Text Size: Zoom In

Christian Mysticism


Being Relocated

I woke up this morning with words of Paul repeating over and over in my mind, “…I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Every phrase seemed as liberating as threatening.

According to Paul, who wrote not just about himself, but for us, I’ve been crucified… i.e. bearing in the rage of human violence… the rightful consequence of our sin and guilt.

Yet we didn’t have to bear it alone, for Christ, somehow, was with us, as we were with him.

And the life that now defines us in Christ is now longer our own, but that of Christ who lives in us… who loved us, and gave himself for us

Sensing that the words that were repeating over and over through my mind were even more expansive than familiar, I turned to the Word Biblical Commentary for some help. There I found agreement that the thought that we are children of a new covenant, that has delivered us not only from the jurisdiction of the law—but from reason to live by own pride and sense of self-accomplishment— involves far more than our minds can understand.

It is for this reason that the Word Biblical Commentary goes on to explain,

“Mysticism, of course, frequently conjures up ideas about the negation of personality, withdrawal from objective reality, ascetic contemplation, a searching out of pathways to perfection, and absorption into the divine—all of which is true for Eastern and Grecian forms of mysticism. The mysticism of the Bible, however, affirms the true personhood of people and all that God has created in the natural world, never calling for negation or withdrawal except where God’s creation has been contaminated by sin. Furthermore, the mysticism of biblical religion is not some esoteric searching for a path to be followed that will result in union with the divine, but is always of the nature of a response to God’s grace wherein people who have been mercifully touched by God enter into communion with him without ever losing their own identities. It is, as H. A. A. Kennedy once called it, “that contact between the human and the Divine which forms the core of the deepest religious experience, but which can only be felt as an immediate intuition of the highest reality and cannot be described in the language of psychology” (The Theology of the Epistles, 122).[1]

I know this is a bit much to absorb. But how could it be any different—if we really are living in the life of the Son of God who loves us and gave his life for us!!!

Note: The Racoon is one of a family that doing damage to our house and needed to be relocated. Trapped not for his/their death, but for a better place and life :-)…

[1] Longenecker, R. N. (1998). Galatians (Vol. 41, pp. 92–93). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+23 rating, 26 votes)

161 Responses to “Christian Mysticism”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    I can speak from a life of building and fabricating things that the way it works is to first have an idea then take the idea make a blueprint or plan and then build or construct it.

    Having a lifetime of doing such things I have often come upon a sneaky little problem that slowly makes its way into the process, I call it “over engineering”.

    When a simpler or smaller version of the concept will do, often as a precaution it gets *more* added to it for what can become an endless list of possibilities.

    I see the same problem exhibited in our Christian faith when we try and *over think* the simplest words of Scripture.

    When I saw the word “mysticism” added to “Christian” for some reason the word “Kabbalah” jumped into my mind. Knowing that it is known as “Hebrew mysticism” and that mysticism carries with it the identity of a supernatural culture, awareness, and interest.

    Jesus died for us, let us honor His sacrifice by living for Him.

    In the beginning God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening. Because of Jesus I can now walk with God all day all night and even when I am troubled by the events of the world (flesh).

    Let your conscience be your guide and let your conscience be the Word of God, listen to that still small voice in your heart and not the confusion of your intellect and don’t be guilty of *over thinking* the simplest words God offers.

    Recieve the Peace He offers.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I appreciate your notion (as in engineering), Steve, that we quickly “overthink” the Word of God. Since the Word was crucified, dead and buried — risen and ascended to the Father, we are not dealing with ink on paper, or a schematic, or a model. The mystery Mart speaks of is what Abraham Heschel sometimes called “the ineffable,” it seems to me. The Name of God is the covenant of God — sent to dwell in earthly form or human flesh.

    The Word cannot be spoken — no earthly breath can capture the expression of God’s working and will among us. We are captured by it, changed by Him, led by Him — but we do not grasp Him. Rather, it seems, God lovingly takes hold of you and me to His purpose.

    Mart, you quoted:

    “…the mysticism of biblical religion is not some esoteric searching for a path to be followed that will result in union with the divine, but is always of the nature of a response to God’s grace wherein people who have been mercifully touched by God enter into communion with him without ever losing their own identities.”

    It appears in the world that everything has changed — and nothing has changed. Faith is the faculty or sense by which we creatures perceive God — especially God in Christ. The life (we) now live, we live in Him, having laid down the life to which we were born naturally. (Matt 16:25)


  3. quietgrace says:

    Good day all!

    Yes Maru, faith is in more than just words on paper or a ‘model’ to live by, it is a relationship with the living God!

    After being burned badly by a couple Christian counselors I sought the help of a secular psychologist and even though he accepted my faith, my religion, after 3 years he just scratched his head, looked at his notes, and wondered how I had retained my faith in Jesus through all I’d been through in life and with all the skill of his profession,(which was very helpful also). I said my faith in Jesus is stronger than ever. It’s a relationship that grows and grows as does any good relationship.

    Enjoy a blessed day all in whatever way, shape, or form it comes! Grace

  4. poohpity says:

    It seems when one is rescued from the consequences of sin they can experience themselves more fully not being tied to sin. The freedom to live without the baggage and afflictions that sin has caused means we can live abundantly.

    God created each person to be unique but when sin which is common to all mankind burdens us it prevent the person from being all that they were created to be. People either think more or less of themselves. But in Christ we are a new creation breaking the chains of what once held us down to live fully and enjoying all there is to enjoy looking at life with a new perspective. Mysticism seems to mean to surrender to that union with Christ.

  5. armando1961 says:

    Good day to all, I am in agreement basically with what everybody has posted so far but I think I need a bit more time to really reflect upon today’s column, for me it’s a bit too much to chew on and properly digest so early in the week. Plenty of food for thought. Good day and God’s blessings and love to all!

  6. bubbles says:

    There are times when I think and think and think about a verse. . .what is it actually saying to us. Sometimes we may think we know what it’s saying and then when connected to another verse a deeper meaning will emerge and we have an “ah ha!” moment. It’s good to overthink Scripture because we are meditating on it.
    I don’t understand the definition of mysticism that was given in the topic or what the topic is trying to convey to us. That is my own fault.

  7. belleu says:

    I looked up the word mysticism and Wikipedia said the modern type is, “Union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God”. Your Commentary, Mart, also says that.

    When Jesus told the disciples we will be one with him, I’ve thought that meant a union. So, I’m not sure where that is bad. It is also defined as having an experience with God and learning the meaning of life, which is good. I do think God shows us the meaning of life: love.

    The problem comes when they defined mystics as having visions and teaching people. Well, I believe God gives visions to his people, but there are also false teachings from mystics. I guess if someone has a vision, then he must see if it agrees with the Bible. If someone tells us a vision then we need to do the same.

    “I am crucified with Christ…” “Christ lives in me…” This is a oneness or union with Christ. He lives in us; we live in him. We do this, “by faith…” by believing he does it. Is this a mystery? Paul says it is in Colossians 1:27.

    I guess modern mysticism is taking this truth one step further than God intended by making it too much about feelings, miracles and visions. At least, that is what I get out of this.

  8. Bill says:

    Good Evening Mart and Friends,

    Very interesting and important topic.

    I’ve been pondering the subjects of mysticism and the contemplative traditions for year or two now.

    Catholics still embrace both. Protestants, not so much.

    Somewhere along the way – perhaps at the split during the Reformation, but certainly within the last three to four decades – Protestantism departed from mysticism as well as contemplative practices, relegating both to the Catholic tradition.

    In the process, I believe Protestantism has lost a great deal, turning our tradition into mere rote, putting too much emphasis on the words themselves rather than the spirit behind them.

    This is, essentially, what Fundamentalism and hard-right Christianity preaches today: That the scriptures are all we need and any manifestation of the spirit (think Charismatic or Pentecostal) is not only discouraged but in many circles severely denounced.

    This has caused a tremendous split in the Christian faith – not only deepening the divide between Protestants and Catholics, but also between Protestant denominations, some of which embrace contemplative practices as well as mysticism.

    Today, we have a hard-right Christianity, a hard-left Christianity, and a more spirit- or mysticism-driven Christianity that overlaps both somewhere in the middle…with all camps pointing to the other and either outright proclaiming “Heretic!” or thinking it inwardly.

    It’s a completely unhealthy situation.

    This is why I believe there’s something to be learned from Catholicism with its reliance on the contemplative practices as well as mysticism.

    Thomas Merton, for example, was the most famous Catholic contemplative. He was known for his deep, deep devotion to God, as well as his open heart and mind for other traditions, such as Zen (Merton and the Dalai Lama were friends during the 1960s).

    Current contemplatives/mystics are Richard Rohr, David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Keating, Joan Chittister (all Catholics), as well as Richard J. Foster (a Quaker), Phyllis Tickle, Rob Bell, and Shane Claiborne (from the so-called Emergent-Church movement).

    Unfortunately, all of those who embrace mysticism or the contemplative practices are considered liberals or even heretics.

    Why? Simply because these people preach less reliance on the words of the Bible than they do on orthopraxy – the actual living of the scriptures, embodying the spirituality behind them.

    In short, contemplatives and mystics – once considered the warp and woof of those who are deeply committed to the scriptures and to God – are now awarded anachronistic status at best and heretics at worst.

    I believe a lack of mysticism and contemplativeness in the Protestant tradition has left us brittle and inflexible when it comes to those who hold other opinions. We have dug in our heels and built a very, very high wall between ourselves and all other faith traditions – even those of our own faith.

    Again, not healthy.

    This is why I think Mart’s topic is so important. It contains with in it the seeds to help rejuvenate the Protestant tradition.

    Love to All,


  9. street says:

    Mart and Bill are going to make this an interesting week. i think people can just quote Bible verses are dangerous people. James says faith without works is DEAD! Isaiah 28:9-11 gives the same warning. the quote,”just give me Jesus” makes much sense only if you don’t rest till your goal is reached. If Jesus purpose in coming is to reconcile the world to God,then Matthew 25:35-40 makes more sense instead of giving temporary satisfaction from food, water, clothing,medicine,bondage to give food/water that satisfies the soul, clothing of righteousness, healing the soul from sin, freedom from bondage of sin, that is found in Christ. sure we do the temporary and God continues to work. Colossians 2:18-20 the growth is from God not men, all the infighting is not from God.

  10. bubbles says:

    There are three suppositions we need to have:
    1. God is.
    2. God revealed Himself to us.
    3. God revealed Himself to us in Jesus His Son and through Scripture, which is inspired and infallible. God breathed the Word and it has no mistakes.

    God says that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine–what we should believe–for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

    Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” The “I am. . . is THE I AM–of the Old Testament.

    “I AM” the way. . .there is no other way. No other writings or other people, not the Dahli Lama, not Budda, not Krishna, not the pope, not Mother Teresa, not Mary, no other person other than Jesus.

