Bio: I am a local practitioner in Downtown Tacoma where I have lived for over twelve years now. This is my personal blog. It is focused on connecting spirituality to everyday life.

In this blog I write about my reflections on the the mysteries of life, living relationally, faithful presence, community, contemplative spirituality, authenticity, ecclesiology, culture, spiritual formation and some new stuff I am learning through the books I read. My philosophy is when we root ourselves in a particular place over time it will teach us the wisdom of love, listening, compassion and collaboration in everyday life together. We also need to be linked to other places so we do not become too insular and learn from new contexts regularly. The place of transformation is within us all if we are broken open to love, compassion, vulnerability, honesty, and humility. photo

I write on themes of an everyday life spirituality that is rooted in a particular place as we reimagine a whole new ecclesiology. I like the word parish to describe the local context where we live and learn to practice being the body of Christ together. My goal is to create helpful content that will inspire you to cultivate an imagination for the place that you live and allow that place to be a part of a deep interior transformation within. This blog is for you – if you desire to find a way to share life with others, become a local practitioner, and a contemplative activist.

I typically post five times a week. To keep updated on my newest posts, you can subscribe using RSS or e-mail.

My Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts:
1. 5 Reasons Why the 4th of July is Difficult to Get Excited About 
2. Summary and Links to All 9 Chapters of the book The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight J. Friesen
3. Book Review – Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement by Michael Frost 
4. Book Review – How To Be A Christian Without Going To Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community by Kelly Bean 
5. Hospitality to the Poor, Oppressed and Marginalized as a Way of Life
6. Faithful Presence in the Parish
7. 3 Reasons Why the Attractional, Commuter Church is Dualistic and Boring
8. No Home Like Place: A Christian Theology of Place by Leonard Hjalmarson
9. A Journey With Michael Frost through his Writings: All 8 U.S. Publications
10. Creating Beautiful, Healthy Rhythms

I moved into the neighborhood of Downtown Tacoma in 2004 to become a local practitioner, contemplative activist, and an ordinary mystic.  I am a core member of the Tacoma Catholic Worker where we have eight houses of hospitality that span an entire block. I call it an urban village. The poor, oppressed, and marginalized are now teaching me of God’s beauty in all kinds of ways that I didn’t understand before.

I have published my first book in 2014 called The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together and my second book in 2015 called The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life. I am on a track to keep learning, practicing, exploring, experimenting and writing in the future.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, running, reflecting, spending time with others and resting to take care of myself. Some of my favorite writers who have influenced me a lot are Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Kathy Escobar, Phileena Heuertz, Parker Palmer, Simone Weil, Richard Rohr and Wendell Berry. You can contact me via e-mail markrvotava@gmail.com or follow me on twitter @MarkVotava or facebook.