This third interview is with the Rev. Dr. Tilden Edwards, an Episcopalian priest and founding member, former Executive Director, and now Senior Fellow of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Shalem is a Hebrew word meaning “whole,” “complete,” or as Tilden says in the podcast, “moving toward wholeness.” According to their website, “Shalem is grounded in Christian contemplative spirituality yet draws on the wisdom of many religious traditions.” Through Tilden’s leadership Shalem was one of the first institutes designed to train ministers and church leaders for spiritual direction, particularly outside of the context of monasteries where the practice has continued since the earliest centuries of the Church. In that regard, Tilden is a particularly important figure for the rebirth of contemplative spirituality in a distinctively ecumenical context – that is, among Christians of all denominations and backgrounds. It is also worth highlighting that his background includes congregation-based social justice work in Washington, D.C., in his early career as a pastor – he talks about leading others down 16th street in his cassock in the March on Washington in 1963 – and that his introduction to contemplation was further ignited through intensive introductions to contemplation early in his career both with an Episcopalian Benedictine monastery and with a Tibetan Buddhist lama.
For me, this interview was like sitting at the feet of a great master and soaking up the wisdom of a lifetime enriched with deep spiritual commitment, compassion and social justice work, and service to the many people he encountered in his ministry and at the Shalem Institute. It was clear on his facial expressions and pauses that Tilden was pausing and thinking deeply about what he wants to share out of his experience. I feel confident you will find this dialogue as enriching and informative as I did!
Learn more about the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation at https://shalem.org/
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