  11. street says:

    Mart said… delivered us not only from the jurisdiction of the law—but from reason to live by own pride and sense of self-accomplishment— involves far more than our minds can understand.
    reminds me of what satan did in the garden when talking with eve and adam. he made them self-aware and tricked them to disobey. the truth will set you free…Jesus confronted satan with truth every time. self-awareness is not Love the first command. truth frees us from self-awareness/ Love in Spirit and Truth establishes Gods Kingdom on earth and the gates of hades shall not prevail. this just might be the force we were blogging about earlier. this love is powerful action that does things/ Gods will.

  12. street says:

    bubbles you go girl!

  13. bubbles says:

    This is only what God has said. It’s not about me.

  14. Bill says:


    You wrote (August 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm):

    * “I AM” the way. . .there is no other way. No other writings or other people, not the Dahli Lama, not Budda, not Krishna, not the pope, not Mother Teresa, not Mary, no other person other than Jesus. *

    Who said anything about salvation associated with the people you listed?

    Not I.

    Not Mart.

    Why did you jump to that conclusion?

    You expressed what I think is a fundamental problem with Christianity in the 21st century – we’ve walled ourselves off from people who believe differently from we do, whether the difference is vast or slight.

    For that reason, I don’t think it’s Satan with whom we do battle. I don’t think our problem is forces of darkness. I think our problem is ourselves. We’ve created a kind of darkness by withdrawing the light from the world and hiding it behind walls we built with our own hands.

    We’re afraid to rub shoulders with people who believe differently from us. It’s like we’re afraid of being tainted, influenced, affected by them.

    I see nothing wrong with understanding what other people believe, even finding wisdom in other faith traditions. I’d love to have the Dalai Lama as a friend. Or the Pope. And I would have been honored to have known Mother Teresa.

    When we start dividing people into groups of those whom are “clean” enough for us to associate with and those that aren’t, we’ve succumbed to the same hollow faith that Jesus dealt with from the Scribes and Pharisees.

    I want to suck the marrow from life’s bones. I intend to befriend as many people as possible – Catholic, Zen, Sikh, Baptist, Charismatic, monk, layperson…you name it. My life, and theirs, can only be richer for it.

    Love to All,


  15. street says:

    dear Bill it is important to understand that we live in a fallen world and interact with it on a daily basis. we need to get the dirt washed off daily including thoughts and ideas that are counter to God’s Word. i believe there is no other book on pare with the Bible. It even dares you to test it out. it says it’s prophesies set it apart from everything know to man. it will be meaningless unless you come to the one who wrote it and ask Him for help.
    Bill your motive for meeting others is to consume them? try the impossible….love them like God does.

  16. Bill says:

    My “motive for meeting others”?

    I don’t understand what you mean. What is your “motive” for meeting others?

    If you’ve been following my posts over the past couple of years you know that my entire message is LOVE.

    So I DO “love them like God does.”

  17. street says:

    Bill said, In the process, I believe Protestantism has lost a great deal, turning our tradition into mere rote, putting too much emphasis on the words themselves rather than the spirit behind them.

    I think protestantism suffers from prosperity and self-reliance like the Church of Laodicea. John said Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    my Hope and Love is with-in the Veil. needs worked out here and now in His presents.

  18. bubbles says:

    I never said or implied that we wall ourselves off from other people. We need to have friends who are not believers. Jesus ate with people who did not believe. But if you look at His inner circle, they were Peter, James, and John. They were believers. We should show love and respect to all people. We will become like those with whom we associate closely. I think we need to spend our time studying and learning the truth. In God’s Word we will find all the wisdom and truth that we need. The law of the Lord is perfect.

  19. belleu says:

    Bill wrote:
    “Simply because these people preach less reliance on the words of the Bible than they do on orthopraxy – the actual living of the scriptures, embodying the spirituality behind them.”

    I believe in relying on the Bible and testing all gifts and spiritual experiences by it, for it is the Word of God and a precious gift God has given to us so we may not be led astray. How can we test the spirits if not by the Bible? 1 John 4:1.

    Jeremiah 14:14 says there are false visions and people who are deluded. These people may believe their visions are from God – though they are not. No matter how good the vision is; no matter how the vision makes you feel; it doesn’t mean it is from God. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22.

  20. quietgrace says:

    Interesting conversation. bubbles you said, We will become like those with whom we associate closely.

    Jesus said, John 10:28 No one can take them out of my hands. I have had close relationships with non-believers and Jesus has never let me go, in fact, He counseled me all through them and still does. Along with the scriptures.

    We don’t ‘save’ people (my thoughts here)we just love and enjoy them as creatures of the living God. It’s evil we shun, and evil has many faces, both beautiful and ugly. As they said during WWII, we just shoot them and let God sort them out. Well, we just love them and let God sort out the wheat from the tares on judgement day.

  21. poohpity says:

    Those who are in Christ do not live under the law they live by faith and grace. They do not live should do’s (old covenant) they “I Will’s” says the Lord almighty((new covenant). Hebrews 8:9-13

  22. foreverblessed says:

    THe problem with the Word of God is, that it can only be understood with the Holy Spirit. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit anything can be taken out of it. “As a man thinks so is he,” and so he gets out of the bible. The Holy Spirit is not of this world, it is a mystery to the natural mind, for me that is another word for “mysticism”.
    1 Cor 2:12,13
    Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Matt 19:6 also meaning the Word and the Holy Spirit.

  23. foreverblessed says:

    I once read a book about a christian who went to India, the person said: a person who goes into the mysticism of Buddha or any other spiritual religion becomes more and more detached from the earth and the senses. A person who lives in the mysticism of the Holy Spirit becomes more and more grounded on the earth. With me adding to it: with the feet standing on this earth, but with our heads in the Kingdom of God. Better grounded on the earth to meet our fellow man who also needs redemption, that we have been freely given.

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Another old saying is “All that glitters is not gold”.

    Since it seems necessary to post a disclaimer let me state that my comments are my opinions, experiences and thoughts. I am in no way insisting anyone adopt my beliefs or philosophy.

    To me there is a difference between “Spiritualism and Mysticism” though both can be misused and misunderstood by anyone.

    The religion of Babylon and Persia, mentioned in Scripture, was a mixture of astrology and “mysticism”. In fact if you watch cartoons or movies or artistic representations of these people you always see them dressed in robes with pointed hats depicting the moon and stars.

    They were “mystics”, they believed and practiced their art of trying to interact with spiritual beings, see the future, know all things, and use incantations to magically make thing happen.

    The “Occult” as we call it today is just the same old “religion” as it was thousands of years ago.

    The famous Magi who came seeking the King of the Jews were such men and it was their study of astrology and from the readings of the Torah that led them to Bethlehem and to Jesus.

    During the “Dark Ages” the Roman Catholic Church outlawed the practice of “Mysticism” related to what was considered the worship of the dark arts or Satan and went about burning all books or related writings that supported it or mentioned it.

    I believe the religion of Babylon is warned of in Scripture with dire results.

    Like everything, there is a separation between the supernatural aspects of Christianity and the supernatural expectations of the occults. The danger seems to be when you try and blend the two together.

    We are told from the Word that when a man and woman are joined together in marriage they become one. Yet Jesus answered the question of whose wife is she in the resurrection if she married multiple times by saying in Heaven there is no marriage.

    The answers are found in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit of God will lead us to Truth, and the embodiment of truth is Jesus our Creator.

    Be careful of what wets your intellectual appetite.


  25. quietgrace says:

    Jesus being an intellectual had no problem engaging society, no matter their socio/economic status. As a child he learned from the intellectuals in the temple. What do we have to fear? I learn a lot from intellectuals like Mart, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller, and yes, even the buddha has taught me how to be less judgmental and to relax in the moment, though I am always relaxing in Jesus. Without the intellectuals of science we would not learn about the planets, climate, animal behavior, even how our bodies work. If all our intellectual pursuits are wrapped within the framework of God and His son, our lives are enriched as Bill said and we can more fully enjoy creation that God has called ‘good’.

    A house built on rock will stand. That rock being Jesus.

  26. haru says:

    To believe His simple gospel is to be humble and true.. I found I’m too arrogant to do and be.. I’m sorry for my rude attitudes, and thank you for your sincere comments.

  27. street says:

    Today, we have a hard-right Christianity, a hard-left Christianity, and a more spirit- or mysticism-driven Christianity that overlaps both somewhere in the middle…with all camps pointing to the other and either outright proclaiming “Heretic!” or thinking it inwardly.

    It’s a completely unhealthy situation.

    i think of the division that accrued in Israel after Solomon’s death. to be honest, Solomon’s failures had a direct effect on the breakup. Samaria built their own temple, disregarding God’s Word. Samaria became a great metropolitan center. Judah continued with disdain for their northren counter part. But i have to remind you that both got kicked out of the land because they drifted away from God. “unhealthy situation” would be an understatement, but it is gracious!

    guard your hearts in Christ Jesus…..watch and pray in the Holy Spirit. if you don’t you will get tricked into disobeying God just like Samuel did when he made a covenant with the people of the land. Joshua 9:15

  28. quietgrace says:

    Joshua 9:14 If they had taken counsel from the Lord things would have turned out differently. There is always a danger of straying/disobedience when we lean on our own or even others’ understanding-Prov.3:5-7

  29. street says:

    ops mixing up Samuel and Joshua Joshua9:15

  30. belleu says:

    I enjoy reading books by people of different faiths. I’ve read Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton, and Dalai Lama. Mother Teresa was, in my opinion, the most loving Christian I’ve every read about and her books are full of love. I’m not a Catholic, but I can appreciate some of their writings and people. I’ve read some people say Thomas Merton was a mystic. Many years ago I read a book by him that helped me a lot. I don’t know much about him though.

    Sometimes, when I listen to Christian preachers on TV, I feel farther away from their teachings than Buddhism. When Christians preach about money and prosperity, it misrepresents God and puts a dark blot on Christianity. When preachers tell their flock how to vote and preach about politics, I cringe.

    I think we have to be careful who we listen to in Christian circles as well as outside Christianity. I recently got a Christian book out of the library but only read a few chapters because what she wrote was different than what the Bible teaches. 2 Timothy 4:3

  31. quietgrace says:

    Street you said, Today, we have a hard-right Christianity, a hard-left Christianity, and a more spirit- or mysticism-driven Christianity that overlaps both somewhere in the middle…with all camps pointing to the other and either outright proclaiming “Heretic!” or thinking it inwardly.

    It’s a completely unhealthy situation.

    I have been thinking about this statement and about my own posts and have recognized that when I feel ‘good’ about what I believe and why I believe it my ego is inflated. Less of me, more of Him is what is needed. If I can accept what others think without throwing stones or at the very least ignoring them all together, that is loving others as I love myself.

