but walking and talking to God has been part of my spiritual life since the beginning. There’s something important about establishing specific physical places that are saturated with prayer over time, and there’s something mysterious and captivating about prayer labyrinths in particular. A labyrinth is the kind of invitation to the kingdom of God I’d like to offer. That’s why NOLA Wesley is launching a cafe this fall called The Labyrinth.
Let me trace the steps that brought us to where we are. When I first moved to New Orleans four years ago, I was already steeped in the contemplative Christianity of Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. That first summer, I started going to the noon weekday mass at the local Episcopal cathedral and afterwards I would go to their retreat house called the Advent House to pray. I found a book on the shelf there called The Mystic Way of Evangelism by Elaine Heath.
Heath - Way - Share - Christian - Gospel
Heath argues that the best way to share the Christian gospel with people is by intriguing them with the mystery of God, a glory that we can taste and experience in our present lives rather than a banal afterlife insurance policy. Around the same time, I read William Thiele’s Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture. It helped me realize that a major aspect of the **** from which we need to be saved is the desperate anxiety of our high-stress, achievement-oriented, performative culture, nowhere more pervasive than on the campus of Tulane University where the business school advertises itself with a sign that says, “In today’s job market, how will you stand out?”
So I was walking around Tulane with my prayer...
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