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Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D.
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Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D. is a bestselling author, Emmy award-winning executive producer/director, and professor. He has recently completed a feature film and book, "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" (

His work has been featured on, PBS, NBC, ABC, A&E, USA, Showtime/The Movie Channel, HBO/Cinemax, and WNET/13.

Dr. Chumley serves as Executive Producer and Host or "Rethinking Religion" a national public radio and podcast series from Columbia University's Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life ( He is Chairman of the Board of Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the nation’s original and largest public access television system.

Chumley has written and produced hundreds of commercials, made-for-television movies, series, documentaries and specials, including Mark Twain’s: The Diaries of Adam and Eve (PBS American Playhouse), Getting the Love You Want (PBS, with Oprah Winfrey, Harville Hendrix and Helen L. Hunt), and The Gospel According to Jesus (HBO/Cinemax). Chumley’s documentary Little Mike was recipient of the SONY/American Film Institute’s Grand Prize in Video. His dance performance, Grand Central Dances, was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and received the Emmy award for Outstanding Cultural Program. Chumley authored The Joy of Weight Loss: A Spiritual Guide to Easy Fitness and Big Body Yoga: 30 Days to Spiritual Wellbeing, and he appears with Susan Sarandon in the documentary DVD, The Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss.

Entries by Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D.

Jonathan Jackson on Converting to Orthodox Christianity

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 4:48 PM

Every year, I try to make a pilgrimage to Holy Mount Athos, in Greece. I love to visit monasteries and take time to practice silence, pray, study and consult with spiritual masters.

On a previous visit, Father Matthew, one of the monks at the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi had mentioned that Jonathan Jackson, the musician and star of "Nashville" on ABC had thanked God and the monks of the Holy Mountain when he won a Daytime Emmy Award. The monks were very happy about that, and hoped that someday they would meet him. I wanted to as well.

This past spring, to my amazement, Jonathan Jackson was coincidentally due to arrive at Vatopaidi the next day after I had. The monk at the front gate mentioned that Jackson wanted to meet me, as he'd read "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" and seen my feature film! I was deeply honored, and couldn't wait to meet him as well.

We became instant friends because we had so much in common: we both love God and Jesus Christ, work in film and television, he's also an author, love music -- he performs and I listen, and we both recently converted to Christian Orthodoxy and love Church.

Jonathan and I decided it would be really cool to talk about how we love God, our work, and our conversion to Orthodox Christianity on film. We share that conversation with you, first in this one-minute clip, and in a half-hour version -- click here to watch it.

The monks are so happy that we shared our conversation with you - and especially for inviting Jonathan's eleven-year-old son, Caleb, to join...

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New Directions in Prayer

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 9:08 AM

New Directions in Prayer is a three-part series of one-hour radio episodes produced by the Columbia University Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life for its media project "Rethinking Religion." "Trauma and Prayer" is the first episode in this new series.

New Directions in Prayer is unique for...

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A Silent Lent

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 1:09 PM

You may have heard about, or practice this special period of time observed by Christians called "Lent." This 40-day period leading up to Easter (Pascha in Greek), is perhaps the most important time for Christians. During this time, believers self-reflect and contemplate on the Great Paschal Mystery: the total forgiveness...

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A Real Happy New Year

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 9:22 AM

I am very happy this new year. I thank God to be alive again this day, and in this new year. At my core, the heart of my existence is Jesus Christ, God incarnate. I again give my whole life to God, through Jesus Christ. I am reminded that God...

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The Ivory Tower in Cyberspace: Is Internet Publishing Publishing?

(2) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Internet publishing is being taken more seriously these days in the study of religion. Online journals and forums such as The Immanent Frame, Fre.quenc.ies, and the recently launched Reverberations, from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) are now considered to be creditable sources of...

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Better Times?

(13) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 4:29 PM

We've now gone through a few years of economic hardships, and we are making it through. Yes, times are hard for most of us; harder than we've ever known or experienced. It's true it is not over, but there is hope and we're going to be all right. Trust me....

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Loving Saint Valentine

(1) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 7:20 AM

Spring is almost here, and love is in the air! Valentine's Day is upon us, hooray!