  32. street says:

    (Gal 2:20)

    Every phrase seemed as liberating as threatening.

    yes i will say i feel the threat too. crucified is pass tense, but we still get to take up the cross daily….ouch! i think of the phrase “even though He slay me…” Job comes to mind.

    for Christ, somehow, was with us, as we were with him.
    Yes He was thinking of us on the cross and many other things. He was praying for us too in the garden the night before.

    And the life that now defines us in Christ is no “w” longer our own, yes we were bought back with,the way, the truth and the life, after we sold ourselves out for a lie.

    but that of Christ who lives in us… who loved us, and gave himself for us… yes He gave us His Spirit, a.k.a.Holy Spirit, to teach and guide us. stay tuned to the Holy Spirit would be like tuning in a radio or TV and removing the tuning knob throwing away the remote. easier said then done. train up a heart in me to discern your presents at all times and faith when times are darkest. let my heart delight in Him at all times.wait for, look for and do not give up. theology is good with a limp because of the alternative.

    passing note the worlds idea of dealing with evil is Commander James Bond 007 God way is a cross. God richly bless His children in Christ Jesus the Captain of their souls. Shepard, Priest, Prophet, King, Son of man, Son of God, works better.

  33. street says:

    Dear grace Today, we have a hard-right Christianity, a hard-left Christianity, and a more spirit- or mysticism-driven Christianity that overlaps both somewhere in the middle…with all camps pointing to the other and either outright proclaiming “Heretic!” or thinking it inwardly.

    It’s a completely unhealthy situation.

    That was Bill’s observation and thoughts.

  34. SFDBWV says:

    For those of us that believe in the “Trinity” we understand that God the Father is God the Son and They are also God the Holy Spirit making up the Person known as “God”.

    There is nothing mystical about this; this is how the Bible has represented the three part person of God. Everything that exists came from Him and everything is under His authority, to Him is all the power.

    When we receive the Holy Spirit He *gives* gifts to people in order to have His will exacted through them. The “gifts” of the Holy Spirit are not mystical powers granted to the person, but rather a power of the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit uses and controls, not the person through whom the gift is given.

    The Bible and our lives are awash with supernatural events; to me there is nothing mystic about that rather it is God supernaturally interacting with mankind. Many times for our benefit, but always in alignment with His will, not ours directly. Because if we pray as Jesus instructed we ask for His will to be done.

    I once ask a psychiatrist whom I knew if he believed in God. He was Jewish and at the time in his late 70’s; actually a very personable and talented man.

    His answer was that yes he believed in God, but believed that He (God) didn’t exist somewhere up in the sky, but rather in the hearts and minds of men.

    The psalms declare that God is wherever His creation is. I don’t see mystical powers at play here, rather it is simply that we are all part of creation and wherever creation is God is there also.

    Jesus and *only* Jesus opens up a proper relationship for us with God and allows for us to be restored to our proper place with Him and creation.


  35. Bill says:

    @belleu, you wrote (August 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm) one of the very best posts I’ve read here on Mart’s blog.

    Thank you.

    That was profound. I believe Wisdom, love, and compassion can be found in many places, spoken by many different people. Not all who claim to be Christians actually are.


  36. poohpity says:

    I can attest to that mystical experience of becoming one with God’s Spirit. That time when I understood just what it meant to be forgiven and shown God’s amazing grace. It was overpowering and I was brought to me knees in gratitude. How can one explain that except to say it was mystical and unforgettable. So I understand what Kennedy was talking about.

    The times when I have walked away from that safe place and prayed to bring me back to that experience of my first realization of that love He has been faithful to answer that prayer. I know that there are times when I am not faithful but that does not mean God ever let’s me go. That seems to be what is meant by Christian Mysticism.

    I do not read the Bible to teach others I read to be taught about that person who was willing to give His life for me. I see Him from Genesis to Revelation. There is where my relationship with God grows because I desire to know more about the God I love (out of desire not cause I have to).

    I can read many other things about their philosophies of life which I have but why not get it directly from the One who created everything in life. I know when I read a scripture what it means as applied to my relationship with Christ (Col 2:6-10 NLT) because I ask God to show me. It is all so weird one can name it supernatural or a mystery or Christian Mysticism because being a human it really is hard to describe unless you have experienced it for yourself then you know.

  37. poohpity says:

    Bill I so agree with your thought that not all who claim they are Christians actually are. But isn’t that up to God who knows their heart to determine. I wonder what leading people away from the inspired Word of God says about their relationship with Him?

  38. quietgrace says:

    Oh, ok thanks Street for setting me straight about Bills post.

  39. poohpity says:

    One of the most beautiful things about God that I have found is His desire for us to know Him, not to just know about Him, but to know Him personally up close. That amazes me because we are talking about the One who spoke chaos into order and spoke this world into existence and He wants us to get to know Him. Hosea said, “Oh that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him and He will respond to us as surely as the coming of the dawn or the rain of early spring.” then God said to Hosea, “I don’t want your sacrifices–I want your love; I don’t want your offerings–I want you to know me.”

    Can someone who does not believe in God teach about God? Can one who thinks they are a deity teach about God? Can different philosophers speak about anything other than what they think or perceive trying to figure things out without the main part of the puzzle, the core of existence? We need God to explain God that is what Jesus did.

  40. belleu says:

    I took Philosophy 101 in university and found it to be enlightening. Socrates said, as he was dying, that “death is a good,” because you would go on to the next life and see those who went before you. Something like that. lol I still read that and I believe Socrates was a saved man who lived up to all the light he had. He was a great light for good.

    When I was studying ‘Determinism’ I understood for the first time what Jesus meant by being a, “slave to sin.” This was a big eye-opener for me, how we have no control over our life and what we will do. I realized that philosophy left out that we do have one choice in life: to follow God or not. God is the only way to escape from a life that is determined and sinful.

    So, I do think we can learn from philosophers because perhaps God is working with them and speaking through them.
    Thanks for the kind words, Bill. It has been wonderful reading everyone’s comments.

  41. street says:

    i.e. bearing in the rage of human violence… the rightful consequence of our sin and guilt.

    i don’t think humans can rightfully punish with violence and rage. i do know it is temporary. God’s punishment that He talks about in scripture is much more ominous. perfect internal, external, eternal, punishment. makes me cringe thinking about it.

    reminds me of God letting David chose his own punishment for sin, think numbering the people. David was smart he let God chose for him.

  42. quietgrace says:

    Hebrews 1:1-3 doesn’t say anything about the philosophers, but also doesn’t negate prophecy as a gift. They all have their ideas of where and how the universe came to be and what our purpose here on earth is, but I believe only Jesus has the words that lead to everlasting life.

    I think it is ‘nice’ to think that somehow all will be saved, but the scriptures say something else. Although Jesus did descend to hell and speak to the souls down there, we are left wondering just who heard and received Jesus message of freedom.

    But yes! God works through all, philosophers and beggars alike!

  43. street says:

    belleu said, So, I do think we can learn from philosophers because perhaps God is working with them and speaking through them.

    2 Corinthians 6:16

    2 Corinthians 6:14

    dualistic or pluralistic operating systems do not work. i discovered this in my own life and it was a disaster. it took me time to figure out what happen. it was similar to what happened in the movie 2001 Space Oddesy. hale had to make a choice between different orders that were programed in just before launch. poor dave. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
    it doesn’t have to be wealth it could be anything else. people will choose just about anything to serve.

    hopefully when speaking with a non-believer they will walk away richer after speaking to you. i have to admit God can and dose bless any encounter His children run into. Matthew 4:7

  44. Bill says:

    @street, you wrote (August 25, 2014 at 7:58 pm):

    “belleu said, So, I do think we can learn from philosophers because perhaps God is working with them and speaking through them.

    2 Corinthians 6:16

    2 Corinthians 6:14”

    I’m not sure what those verses have to do with what belleu wrote.

    The first one says this:

    “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.”

    The second one says this:

    “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

    Neither one of those verses fits. The former is about idols and dwelling places. The latter is the one usually associated with marrying an unbeliever.

    Belleu isn’t interested in idols, dwelling places, or marriage.

    But let’s say those verses could be stretched to apply to Belleu’s statements.

    Let’s try an experiment for a minute just to see how consistent you are in your use of them.

    Question: Where do you get your car serviced? Do you eat at McDonald’s? Do you buy books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble? Do you ride in a taxi cab? Do you fly on an airplane? Do you step into elevators from time to time? Do you buy your groceries from a local retailer?

    If you answered Yes to any of those questions, do you make sure beforehand that the purveyors of those goods and services are fellow believers? Is it a Christian McDonald’s? A Christian airline company? A Christian book seller? A Christian elevator company? A Christian grocer?

    Of course not. Nobody does.

    Yet, in every instance I listed, one could apply to you the same verses you used to correct Belleu. You were unequally yoked with unbelievers because you did business with them or used their services – which, arguably, could be considered worse than merely finding wisdom in the words of philosophers.

    In my experience, Christians often use scriptures to shape others into their own image. Yet, they rarely use those same verses to measure their own attitudes or actions.

    You wrote:

    “dualistic or pluralistic operating systems do not work.”

    Really? Name one system that’s 100% one or the other, that’s pure, without taint, just straight down the line one single ideology.

    Not even Christianity fits that description. Nothing in life does. There is no one kind of Christianity. Obviously, given all the comments here over the years. There are many different kinds of Christians, and dozens upon dozens of different ways that Christians think, and what they believe.

    On one hand, it could be argued that you’re right. The state of Christianity today doesn’t work. Yet, when wasn’t Christianity like this? There have been schisms and arguments and divisions and splits since Day One. There’s never been one way of looking at anything. It’s always been pluralistic and/or dualistic. (Dualism is a problem in itself, as some spiritual traditions teach. But that’s another story entirely.)

    You wrote:

    “i discovered this in my own life and it was a disaster.”

    Are you saying that just because it was a disaster for you that it must, therefore, be a disaster for Belleu? If so, why are you the measuring stick for what works and what doesn’t? Aren’t we all individuals before God, responsible for our own lives?

    You wrote:

    ” it took me time to figure out what happen. it was similar to what happened in the movie 2001 Space Oddesy. hale had to make a choice between different orders that were programed in just before launch. poor dave. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
    it doesn’t have to be wealth it could be anything else. people will choose just about anything to serve.”

    I can guarantee you that the director (Kubrick) of 2001 was not a Christian. Yet, you watched the movie and even to this day derive a lesson from it. How does that differ from Belleu’s statement about finding wisdom in the words of philosophers? Didn’t you just unequally yoke yourself with Stanley Kubrick?

    Christians are way too uptight, and often argue against one another because of it. If a Christian mentions mysticism or contemplative practices or – gee whiz! – learning something from another spiritual tradition, people immediately bring out the scriptures to prove them wrong, try to correct them, get them to stop whatever it is they’re doing.

