500 Years Is Long Enough!

M. David Bradshaw
5 min readMar 5, 2021

Introducing the 21st Century Contemplative Renewal

Why is there a need for a new, contemplative inter-spiritual renewal in the 21st century?

First, the isolation of the recent Covid-19 global pandemic has created a fresh thirst for intimacy, meaningful relationships and unconditional love.

Long before the pandemic much of the American church was stagnating.

The latest “State of the Church” survey by Barna Research documents declines in church membership, community relevancy and consistent prayer.

The reports states; “The pandemic has shifted our thinking so that the space where we get together doesn’t have to be between 9-11 AM on a Sunday morning; we can gather together in small groups in people’s homes — anytime during the week — and access content digitally.”

The early church began as a living room-centered movement, full of joyful interaction and participation, as well as sharing both needs and resources.

Could it be the people of God are coming full circle back home?

The pandemic has accelerated existing trends affecting every area of our life — and the church stands at a spiritual crossroads in 2023.

Will we begin embracing the global inter-spiritual renewal or stay stuck?

During previous spiritual renewals throughout history, it seems something missing needed to be restored. A careful exploration of church history reveals a scarlet thread that has run from the early church until today.

During the first sixteen centuries of Christianity, “contemplative” prayer practices served as a means of facilitating intimacy with God and an unconditional love toward all mankind from every faith/wisdom tradition.

At the heart of the contemplative worldview is an understanding and revelation of God’s love for all of creation, as exemplified in Saint Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis viewed the earth, all creatures, and all of creation as his brothers and sisters and very interdependent. Francis also was a man of peace, risking his life to extend fellowship and friendship to…