While the Christian church in 21st century North America is experiencing decline, interest in Buddhist-derived Mindfulness meditation is on the rise. Yet Christianity also has a rich meditative/contemplative tradition. This book is an exploration of meditative/contemplative practices in both Christian and Buddhist contexts, emphasizing their areas of affinity. Common characteristics and effects of meditative/contemplative practices are defined. The history of Buddhism in North America is given overview, as are key historical figures in the development of Christian contemplative spirituality. Contemporary Buddhist, Christian and Buddhist-Christian hybrid contemplative/meditative practices are surveyed. Points of nexus between both Christian and Buddhist contemplation/meditation and Process Theology are considered. It is suggested that Panentheism and Process Spirituality can provide a coherent metaphysical foundation for contemplative/meditative practice. A possibility is considered of how Quakers might benefit from adopting personal meditation practice in addition to their corporate practice of unprogrammed meeting for worship. An alternative form of Christian worshiping community is speculated, which is built around shared meditative practice.
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"Presence and Process is an amazing book. It provides the best, most compact introduction I've come across to key concepts like mysticism, contemplation, and process theology. It explores the productive ferment that is taking place at the intersection of Christianity and Buddhism. And it invites practitioners to imagine a new kind of church for the journey before us. I highly recommend Presence and Process."
- BRIAN D. MCLAREN, author of The Great Spiritual Migration, We Make the Road by Walking and A New Kind of Christianity
"Intellectually solid and spiritually insightful, Coleman's text captures the heart of the Buddhist and Christian mystical traditions in ways that respond to the needs of spiritual seekers of our time."
- DR. BRUCE EPPERLY, author of Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Becoming Fire: Spiritual Practices for Global Christians and The Gospel According to Winnie the Pooh
"After three decades in Quaker ministry, I've noticed how religious traditions I once believed to be separate pursuits now merge as one. Truth, as it turns out, is happy to share the road with others. Daniel Coleman's helpful book, Presence and Process, marries Christianity and Buddhism for contemporary seekers. Both traditions are honored, both enriched, and both made better by Coleman's thoughtful union."
- PHILIP GULLEY, author of Living the Quaker Way, The Evolution of Faith, If Grace is True and If God is Love
"Daniel Coleman is a spiritual explorer. In this provocative and wide-ranging book you will journey with him as he navigates both ancient pathways and explores new and untraveled territory for many Quakers and Christians of all stripes. . . . This book will stimulate you to experiment with new and differing forms of contemplative spiritual practice to nurture, enhance and reinvigorate your spiritual life. For those who love to explore 'big ideas' and are open to alternative ways of thinking theologically, this book will be an adventure and a delight."
- DR. CAROLE SPENCER, author of Holiness: The Soul of Quakerism: An Historical Analysis of the Theology of Holiness in the Quaker Tradition
"In Presence and Process, Daniel Coleman has created a unique and useful synthesis--showing how a convergence of perennialism, process theology and mysticism (Christian, Buddhist and Quaker) could have a profound role in fostering spiritual formation in this postmodern, post-Christendom age. This is a pioneering work of practical theology."
- FR. RICHARD ROHR, author of The Divine Dance, Everything Belongs and What the Mystics Know
"Coleman works from a fertile field of thinkers in order to unpack--as much as such a thing is possible--the experiential core of Christian and Buddhist practices. His account of contemplation is a much needed corrective to the empty moralism afflicting many religious communities. The resulting synthesis of Vipassana and apophasis has as much to offer the lay practitioner as the professional theologian."
- DR. J. R. HUSTWIT, Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religion, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Methodist University, author of Interreligious Hermeneutics and the Pursuit of Truth
"While some long for fruitful dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism, Daniel is bringing in the first fruits of the harvest! In Presence and Process you get a clear and insightful invitation to a place where the boundaries we have inherited between the East and West, contemplation and justice, and theory and practice are dissolved. I loved so much of this book, but can't wait for church leaders to take the ecclesiological vision to heart."
- TRIPP FULLER, Homebrewed Christianity
“If Karl Rahner predicted that the survival of Christianity will depend on Christians becoming mystics, Daniel Coleman shows why that is the case and how Rahner’s hopes might be realized. His review and comparison of Christian and Buddhist contemplative practices will speak to both those who are struggling with, as well as those who are looking beyond, organized religion. The book’s brevity belies its engaging richness.”
- DR. PAUL F. KNITTER, Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus of Theology, World Religions, and Culture, Union Theological Seminary
"In our time when people are leaving church but are as spiritual as ever, inclusive and incisive resources such as Presence and Process are deeply needed. As interest grows in mystical traditions, bridges of recognition are built in surprising places. This wise, well-researched book creatively weaves Buddhism, mystical Christianity, Quakerism, and process theology. It is just this type of sensitive boundary-crossing that will help lay groundwork for the meaning-seekers of the future."
- MARK LONGHURST, Editor, Ordinary Mystic, www.ordinarymystic.net
"In Presence and Process, Daniel P. Coleman merges ideas from contemplative Christianity alongside the mindfulness movement of Buddhism ...and I’m telling you, the book will make you THINK. . .If you’re interested in writers like Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren and the ancient mystics, you’ve got to pick this book up."
- CARA MEREDITH, Author, CaraMeredith.com
"Presence and Process is an excellent book for anyone who desires a more mystical and possibly a more intelligent approach to modern Christianity. . .This powerful book provides a chance to learn more about Buddhism and process theology while also giving the reader a viewpoint of what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century."
- FRED C. PLUMER, President, ProgressiveChristianity.org