    I swear, Christians spend more time attacking each other than they do demonstrating to the world that Jesus loves.

  45. cbrown says:

    Bill, your IQ must be off the charts.

  46. foreverblessed says:

    Ha, ha, yes indeed.
    “The mysticism of the Bible, however, affirms the true personhood of people and all that God has created in the natural world, never calling for negation or withdrawal except where God’s creation has been contaminated by sin.”
    The topic says that there is a mysticism of the bible, or rather of God.
    I get the impression that some of us here do not want to have to do with anything that is mysticism. And then it gets a quarrel for words, and that is so useless.

    Having a closer relation with God on a personal level is mysticism to many straight christians, like the reformed ones in my surroundings, and they shun it.
    I often give the devotion: God calling by twolisteners to other christians, to help them in having a closer relation with God. A real close relation with God, that you hear Him talking to you personally, (not necassarily with words), and that is for many christians a thread. I know, I cannot tell my mother, neither many other close christian friends, when I tell them that God is telling me this and that. And I have learned to be gentle with them.
    God has many children, and they are all on different levels in their walk with God.
    Like for instance, a christian lady told me 12 years ago that we are also offering up ourselves for saving others. And I was out of my mind about it: Jesus sacrifice was enough, and once for all. My sacrifice was not needed.
    And I do not know anymore how I reacted, God forgive me, if I went too much against it in real words to her.
    Now I am not so sure about that anymore.
    -At the end of the day, give all your illnesses and setbacks as an offering to God, for the saving of a soul that is in trouble-
    Rom 12:1
    Is that a message that the Holy Spirit can say to you?
    Or is it a mystical message that is to be ignored?

  47. bubbles says:

    Psalm 119:100-105

  48. Bill says:

    @foreverblessed, you wrote (August 26, 2014 at 3:19 am):

    “I get the impression that some of us here do not want to have to do with anything that is mysticism. And then it gets a quarrel for words, and that is so useless.”

    You nailed it.

    This is precisely the issue – and what has caused major splits in the Protestant church.

    It is also what the book “The Bible Made Impossible” by Christian Smith touches on.

    Mart’s topic comes down to this: Do we worship the words in the Bible – the black- (or black-and-red) words on the pages – or do we allow those words and the spirit behind them to permeate our lives and live in us and through us?

    In short, do we worship the Bible? Or do we worship the living God?

    Before you outright dismiss those questions, please let them sink in. I believe they are the most important a Christian could ask himself or herself. They are the rock-bottom foundation of everything wrong with Christianity today.

    The major splits and divisions within Christianity and between Christians and others occurred because of Fundamentalism, which really kicked into high gear in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The hardline Fundamentalists took the position Sola Scriptura – which was Luther’s rallying cry at the Reformation, if you recall – and made it absolute. And I do mean absolute.

    In other words, according to such people (and they are represented today by famous authors and teachers) NOTHING exists in Christianity apart from what is written in the Bible, certainly not anything mystical or unexplainable that is not specifically written on the pages.

    This is what Protestants have against Catholics. And Charismatics. And even Buddhists, Hindus, philosophers, or others who offer knowledge, truth, love, and compassion that cannot be found in the Bible. Or, to put it another way, because the Bible could be read in a Sola Scriptura fashion to EXCLUDE anyone who isn’t a Christian, what others have to offer (if they aren’t Christians) is disregarded as meaningless, unimportant…even dangerous.

    But the very opposite is true: the danger lies in excluding everyone else.

    That’s where the Christian path took a wrong turn. When we circled the wagons and considered anyone who isn’t like us (whatever “like us” is defined as today) to be a kind of enemy, not to be listened to or trusted (or learned from!), that’s when the wheels fell off the bus and we become a powerless, meaningless, laughingstock of a religion. The world doesn’t trust us, like us, or respect us because, frankly, we’ve demonstrated we’re not trustworthy, likable, or respectable.

    There’s nothing wrong with Sola Scriptura (“scripture alone”) – unless it becomes a straight jacket that prevents us from experiencing extra-biblical – in this case, mystical or contemplative – phenomena concurrent with our Christian walk.

    @cbrown, if by “IQ” you mean Irritant Quotient, then I agree with you. I’m a Grade-A irritant much of the time. :)

  49. poohpity says:

    Bill , forgive me for I have sinned. Teach me your ways so that I can live a life pleasing to you. I know your ways and words are right, just and true leading me to everlasting life. I pray your spirit come upon me so that I have the ability to love others the way you have loved me. It is in Bill’s name I pray, Amen.

  50. quietgrace says:

    Full Definition of SARCASM Miriam-Webster

    : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
    a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
    Pooh just trying to understand your comment, are you just being funny or?

  51. poohpity says:

    How funny is that. It is easy to understand sarcasm but understanding “Christian Mysticism” now that is a different story and the one I thought we were talking about. It seems when no one understands the topic it gets changed into what we do understand judgement, criticism, sarcasm, finding fault, philosophies, etc..

  52. quietgrace says:

    Ha ha ha, we have different styles of humor I guess!

  53. bubbles says:

    Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight in the the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate both day and night.”

    When the FBI agents learn to identify counterfeit currency, they do not study the counterfeits. They intensely study real bills so when they come across a counterfeit they will know because they studied the TRUE one. They don’t need to study all the false dollars.

    All we need to know is found the Bible. All wisdom comes from God. It is perfect and without error.

  54. street says:

    lets say for example i was perfect, i am not.
    John my car service tech is Christian and his employess
    instead of McDonalds is Chic-Filia ok?
    getting books and things from Christians publishers
    how about calling a cab from the Christian Blue pages.
    have not flown in awhile don’t like flying.
    buy groceries at the kosher store.

    there are people like that in the world but not of the world….1kings19:17-18 you think it is an impossible thing for God. i think not.

    which, arguably, could be considered worse than merely finding wisdom in the words of philosophers.
    my question to you is, ” where does wisdom come from?”

    all i am saying is you can not put dead philosophers and Jesus on the same level. you might inadvertently build with untested materials, wood, hay,stubble. the uneven yoking came when i added worldly wisdom to what i knew was true and sound. i did not connect that it was from man and not God. circumstance blew up in my face when i trusted worldly wisdom to support me and i suffered for it and rightly so.

    Name one system that’s 100% one or the other, that’s pure, without taint, just straight down the line one single ideology.answer Judaism and Christianity as taught by God Himself. Why don’t you believe Him? Why are you looking to another?

  55. street says:

    thank you bubbles….*hick*

  56. poohpity says:

    That is true bubbles yet even people that read the bible still can become legalistic in their understanding. Esotericism leads one to believe that there is something we can do that will gain a relationship with the divine or earn favor to make that relationship possible. We as Christians know that it is not what we do but what Christ has done, it is by faith in His grace that we have that relationship. It is not a secret or revealed only to special people.

  57. poohpity says:

    Just like that raccoon is caged for the purpose of relocation we seemed to caged in this flesh which is prone to sin until we can be relocated to that good and perfect place no longer caged by our flesh. That is only accomplished by faith in the One who paid the penalty not in anything we can do. We are like the raccoon that destroys things when left to itself that is just his nature but having the Spirit of God living in us it changes us naturally.

  58. quietgrace says:

    Acts 17:16-34 NIV

    I think that Paul was able to speak to and be heard by the philosophers of his day because he knew what they thought. Paul was brilliant, and his ability to speak to them was certainly used by God. Knowledge of the culture was obviously important as a part of God’s plan.

  59. bubbles says:

    Ps. 1 is not about legalism. We are not saved by what we do. Jesus is the only way to Heaven; not in us following a set of rules or keeping the ten commandments.

  60. belleu says:

    Street, I don’t put Socrates on the same level as Jesus. But I was shocked and pleased when I read about his belief in one God and how he went about asking the question, “What is virtue,” and got people talking about what is good. I could see the Holy Spirit had moved on him to teach the Greeks long, long ago. Of course they killed him for it.

    Someone mentioned how God chose the Magi to seek his Son when he was born. He could have chosen the priests or rulers of the one true religion of that day but he didn’t. Why? Because they were not “truly” religious. They had the form of religion but not the power. As Jesus said, “I know you have no love of God in you.” The magi from the east had an acceptable belief in God. They studied him, listened to him, and obeyed him.

  61. belleu says:

    I don’t think we have to be sarcastic or angry when we disagree with others. I used to say to my sister, “Well, we can agree to disagree!” She finally decided that was true and we could have really good discussions. She believes in evolution – I don’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love each other and be polite about it.

  62. street says:

    bill said
    For that reason, I don’t think it’s Satan with whom we do battle. I don’t think our problem is forces of darkness. I think our problem is ourselves. We’ve created a kind of darkness by withdrawing the light from the world and hiding it behind walls we built with our own hands.

    Bill you are wrong on this one Ephesians 6:12. sure pride is a problem but we are out of our league with satan by ourselves. you can not make darkness it is the absence of light. we are not the light of the world Jesus is. if people see the light it is because we were abiding in the vine it’s a work of God not man. remember you can do “nothing” apart from me? John 15:5
    if we say we know Him and His light,Word, is not in us we lie. i do wonder about the walls we build are they from our hands,walls of ignorance, lack of faith, or walls of truth that are inaccessible like the Kings Highway?

  63. street says:

    that’s when the wheels fell off the bus and we become a powerless, meaningless, laughingstock of a religion. The world doesn’t trust us, like us, or respect us because, frankly, we’ve demonstrated we’re not trustworthy, likable, or respectable.

    they are not rejecting us they are rejecting Christ!

    Jesus was powerless meaningless laughingstock the world did not trust Him like Him respect Him we hung Him on a tree!

    we meant it for evil, He meant it for Good. only God is Good.

  64. street says:

    dear blessed you said,” Like for instance, a christian lady told me 12 years ago that we are also offering up ourselves for saving others. And I was out of my mind about it: Jesus sacrifice was enough, and once for all.”

    true, but people today did not witness it being played out in the life of Christ. today we are His flesh and blood. Christ in us. paul spoke of suffering in Christ place filling up what was lacking. yes double take here and double take again. Colossians 1:24

  65. street says:

    Paul labored till Christ was formed in His loved ones.
    Colossians 1:28-29

  66. Bill says:

    Street, you wrote:

    *Bill you are wrong on this one Ephesians 6:12. sure pride is a problem but we are out of our league with satan by ourselves. you can not make darkness it is the absence of light. we are not the light of the world Jesus is. if people see the light it is because we were abiding in the vine it’s a work of God not man. remember you can do “nothing” apart from me? John 15:5 *

    No, I am not wrong – regarding either reference:

    1. Not all problems/challenges/difficulties – especially those of our own making (which is what I was talking about) are caused by Satan. I’m not even going to get into the mania that occurs when believers attribute every difficulty to Satan and/or demons,

    2. Matthew 5:13-20 clearly states that WE (believers) are the light of the world. We are the salt and light. Christ is speaking to his followers when he said, “You are the light of the world.”

