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Mystical experience is given to some but contemplation is for all Christians'.  Arthur Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury 1961-1974

'Love is His meaning'  Julian of Norwich

The meaning is in the waiting'   R S Thomas

By Love He may be caught and held. By reason, never' Cloud of Unknowing

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Book Review THE POWER OF SILENCE Graham Turner August 2015

19 Jul 2020 1:27 PM | Ann Moran (Administrator)

This is not a book about Christian contemplative prayer, though you will meet some Christian contemplatives in its pages.  Rather, it is a wide-ranging exploration of silence in all sorts of contexts.  In writing it the author travelled widely and interviewed a wide variety of people who value silence.

Each chapter is devoted to one theme e.g. The silence of the mountains, silence in drama, in classical music, in psycho-therapy, transcendental meditation, Zen Buddhism, a Quaker Meeting in Oxford.

The chapter Letting go describes interviews with Fr Richard Rohr and Fr Thomas Keating.  No Words Please tells of the author's stay at Gethsemani, the Trappist monastery which was the home of Thomas Merton for many years, and there is a visit to the present day Desert Fathers in their monastery in the Egyptian desert: ..."the next three days were among the most enriching of my life‟.

There are two moving chapters about people with blood on their hands.  The first, Better than bullets, is the story of an inter-faith group in Lebanon, some of whose members were on opposite sides during the civil war.  The group meets for an hour and a half of shared silence, followed by sharing what has come to them in the silence and ending with improvised prayers.  "A Muslim may begin, then a Christian will continue." The second is about a man doing life for murder in a Scottish jail who is helped by the Prison Phoenix Trust in his journey into meditation and a changed life.

The final chapter describes the author's own first experience of meeting God in silence many years ago.

Gail Ballinger

Bloomsbury Press ISBN 9781441182234 (hardback) 2012 £16.99 ISBN 9781472909190 (paperback)2014 £8.99 e-book (£16.99) from

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