Valentine's Day, as we know it, is a celebration of love. Love is itself a celebration of others. To love one another is to treasure, validate, hold dear, and to cherish as highly valuable...

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Mistake? No Problem

(11) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 11:34 AM

Did you make a mistake? No problem. No surprise. Everyone makes mistakes.

Admit it. Correct it with God's assistance and forgiveness. Learn from it. Mistake gone. No problem.

Problems arise when we cling tight to OUR way, not God's way, or fail to exercise our empathy or understanding of others'...

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Appreciating What You Have

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 3:20 PM

Today, I'm thinking of how good I have it.

I remember friends and colleagues who I have loved, but I'm reminded that they passed away. I remember a friend with great style and ability to design, as I see his work, and the lines and curves of great buildings. I...

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The (Spiritual) Truth About Weight Loss

(3) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 3:15 PM

There are so many diets and weight loss products, books, films and blogs it's so hard to know what to do with overweight and obesity. If you are realizing that you have a problem with weight, and want to do something about it -- let me give you some words...

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Forget the Resolutions: Get With God

(68) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 10:38 AM

We are now in the second week of the new year, and if you are like most people, the resolution(s) to lose weight, diet, exercise, make more money, save money, etc., are fading.

I encourage you to just be sensible and moderate this year, and perhaps not go on a...

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Love in the New Year

(12) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 10:55 AM

This week, New Year's week, for me, is all about love. No New Year's resolutions that are ultimately results of criticisms and self-loathing. No starting new and tortured personal campaigns for change. No feeling bad about myself. I am going to love myself, love others and love life as fully...

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Trimming the Vines for the New Year

(6) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 10:48 AM

This is the first weekly post of "Dr. Norris J. Chumley Satisfied Life (tm)" appearing each Wednesday on the topic of Healthy Living with Spirit.

It is deep winter and it has been very cold up north. There is lots of snow on the ground; ice on...

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Is the Media Whitewashing Joe Paterno?

(116) Comments | Posted January 25, 2012 | 10:00 AM

I'm outraged over the media coverage of Penn State former football coach, Joe Paterno, who died recently of lung cancer. All of the news coverage I've seen is all about the "legacy," "ethics," "values" and "successful career" of the "Legend." In the midst of a flurry of condolences, there are...

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Deep Happiness for the New Year

(4) Comments | Posted December 30, 2011 | 2:41 PM

Here we are again -- a new year is upon us. To mark the start of another 365 days many of us resolve to make some changes. Be it lose weight, get healthier, make more money, spend less, find a job or get a new one, exercise regularly, whatever. Why...

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Praying Away the Pounds

(173) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 8:16 AM

Yes, it is possible to lose weight, get fit and healthier through prayer. I know prayer works with weight loss and health challenges: I've lost 150 pounds and maintained it almost 20 years only by the grace of God, eating more healthfully and through "re-creation." Without God's help, I would...

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Bringing the Monk's Prayers Home from Holy Mt. Athos

(39) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 9:01 PM

There's a lot of interest in ancient and authentic Christian prayers and monasticism recently, especially with the CBS News '60 Minutes' piece on Holy Mt. Athos, the secluded peninsula in Greece home to continual prayer for the last 1,100 years. I made a spiritual pilgrimage to Mt. Athos a couple...

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The Compelling Spiritual Discipline of Asceticism

(226) Comments | Posted January 17, 2011 | 7:32 PM

Written with V. Rev. John A. McGuckin, Ph.D.

In ancient times, as early as the late second and early centuries of the Common Era in Egypt and Syria, more than a few people abandoned their civic responsibilities, relationships and personal crises in order to seek relief and commune solely with...

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An Atheist Christmas is No Christmas at All

(227) Comments | Posted December 9, 2010 | 2:23 PM

I really like the "anti-religion" signs that are cropping up this Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season. They make me really love God even more, and are catalysts for conversation, even argument. As a matter of fact, it's been my observation that there hasn't been much talk of God for decades...

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Why It's Cool to Go to Church Again

(573) Comments | Posted July 23, 2010 | 10:57 PM

As a little kid I always thought that church was cool. I liked the choir at my hometown Episcopal church, and going up to get wafers and juice. But the Scripture reading, prayers and sermons always seemed really boring. As I got older, I began to not feel God in...

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