    I clearly meant that we – the people who represent Jesus – have taken our light and have barricaded it behind self-imposed walls. We have made the world a darker place by removing the light from it.


  67. belleu says:

    If one believes that Laocdicea represents the last church on earth, then it is no surprise that most church members do not have God in their hearts. Jesus said they don’t know they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. He said he would spit them out of his mouth unless they repented. He had not one good thing to say about the church in the last days. This is very sad.

    We all need to pray we won’t be lukewarm and think we are rich and need nothing more than we have. He would rather have us be cold or hot.

    We Christians should reflect the light of Jesus to the world, but I have to agree with Bill that a lot of Christians bring shame to the church. It is usually the vocal well-known people and people who get on the news.

    I just read on the news tonight that some Christians held a protest in front of a strip bar in order to close it down. Now, I have also read of some Christian women going to strip bars and offering help to the women who want to leave. Which is better? It is unfortunate, but we will always have the tares mixed in with the wheat. There is lots of good wheat in the church but they aren’t in the news spouting off hatred and intolerance.

    My experience in a church was somewhat positive but mostly negative because of intolerance and an unloving spirit. My pastor wouldn’t visit someone who was interested in becoming a Christian because she lived with her boyfriend. He told me the church board didn’t want unbelievers at my daughters wedding because they might smoke in the parking lot. One pastor was so rude to my mother-in-law that I had to apologize. He made her feel small and stupid about the Scriptures, when in reality she had more of God in her little finger than he did in his whole body.

    Okay, I’m done.

  68. poohpity says:

    Romans 2:1 Doesn’t it ring so true that we all are in need of God’s grace? God’s grace is the very foundation of what we are to share because that is what we are given so freely. That radiates more light and salt than anything else. That seems to be what is meant to love others as God loved us. It is totally out of our control to make others do it but when we see how undeserving we are it sure does make it easier not to expect things from others. The mysticism of Christ living in us helps us to focus more on that than anything else.

  69. street says:

    Bill i see your point on salt and light.

    point 1 yes we sin on our own no need for satan there.

    point 2 i did not become light or salt till Holy Spirit showed up. He was saying you can’t hide. the wall you mentioned.

  70. quietgrace says:

    God speaking to Luther: “Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend—it must transcend all comprehension. … Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. My comprehension transcends yours. Thus Abraham went forth from His father… not knowing whither he went. … Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man. Wherefore it is not you, no man… but I myself, who instruct you by my Word and Spirit in the way you should go. Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is clean contrary to all you choose or contrive or desire—that is the road you must take. To that I call you and in that you must be my disciple.”
    The Cost of Discipleship- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Christian Mysticism through Martin Luther one of the major reformers who opened the world’s eyes to grace.

  71. poohpity says:

    The best example recently of Christian Mysticism was the grace the Foley’s offered the person who beheaded their son. They know Christ and His grace and it is clearly seen as the light and salt of what they believe. It is not only words to them it is life.

  72. street says:

    i do believe satan blinds people to the truth and will use anything to block, distort,or discolor the light.
    2 Corinthians 4:3-5

    17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely [p]upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and [q]approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a [r]corrector of the foolish, a teacher of [s]the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who [t]preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast [u]in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

    you don’t have to be Jewish to wear these shoes,yes we fall short thanks be to God for our Savior Jesus Christ! what causes us to fall into this great treachery? satan self ignorance arrogance pride trickery laziness apathy….add your own here
    Matthew 18:8-10 the last verse i think refers to what Judah stumbled over sister Samaria. God is so impartial

  73. foreverblessed says:

    The topic at hand is I died to self, the life I now live I live in the Son of God.
    And that is something different then what the mystics of the eastern religions say.

    A well know christian is Sadu Sundar Singh. He wrote a lot about the mystical eastern religions.
    He was raised in India, to be a holy man, a Brahman, a sadu means teacher.
    But in his teens he became miserable, and he was searching for relief. He asked and asked his teachers, the holy men, tehy gave hin all the wise saying they have in their religion, and he would have to recite them. But that did not help him. He would say, all these wise sayings, they do not help the anguish of my soul.
    All these rituals you make me do, do not make my soul any happier. He was so miserable, at one night he decided to make an end to his life the next morning.
    Now, that night Jesus came in a visions to him, just like he did to Saul.
    Jesus came to save him. And at once he accepted that Life everlasting, that only Jesus can give.
    Sundar Singh was a powerful apostle to bring the Gospel of Jesus to all these eastern countries.
    (Even Corrie ten Boom met him when he made a tour through Europe just before the war)
    He says, these mystical religions, they are like men, who tell a person who is really hungry, starving because their stomach is empty: go and deny your hunger.
    Sundar would say, that is impossible, the person will die. And that is how it is with a person who is starving in his soul, you cannot tell him: go and deny yourself, no, he would die, out of anguish of heart, What he needs is food for his soul. And all these wise sayings, and rituals will not fill a starving soul. Only Jesus can do that.

    So Jesus comes and gives us real life, Spiritual Life, in other words, Jesus shines with His Light in our hearts. Gen 1:3
    And then comes Paul, he writes: the life I now live I live in the Son of God, and I no longer live. Gal 2:20
    That dying to self, is something different then what the eastern mystics say it is. We die to the old man, the part of us that is tainted by sin, the sinful part, but the real us will emerge, the unique me God sees and that is the unique me that He wanted in the first place. But it was in a ruined state. The ruins God takes away, that is dying to self. Not caging it in, but killing it. We can only kill it if we have received the life from heaven: Jesus Himself, the bread of life, the bread for the starving soul.
    No wise sayings can do that, neither wise sayings from the bible, neither the 10 commandments, they cannot save us. Jesus only can do that, and we live in that faith in Him, that being attached to Him we will live.
    And we can be a christian who knows all the rules, and the wise sayings of God that are in the bible, but if the Life of the Son of God is not in us, what does it help us? We need the Bread of Life, Jesus
    For in Him you have been enriched in every way
    1 Cor 1:4

  74. SFDBWV says:

    I for one will admit that when I read the word “mysticism” it conjured up the images I wrote about. Swamis, conjurers, spiritualists, mediums and the like.

    I suppose it is a cultural thing and one of word association. I have never thought of Christianity and mysticism in the same thought.

    For me it is kind of like thinking of Roseann Barr and sex at the same time…Just not possible.

    Reading the dictionaries definition of “mysticism” reads as follows; 1. The doctrines or beliefs of mystics; specif., the doctrine that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love without the medium of human reason. 2. Any doctrine that asserts the possibility of attaining knowledge of spiritual truths through intuition acquired by fixed meditation. 3. Vague, obscure, or confused thinking or belief.

    After reading through this explanation the discussion can broaden and turn on every explanation and I still see where there is a problem with joining the word Christian and mysticism in a realm of reality, it omits Jesus as the ability to commune with God, which *is* human reasoning as a choice and the doorway to attaining spiritual knowledge and truth.

    For those interested, the hummingbirds, all but 3, left here in mass the day before yesterday and the Robins last week. The season is changing.


  75. quietgrace says:

    Steve it makes me sad that the season is beginning to change already. Here also the leaves are beginning to turn color.

    Mart you quoted, “that contact between the human and the Divine which forms the core of the deepest religious experience, but which can only be felt as an immediate intuition of the highest reality and cannot be described in the language of psychology.”

    The word ‘intuition’ stands out. Some are more intuitive than others, I being one of those. For me faith in God is more explainable through my senses than through my intellect. It was a mystical experience for me that brought me to faith in Jesus Christ. Later as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the truths of scripture I began to put words to my experience, although I still can’t really explain how the spirit of God touched me in a way I shall never forget, and still experience daily.

    This morning pondering the mystery of union with Christ I read John 6:60-68 NLT. v.65 “people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” This seems to be more than mind over matter. It is to me a truly mystical experience, and one that we live in daily.

    God’s richest blessing in Christ Jesus to all who come here along with my love for all! Grace

  76. quietgrace says:

    Mart like your caged raccoon we too are caged by the Holy Spirit for our own good until we are finally translated from earth to heaven. Not that while in the flesh-as Pooh pointed out-are we protected from the works of the flesh, but we do have a hope in Christ of a much better future; and of being less of an irritant to those who do not understand our Christian faith.

  77. belleu says:

    Pooh wrote about grace, “It is totally out of our control to make others do it but when we see how undeserving we are it sure does make it easier not to expect things from others.” I like that. I know I do that – expect better things from Christians. I guess I refuse to give them the grace of forgiveness and understanding that I need so much for myself.

    Street, you quoted, “and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the BLIND, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?”

    That is a great quote for warning all of us not to think we know everything and be very careful of thinking we have all the truth about God. All of us can learn more each day and sometimes have our beliefs alter.

    Steve, I can see why you are leery of the word “mysticism” and Christianity being together. After reading about mysticism, it seems to me there is such a broad explanation of what it is that I’m still not sure. If visions and dreams from God are called mysticism then it is okay because God does do that for people. The definition you quoted is a kind of mysticism to avoid. We can’t live by intuition!

  78. street says:

    thanks for your post

    foreverblessed says:
    August 27, 2014 at 2:04 am

    i loved it!

  79. street says:

    i was thinking about how untrustworthy and unreliable my heart is not to mention my powers of observation. why on earth would i look to another man,unless He was God, for truth and wisdom? because he is rich, successful, pedigree, letters, maybe if they love me.

    Psalm 25 speaks about this, my heart causes much trouble.

    16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    For I am lonely and afflicted.
    17 [k]The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    Bring me out of my distresses.
    18 Look upon my affliction and my [l]trouble,
    And forgive all my sins.

  80. street says:

    sorry bellue that quote was Romans 2:17-24
    should have posted that.

  81. street says:

    Colossians 2:1-5 2 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not [a]personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth [b]that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. 5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing [c]to see [d]your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

  82. street says:

    Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, [h]rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made [i]complete, and He is the head [j]over all rule and authority;

  83. street says:

    thank you Holy Spirit and Been Thinking About now i know what Colossians is about!

  84. belleu says:

    I read all kinds of free sermons and books from the Gutenberg site. I also enjoy reading Yancey, Joyce Meyer and C.S. Lewis. I guess that is me going to humans to learn more about God. Maybe for me I don’t always understand the Bible as well as I should. Yancey and Lewis taught me why there is suffering and how to cope with it. The Bible does that too – but I just couldn’t get it. I was so angry about it. Having mature Christians explain the Scriptures helps me. I don’t always agree with everything though.

    When I read how people like Corrie Ten Boom lived through a concentration camp experience and what she learned about God, it helps me. It is God who changes my dark heart, but still, it helps me to see how others gave their sorrows to God and came out victorious.

