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Center for Action and Contemplation

An Interview with Cole Arthur Riley on Radical Resilience 

The Bestselling Author of “Black Liturgies” Reflects on the Power of Contemplative Practices
February 23rd, 2024

How can we embody the word “resilience” in a way that acknowledges the reality that we take on a new shape when we face life’s challenges?  

Cole Arthur Riley recently sat down with Mark Longhurst, CAC’s Digital and Print Publications Manager, to discuss her bestselling book Black Liturgies and how to engage with a world on fire. 

“In this author interview series, we speak periodically with an author who has inspired Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations,” explains Mark. “Author and poet Cole Arthur Riley’s prayerful explorations of grief, embodiment, injustice, and love resonate with many of the topics we cover.” 

For Arthur Riley, the 2024 Daily Meditation theme of ‘Radical Resilience’ doesn’t “ask us to forget, but… carries the memory of whatever harm, or whatever fire we have been through.”  

In this conversation, Riley explains that the concept of resilience “stirs some amount of tension and some amount of encouragement.” She continues, “When you think about the origins of the word ‘resilience,’ it’s [like plastic]; something that returns back to its original shape after you bend it. I think humans don’t really work like that, really. We don’t go back to the way we were before we were broken or bent.” 

The truth about being a human is that we take on a new shape when we are required to be resilient, but that can be a beautiful thing. As we ‘Engage with a World on Fire,’ Cole Arthur Riley’s voice helps soothe weary souls. 

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