Dr. Tilden Edwards to speak at 2010 Christus Theological Institute Conference

Wed, 03/03/2010 (All day)

March 3, 2010

Mobile, AL – Dr. Tilden Edwards, internationally known for his writings and workshops on contemplative spirituality in the Christian world today, will be the speaker at the Christus Annual Conference April 15 –16, 2010 at Byrne Memorial Hall on the Spring Hill College campus.

Edwards is co-founder and executive director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C., and an Episcopal priest who was ordained in 1962 at the Washington National Cathedral. He holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Stanford, a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, a Ph.D. from the Union Graduate Institute, Certificate of Anglican Studies from the Episcopal Theological School, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary.

Drawing from his experience working with Christians from all denominations, Edwards writes about the struggle to find balance in life between responsibilities at home and work as well as the need for spiritual nourishment and quiet. He uses the notion of Sabbath to explore the rhythm God provides to human life. The relationship between work and rest, ministry and Sabbath, provides the framework that allows us to find God in all things. 

At the Shalem Institute and in his books, Edwards invites people into a deep experience of the presence of God in prayer, insisting that God is more available than we think. “We try to posture people’s deeper intimacy with … the presence of God in their life,” he explained during an interview with PBS about the 25th anniversary of the Shalem Institute. He contends that the practices of centering prayer and contemplation do not lead to a self-centered life:  “All of this is meant to overflow into the world and caring for the world. And the spirit doesn't come to you in some private way; it comes to you to be circulated.”

Edwards combines the insights of Christian mystics, the ancient monastic traditions of contemplation, the insights of the Buddhist monks and the writing of the saints to guide people into a deeper spiritual life. In his work over the years, Edwards explains that intense spiritual experiences can be rare. But “once something has been tasted, there's a memory of that, and even though it can fade, it's like there's something about it, as obscure as it is to the mind, that feels more substantial than anything else in life.”

He is author or editor of eight books: “Embracing Spiritual Depth,” “Spiritual Director, Spiritual Companion,” “Living in the Presence,” “Spiritual Friend,” “Sabbath Time,” “Living with Apocalypse,” “All God’s Children,” and “Living Simply Through the Day,” as well as numerous journal articles. “Edwards is both a scholar of the highest order and a profoundly spiritual person,” remarked David O’Brien, Associate Director for the Office of Religious Education - Lay Development Division of the Archdiocese of Mobile. “Anyone who reads his books is impressed with his profound insights into the spiritual life and the challenge of being spiritual in our hectic world today.”

Christus Theological Institute is a grassroots consortium of bay area churches joined in the quest to promote a deeper understanding of our Christian faith, which is housed at the College.

Contributions to this article are from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly from PBS, Rebecca Titford, Director, Office of Religious Education; and David O’Brien, Associate Director, Office of Religious Education, at the Archdiocese of Mobile.