    What I got from Socrates is that I was thrilled to see that God reached down to a pagan man, showed him truth and worked through him.

  85. street says:

    bellue did you meet Christ in those writings? did you see Him differently for the first time? a person who knows God hears His voice and they follow Him. they will not follow another. don’t regret your past God use all things to shape mold and conform us for Glory. God has disarmed sin and death and nullified the debt at the cross. He has made us spectacularly rich in loving relationships, eternal life, and an eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus that will never fade get old or boring!!! stunning…always look to the One your heart was made for. remember one planted one watered God caused the increase? they were planting and watering with Gods Word.

    here and now iron sharpens iron…..it is a work of a loving and faithful God……keep yourselves from idols.

  86. belleu says:

    Yes, I think I met Christ in those writings. I get a lot out of Christian literature along with the Bible. I meet Christ in “Discover the Word” too. I’m not sure if you are saying we should only read the Bible. I do put all I hear and read next to the Bible to see if it is true.

  87. foreverblessed says:

    Gal 2:20 Mart calls it christian mysticism, (Steve, I am glad that you do reconsider your first thoughts about mysticism, that makes my heart glad). Thank you Grace for telling about your experience! How great is our God, to shine in our heart. God did shine in my heart, but it was not a sudden thing, very very slowly, and He still does shine more and more.
    I have always struggled with the above verse, the Life in Christ is great, but the dying to self is hard to get: Does God not want us personally, do we have to be clones of Jesus?
    I read God at eventide from two listeners, the one of Aug 26 worried me: No claim of self-life.
    But then the one of the next day, Aug 27 made my heart glad again: God does want us personally, our uniqueness of our life, it it only the self-life that is ruined by sin that has to go, not caged, but has to be killed. And that is what I could write yesterday.
    Our old self must be killed, and that includes a lot of our reactions to one another overhere.
    Bill writes something, I do agree with him, that we as christians are so quick in warning, but…he could be less persistent. Bill, you look a lot like Paul, who was very confronting. He wrote, just a few verses before that of our topic, in Gal 2:11 that he opposed Peter, not only that fact, but that it was in front of the whole congregation Gal 2:14. How do you think Peter had reacted there? Peter could have had all the human reasons to be angry at him, to do this publicly: He, Peter the head of the church, who did Paul think he was doing such a thing?!
    (Look at myself, do I not react like that very easily when someone accuses me? That is the old man, get rid of him, do not react to it, give the irritation to God, and ask for Gal 5:22,23 the ones that you need, and wait till God gives them, and then you react. Something like: counting to 10, but then advanced level)
    But on the other hand, if Peter at that time had killed his old man, Peter could have accepted this opposition gracefully, in the grace of God. It was Peter who wrote: grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe his own growing made a big step in that instance, when his dear brother Paul opposed him 2 Peter 3:18

  88. foreverblessed says:

    citing God at eventide Aug 27:
    “the human-self-you has no recognition, the real you, transformed by My Spirit, shares in all that fullness of operation and resultant Joy.”
    The real you transformed by the Spirit of God!
    That sounds like, what Jesus said in Matt 16:25
    “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
    Lose your reactions of the old man.

  89. SFDBWV says:

    It has been an exhausting week and it never seems as if there is enough time for anything let alone the conversation and topic here, but it seems to me that my problem with the subject has been the word mysticism.

    I apologize for that. If the subject would have been titled “supernatural encounters as a Christian” I would have seen the whole matter in a different light and had a plethora of stories to add to conversation.

    Personally I believe God calls us in a great many different ways to seek Him and when we look for Him we encounter Jesus and Jesus finishes the journey of discovery.

    Again I apologize for any anxiety I may have produced in my attempt to understand the subject and express my views.

    I suppose I should take my own advice and remember to aim first and then pull the trigger….


  90. Bill says:

    @foreverblessed, you wrote (August 28, 2014 at 5:06 am):

    * Bill writes something, I do agree with him, that we as christians are so quick in warning, but…he could be less persistent. Bill, you look a lot like Paul, who was very confronting. *

    Could you expand on that, FB? I’m not sure what you mean.

    I pop in from time to time. I offer my opinion, I interact a bit, and I leave until the next topic that catches my eye.

    What’s more, what I offer are opinions, nothing more. They are based on intense research, study, insight, and time. Oh, and conversations with many, many people. But they are still just my opinions. People can tell me I’m full of crap, or they can tell me I have a point. But persistent? I’m not sure I’ve been called that before.

    To me, “persistent” looks like this:

    * street wrote (August 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm):

    bellue did you meet Christ in those writings? did you see Him differently for the first time? a person who knows God hears His voice and they follow Him. they will not follow another. *

    Street has been trying to wear down Bellue’s own unique personality and replace it with his own in post after post after post.

    Street’s opinion appears to be that it is wrong to read anything other than the Bible – no philosophy, no other religious traditions, etc. (or to even associate with people from other walks of life), and so he’s been chipping away at Bellue’s testimony and love of learning and understanding the world around her for days now.

    That’s persistent.

    Am I confrontational?

    I would say I’m direct. To the point. I offer an opinion, and then I let it go. Why? Because holding strong opinions and digging in one’s heels is THE problem facing the world today. (That’s the topic of the book I’m working on, as a matter of fact.)

    You know the old saying about opinions, right? They’re like butt holes. Everybody has one.

    So the opinion itself isn’t the problem. It’s not letting it go quickly in the face of opposition.

    That’s why I often – but haven’t in awhile (please forgive me for that) – post something along these lines:

    “These are my opinions. They are only my opinions. Accept them or reject them. It’s all good. Your mileage may vary.”

    Something like that.

    And I mean it.

    If I’m writing crap, reject it. Ignore me. Tell me to take a hike, disappear, go peddle my papers (as my late father used to say). Seriously. I mean it. Or, tell me why you disagree and let’s discuss. I don’t mind disagreement.

    My gig here is love.

    Not even the lame, usually unbiblical, “I speak the truth in love” stuff that I hear often from Christians.

    I don’t speak the truth in love.

    I speak opinions with love.

    Or I speak love, alone.

    But truth? That’s in the ears and eyes of the beholder. Even if I quoted scripture after scripture after scripture…would that be truth? No. It would just be me quoting scripture after scripture after scripture – interpreting the verses as I see them.

    In addition, I’m not trying to change anyone’s life. I merely offer my opinions – with confidence, yes. I am confident in what I’ve deduced over the decades. But I’m not so confident that my opinion won’t change tomorrow, or that I should ram it down people’s throats and say, “Take it or leave it. But, by God, THIS is the truth!”

    Nahh. That’s not me.

    So, if I come across as confrontational in a bad sense, I do apologize. And I ask for your forgiveness.

    @belleu wrote (August 28, 2014 at 1:14 am):

    * Yes, I think I met Christ in those writings. I get a lot out of Christian literature along with the Bible. I meet Christ in “Discover the Word” too. I’m not sure if you are saying we should only read the Bible. I do put all I hear and read next to the Bible to see if it is true. *

    Here’s my opinion, for what it’s worth: You didn’t have to justify your reading habits to anyone. You don’t have to meet Christ in those books, people, or situations. It’s because Christians have withdrawn from the world that we no longer are taken seriously by it.

    Here’s a good example: the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s belongings are housed at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. I saw them, and I paid special attention to his personal library. That impressed me so much that I took pictures of it.

    The books that Merton read included Zen, theater, philosophy, psychology, politics, and poetry. I was blown away by the breadth and depth of his reading material. (I didn’t mention the Bible or Christian books because those are a given. He was a Trappist monk, after all.)

    What did that translate into for Merton?

    Look him up for yourself. Google “Thomas Merton.” Read about his life. Look at the books he wrote.

    Merton is legendary for being one of the most devout Christians from the last century. He was known for deep compassion and love and forgiveness. He was known for constantly trying to understand and relate to others.

    The more we read from others – especially other faith traditions – or even fiction, poetry, humor, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, Stephen King…doesn’t matter…the more WE will understand others. The more we will understand humanity. The human condition. People. Ourselves.

    From that, we are humbled, less quick to judge, and more open to loving others as they are.

    So, please, Belleu, don’t feel the need to justify yourself to anyone. You don’t have to.

    As far as my opinions go, feel free to reject them. Belleu, that goes for you, too. If what I just wrote doesn’t resonate with your own beliefs, feelings, or experiences, reject it.

    I don’t have all the answers, folks. I have more questions than answers. I am constantly questioning, constantly learning. My own personal reading library includes over 1,000 books from nearly every Christian author on the planet from the last 200 years. But it also includes Zen, Hinduism, Sikhism, theater, pop culture, literature (from Verne to Hemingway to Austen to Rowling to Tolkien), a smattering of philosophy (Wittgenstein and Viktor Frankl are truly astounding), and more fiction than one could shake a stick at.

    This is why I appreciate writing styles like Steve’s. He draws from a lot of sources – especially nature (like Thoreau) – to help make his point or to intrigue others.

    I appreciate the deeply devotional styles like Pooh’s. And Foreverblessed’s. And even Street’s.

    And I appreciate Mart’s often-intellectual inquiries into the world around him.

    But, as I wrote, if what I write doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. It won’t hurt my feelings if you tell me you disagree with me.

    Love to All,


  91. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Bill, I really like it that you joined us, you stir up. In a good sense.

    “It’s because Christians have withdrawn from the world that we no longer are taken seriously by it. ”
    Sentences along that line come over and over again, is that called persistant? Well, then another word that describes that event that comes over and over again.
    I believe you mean the fundamentalist christian, but you do not say it here, you make it a whole general thing. That does not help the unity, does it?

    The fundamentalist christian is also a dear child of God. Do you love them? You made your point, but now how to go on? Keep repeating it? All though I do totally agree with you, I am only with you, and standing aside, thinking: well Bill, it is Christ’ body, the church, do you know how He is going about with that unity? Love them, even if they are fundamentalists. But how do you show that love in your words? Just asking, and thinking with you.
    Anyway, I love you brother, take this all in love.

    I sometimes join in events, singing the Messiah from Handel. Singing these verses out of the bible give a deep impression. One of the verses is:
    “And He shall purify the sons of Levi” Mal 3:3
    And then I think that God will purify us christians, and make us one. Do we have to help God?
    Bless them, till your heart sings out of joy for them, and then start to write about them, if the Spirit gives you words
    God bless you brother!

  92. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Have been eagerly reading posts today, written since I last checked in. I will say the conversation has moved all over the board — much to think about — some rabbit trails…

    Steve, I have to agree that the term “mysticism” is more difficult than “mystery” — as in the mystery of iniquity or the mystery of God’s working in the universe, (Ecclesiastes 11:5) Most -isms are tough, since they seem to become institutions or at least some sort of school of thought. I cannot claim to be a Christian Mystic — but I believe there are mysteries in God’s kingdom.

    Part of our holy longing in this life, it seems to me, is waiting for the day we will see the unveiled face of the Lord.

    Blessings all day!
    (and some mystery too)

  93. Bill says:

    @foreverblessed, you wrote (August 28, 2014 at 7:21 am):

    * Thanks Bill, I really like it that you joined us, you stir up. In a good sense.

    “It’s because Christians have withdrawn from the world that we no longer are taken seriously by it. ”

    Sentences along that line come over and over again, is that called persistent? *

    Part of that phrase I use often is my opinion. But it’s based on fact. I wouldn’t classify that as persistent. It’s more like a wake-up call.

    All research, and many Christian books lately (and even empirical observation), proves that point. Barna Group research and other pollsters tell us many things; namely, that Christianity is on the decline. Sharply. Churches are losing attendees left and right. Especially younger people.

    In addition, Christianity’s influence in the world (especially in America) is also waning. Even a cursory review of the news – or one’s own neighborhood – demonstrates that. Society is rejecting us. Consequently, darkness is on the rise. Violence and death abound.

    I’m not referring to Fundamentalists. I’m referring to us. All of us. All Christians.

    Over the decades we have retreated into our own subculture. We have eschewed anything not “Christian.” And we have abused people severely. Entire ministries have sprung up to help people recover from emotional, spiritual, financial, and even sexual abuse at the hands of Christians.

    This is why I bring up our conduct here from time to time. While we nitpick verses and try to tell each other we’re wrong about this doctrine or that…the world slips deeper into darkness, despair, and death.

    The Emergent Church sprang up to counter this, as did the rise in both Catholicism and Fundamentalism.

    Love. That’s the answer. Live and love as Jesus did. No more words. No more doctrinal disputes. Just embody Jesus.

    If I’m persistent in anything, it’s that.


  94. quietgrace says:

    Foreverblessed I really like how you always bring the conversation back to loving others, no matter how they live out their faith in Christ. That to me is loving God and loving others, the greatest command lived out in humility and grace.

  95. poohpity says:

    Bill, is it your opinion that you are living, “Love. That’s the answer. Live and love as Jesus did. No more words. No more doctrinal disputes. Just embody Jesus.”? Are you truly persistent in that? Did Jesus ask us to give our opinions of other Christians and their walk with Him? Or to trust Him to work in their lives because we do not know their hearts intent? Are you pointing people to what Jesus taught or the world according to Bill? Is it loving to Mart not to talk about the topics but rather comment on the comments. I for one would enjoy hearing your take on the topic and for that matter actually anyone who would discuss the topic but very rarely does that happen. We were asked to give our opinion on that.

    It seems the love the Lord speaks of is love that is full of grace, mercy and forgiveness. Any body who is in the world loves and does acts of kindness that alone does not separate us from it. What is it about us that is different? In the world we live in everybody criticizes, judges, accuses, loves, does good, reads to gain knowledge from many books, hates, rejects, offers opinions, finds fault, gives to boast, seeks pleasure, wants to be happy, self confident, talks more than they listen, self abasement, self grandeur, self reliant, gives answers before someone even asks a question, gives unsolicited advice, elevates people and things, is rebellious, cruel, self serving, etc.. So what is different about Christians?

  96. Bill says:

    I’m as persistent in it as you are, Pooh. Or as any other believer is.

    You make it sound like I’m preaching “the world according to Bill.” Not sure where you get that. My opinions are no more or less valid than anyone else’s here. Even yours. And I don’t accuse you of “preaching the world according to Pooh.” Aren’t we all entitled to our opinions? Or are you suggesting that you’re the arbiter of which opinions are valid and which aren’t?

    Commenting on the comments is what an online thread is all about. And I did comment on the topic – early and often. I’m sure when I have coffee with Mart in a couple of weeks, I’ll discuss it with him there as well.

    It’s all good, Pooh. We’re all in this together.

  97. belleu says:

    Don’t worry Bill, I’m okay, but thank you for your kind support. I know it is good to read Christian books. I wasn’t sure what Street was saying. Does he/she read Christian books? Maybe not, and that is fine for him. Not for me. I need all the help I can get in this walk with Jesus.

    I come from a fundamentalist family. My grandfather thought it was a sin to read a magazine – any magazine. He only read the Bible and our church publications. My parents were different; they read everything.

    This summer, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me I should quit watching the violent TV shows I was watching and the ones that were filled with sexual jokes. Since then, I have so much more time to spend with him and I don’t miss the TV at all. So, in a way we can separate ourselves from the world – but in a good, healthy way.

    I’m not telling others to do this. I’m not giving advice. I’m just sharing a wonderful thing Jesus taught me. They mystical part is when I asked God, “What do you want me to do?” I had just watched a sermon and the preacher said to do that. Immediately after asking I heard God’s answer. “I want you to stop watching those TV shows.” I know it wasn’t me because I wasn’t thinking of that at all. There! I brought the subject back to mysticism! lol

  98. poohpity says:

    That is it Bill I am not persistent in loving others that is beyond my capabilities. Commenting on the comments is not what we are given as guidelines to do because it causes problems, it can affirm others while negating others. We are asked to discuss the topic. Just as you related opinions to the rear end part of our anatomy notice it is one of the parts that is better remaining covered. It is the part that Adam/Eve covered with leafs and God seems to have covered with skins because of shame.

    Saying that you think I think I am an arbiter of which opinions are valid and which are not shows that you assume that is how I think which does not show the love you say you are persistent with. Love always expects the best of someone, it is patient, never haughty and kind. Showing pride about having coffee with Mart as if that makes any difference about anything does not mean that you will listen to what He says or has been saying in his topics, it is boasting. My hunch is you will be talking more than you listen. Are you not separating yourself from “We’re all in this together” since you bring up continually how well read you are?

    What is different about Christians?

    Hey Bill, I have found pleasure in talking with you not @ you since you have come one here. You keep me on my toes and keep my brain working but our paths are different. I know you need to be affirmed because it seems there is a struggle with something in your life that makes you feel less than but you are of much worth to the Lord and me.

  99. poohpity says:

    God doesn’t look at the outward appearance but at the heart.

  100. phpatato says:

    Wow and there isn’t even a full moon in the sky yet…..that’s twice now that I have come here to read what’s going on over the course of this topic only to find AGAIN this topic has generated caustic, sarcastic and at one time sacrilegious comments that have been glossed over with a layer of glitter in hopes of hiding what the heart is really saying.

    To those of you who have done this…your glitter isn’t fooling anybody so give it up Please!

    Over the years, people have stopped by to join in conversation but have left because of intolerance and rude comments. Then more new people have stopped by to join in conversation but have left because of the same intolerance and fighting. And today, there is STILL intolerance and nasty comments….I wonder why?

    Bill – seems as though you have been the main bullseye for them throughout the course of this topic. I am praying that you have donned your armour so that the hurtful words just deflect off. I have said it before and I will say it again….I, for one, appreciate your thoughts, comments, opinions. Without a doubt, you are light-years ahead of some here with your walk with God. I sense a jealousy going on.

    I guess this quote is so fitting:

    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” S.Covey

    I will change that so it applies here: Most people do not read with the intent to understand; they read with the intent to reply.

    I can’t wait for the full moon this month. It’s bound to be another bad moon rising for sure. I can also bet that there won’t be an apology forthcoming. To some, I’m sorry is simply not in their vocabulary. And Bill…you deserve an apology! So I will say Sorry to you on behalf of all of us here. You are a precious brother in Christ and much loved by God Himself!

    Disgusted yet again


  101. Bill says:

    I appreciate that, Pat. Thank you.

    I don’t feel an apology is needed, though. I enjoy lots of give and take in these threads. Some comments are better than others. I’m sure some folks don’t see my comments as beneficial. But that’s okay, too.

    Here’s the good news: I’m sure everyone here is on the same page regarding his/her relationship with Christ. We believe the Bible. We believe we are saved. It’s just – as I’ve pointed out repeatedly – we see things differently, and we each have a different personality. Therein lies some of the conflict.

    It’s all good.

    Love to All,


  102. street says:

    i am thinking of how we are troubled by thoughts and ideas from philosophers and people, said and written. to be sure we all are that way. i think it is important to focus on the Word of God we know to be true and reliable and remind ourselves it is a double edged sword. very powerful and dangerous if handled with our pride. look to the Holy Spirit, the One sent by the Father and the Son,to help and council you just like Jesus did when with the disciples. look for answer and be still, praying always for the things He lays on your heart. Jesus was not above rebuking His disciples because He loved them to the end.

    2 Corinthians 5:12

  103. poohpity says:

    Pat, how is your husband progressing?

    Bill, what is different about Christians? To me it is our faith, knowing we will never be perfect but that God thought enough of us knowing of our imperfections, inabilities and yet still went to the Cross. God has evidence upon evidence that our trying to be more Christ like does not work. We will not ever be able and we don’t have to because Jesus was. (John 6:29 NLT; Romans 5:20-21 NLT) So as we see the faults in fellow believers we can look at them through the eyes of Jesus with grace.

  104. quietgrace says:

    I think if we all knew each other-face to face-and even spent significant time together we might have a chance to learn empathy, compassion, and trust for and from each other; if not, we would just move on, as some do with changing churches. But this is not going to happen here. (Think of family reunions and how difficult they can be sometimes) The only thing we have in common is Jesus, and along with that our own understanding of the scriptures as each is given understanding. Public rebuke always leaves room for misunderstanding; I am guilty of that and seems the internet makes it easy to express our opinions, whether brutally honest or just plain hurtful. Our irritation point is also set differently for each of us. Some have low tolerance for differences, and some don’t seem too bothered at all. I’m sure if some of our favorite theologians and philosophers sat down together there would also be times of disagreement and maybe even bashing one another. We are no different, just pilgrims struggling to keep one foot in front of the other, day to day. But at the end of the day, just as at the beginning, it’s all about Jesus, and in and on Him we can relax.
    I agree, it’s all good. It is well and shall all be well.

    I apologize for being off Marts topic, just going with the flow today.
    Again, I love you all. Grace

  105. quietgrace says:

    One more off topic comment, I just wanted to share that because of this blog I am treating myself to a new study Bible! Yay! So excited.

  106. bubbles says:

    I don’t understand why some are permitted to post on this site and are not moderated. When I have asked a question I am blocked and my comments are not posted.
    Why is this site a free for all for some but not one who asks a simple question?

  107. Bill says:


    Are you sure your question was blocked?

    To my knowledge, Mart’s blog only automatically blocks hyperlinks. Most everything else is posted as written.

    Why don’t you post your question again?


  108. belleu says:

    Pooh, you accuse Bill of commenting on comments when we all do it – you also! Frankly, I find it impossible to discuss an issue deeply without bringing up what someone else said. I re-read the guidelines and that seems to be okay.

    What some of us are doing wrong is not being “courteous” in our comments. Assigning motives (pride) to people which only God can see. Also, I don’t see us as going off-topic on this issue. We were talking about reading books because some of them have mysticism in them, or were written by those who aren’t “regular” Christians.

  109. cbrown says:

    I have read some lately on mysticism and in my opinion the danger is that the individual experience can seem to become more important than the Creator. In the example we have used in the past, the Word of God points to God(the sun) which provides light that causes man(the moon)to reflect His light.God does all things good in this broken world.Praise His Holy name!

  110. belleu says:

    Very interesting, cbrown, I wouldn’t want an experience (with lots of good feelings) to become more important to me than God himself. That would be awful.

  111. poohpity says:

    belleu, so you are saying we do not follow the guidelines perfectly? Imagine that. :-) That is not what I was saying. Bill was speaking of being persistent in love and all I was saying none can perfectly do that and rather than looking at the failures of other Christians it seems best to look at how we all fail in many areas. The same thing you agreed with earlier. Bottom line it seems the mystery of having Christ live within us we understand we do not do anything perfectly that is how we grow in grace.

    grace, celebrating with you.

  112. foreverblessed says:

    Cbrown, I liked that: the sun and the moon! Talking in langauge mysticists understand!
    Like Bellue, I read a lot of christian book, and especially the devotion God calling speaks to my heart. I have been praying about it to God, God let me hear your voice like that when I read the bible.
    And dear fellow bloggers, this morning God spoke to me:
    “You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice”
    And it was as if God wa saying, that is you folks on this blog, I enjoy listening to you speaking together.

    Sorry Pat for the disturbance, I get the strong impression that Bill does see the love in our conversation, I pray you see it too! We are learning here together!
    Like Bubbles says, we have to study the real money in order to see the false money, We here encourage one another to look to Jesus, and we do overhere. That is why Street points to Him.
    But as Bill is saying, it is also good when we know what is going on outside, knowing what the eastern mysticists belief. Like apostle Paul: 1 Cor 9:19-23 to the mysticist I become a mysticists so as to win those who are mystical.

    But… not everybody can do that, you first have to be very strong in Jesus, be like Mary, and sit at his side, and become one in His rest, the Rest that is in Jesus, we saying that God is all powerfull, all mighty, and really believing it. Coming to rest in Him, totally peaceful and calm. And I am learning that.
    (I want to write some more, but have to go out to the local market, before it is gone)

  113. Bill says:

    Good Morning All,

    I need to clarify something.

    The term “mystic” does not apply solely to Catholics or to Eastern practitioners.

    Until the last 50+ years or so, give or take, Protestants had their share of mystics as well. One might argue author Richard Foster is a contemporary mystic. He is a Quaker. And they are often considered mystics.

    I own two books that indicate who mystics were/are:

    * “Christian Mystics 365 Readings and Meditations” by Matthew Fox, and

    * The Protestant Mystics, edited by Anne Fremantle

    Here’s a partial list of who was/is considered a mystic. Some are Catholic. Some are not.

    From the book Christian Mystics:

    Thomas Aquinas
    Meister Eckhart
    Teilhard de Chardin
    Bede Griffiths
    Thomas Merton
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Bruce Chilton
    Francis of Assisi
    Teresa of Avila

    From the book The Protestant Mystics

    George Fox
    Jonathan Edwards
    John Wesley
    David Brainerd
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    John Keats
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
    Henry David Thoreau
    Emily Bronte
    Walt Whitman
    George Macdonald (the Scottish fantasy author whom C.S. Lewis called “master”)
    Emily Dickinson
    Hannah Whitehall Smith
    Vincent van Gogh
    William Butler Yeats
    T.S. Eliot
    e.e. cummings
    C.S. Lewis
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    The term “mystic” applies to those whose spiritual disciplines are devote, but unorthodox according to the mainstream church. They may prefer nature (Thoreau or Emerson, for example), or prayer in monasteries (Merton, for example), or allegorical novels (C.S. Lewis) or profound prose (Walt Whitman). They are often people who do not quote scripture freely or openly, but who have a commitment to the God of the Bible.

    What contemplatives and mystics bring to the table is a boundary-less embrace of the world and those in it. They seem to accept most anybody, regardless of faith tradition or walk of life. People like Bede Griffiths became Catholic Hindu, for example. Thomas Merton became a Catholic Zen sympathizer. Current mystics (the aforementioned Richard J. Foster), embrace a wide variety of authors and faith traditions in his books.

    I content that when Protestants jettisoned contemplative arts and mysticism, we became rigid, walled off, inaccessible, detached. That’s why everything is so us-and-them these days, with each camp digging in its heels and declaring the other heretical.

    Now, you can argue with me all day long on that point, and pick apart specific words. But I’m offering you the results of years of research and thought on this very subject. You can accept it or reject it. But please do so with facts and theories of your own. Don’t just attack me, quote the Bible dismissively, or get defensive. I’m merely offering you a few verifiable facts (the authors who list these particular people), along with my own opinions/theories.

    Love to All,


  114. fadingman says:

    I’m kinda leery about the word “mysticism” because it seems to have some variety of meanings, good and bad. But regardless, the end result toward which mysticism aims is some kind of experiential relationship with God, and that is something I am for.

    Too often, our Christianity is limited to the doctrinal (i.e. biblical facts about God, ourselves, etc.) and practical (i.e. obedience, faith, prayer, etc.). But Jesus spoke about a living relationship we can have with Him and the Father where He reveals Himself to us (John 14:21-23, Rev. 3:20). Mysticism, in its good sense, needs to be about this, and not go beyond what is written in the scriptures.

  115. poohpity says:

    This morning I think I have discovered what it means, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” I have a measuring stick that I gauge God, others and myself by, that measuring stick is faulty because I am faulty. So if I measure others by it, then it is I who’s living but if it’s by the measuring stick of Christ then I/we are measured by His grace.

  116. poohpity says:

    Faith is not something we can apply facts to. It is something that is mystical and no matter how many authors give their take one still has to experience it for themselves, the connection to the divine. That experience is hard to put words to.

  117. poohpity says:

    Faith author God not just 365 but 0 though eternity. Heb 12:2 NKJV

  118. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Mart, you shared this:

    “Sensing that the words that were repeating over and over (viz. Gal 2:20) through my mind were even more expansive than familiar, I turned to the Word Biblical Commentary for some help. There I found agreement that the thought that we are children of a new covenant, that has delivered us not only from the jurisdiction of the law—but from reason to live by own pride and sense of self-accomplishment— involves far more than our minds can understand.”

    What I am taking from your observations after a few readings is that being born into the New Covenant by Jesus’ sacrifice-death-and resurrection is the inauguration of new life in us, based upon Christ’s presence with us — not upon anything we can accomplish or even think of accomplishing.

    Have to agree that we can only wonder at this new state of being. We come to it by faith, unable to add to it or remove from it anything at all. It seems to me you are referring to the death of the old (wo)man. This is a major shift out of the domain of darkness into the kingdom. (Col 1:13) Something to contemplate as a profound metaphysical mystery!

    Labor Day blessings to all,

  119. quietgrace says:

    The mystery of Christ in us is that we are not even aware, we only see and feel the outward change. If we think we are aware that’s when we get into trouble.

  120. quietgrace says:

    We get into trouble measuring ourselves and others, as Pooh just pointed out.

  121. street says:

    Bread from Heaven
    don’t judge

    mysticism and orthodoxy can cause problems or become straight jackets that are like legalism or the lack there of.
    philosophers and thinkers are like a cafeteria plan you get to pick what you want, when you want, and how much you want. you can come up with your analogies here.
    i think bread from heaven is God’s alternative and people will chastise you for it.

    don’t judge came up earlier but i did not go look up the verse it is more complete with….don’t condemn and pardon freely.

    severity of God’s love the Bible is quit clear on this and is over looked. look to the red sea. egypt’s army pursued Israel into the sea. God had put them in a very bad place just like Israel between the desert and the red sea with a hostile force bearing down on them. when decision time came for the egyptians they ran the wrong way.
    Exodus14: 27 …while the Egyptians were fleeing [s]right into it; then the Lord [t]overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

    fleeing into what? the sea not to God they did not turn to God and flee to Him for safety. i see it this way God withdrew His Hand from the egyptian side to the Israeli side. i believe if the egyptians had turned to God and run to Him on the other side He would have allowed them to live because it would have taken humility and faith to make that run. they tried to save their life! why didn’t they leave egypt with Israels God? unbelief sure the soldiors would have gotten a little wet, maybe not, they certainly would have made it empty handed. the other act of severity of God’s love is what He did to Israel in the desert/wilderness because of the same unbelief. i tremble till i am home, if not what is comforting me?

    supremacy of Christ.

    God Bless His Adopted Children and Spoil them with His Love!

  122. street says:

    “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

    wish i edited my last post better, sorry. not a writer but i know it was poorly written.

  123. poohpity says:

    I understood what you were saying, street. I am not a very good writer, I wish I could make my heart more clearly seen in my words.

  124. street says:

    Exodus 15:13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

    remember the story of David numbering the people? well i stumbled onto it after i mentioned it here. imagine that? we know David was favored by God immensely. yet in 2 Samuel 24:1 Now again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” sure David sinned, even Joab understood this. it is hard to get my mind around this one. if i get this right when God gets mad at me or some one else He lets me run off to sin or some one else? like the prodigal son? God was mad at Israel. tough lesson to learn here. the way i tie it into the discussion is you can’t find the answer if you go somewhere other than God for it. He is the one with the motive. remember the woman at the well looking for the Messiah in samaria? He loves to show up in the most unexpected ways. Praise Him forever.

  125. street says:

    Mart said.”Sensing that the words that were repeating over and over through my mind were even more expansive than familiar, ” the word familiar is a sticking point with me. to me we are familiar with the old man, crucified, not this new one. when we grow-up and watch our new Father in Christ, we start to do what He dose just like our earthly father.

  126. street says:

    thinking about the word familiar and the word intimacy. i guess i blogged too soon on saying we were familiar with the old man, sin nature, truth is we had very strong intimacy with it. crucifixion is a very intimate encounter. Matthew 5:1-12

  127. belleu says:

    I like what you said, Street, about as we grow up watching our new Father in Christ we start to do what he does. Yes, when we are first Christians, the old man is much more familiar. We have a lot to learn as we walk the Christian path. And it is an intimate encounter – one we all deal with alone with our God. He knows us inside and out. We don’t know ourselves very well. He shows us things about ourselves that isn’t always pleasant.

    As a young Christian, I used to be discouraged when I found out how sinful I was. Now, when I think something terrible I just realize how much I need God. I need him desperately to be a good person. Only he can do that for me. As Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.”

  128. street says:

    bellue might be on the same page as you on this one. i remember blogging if you want to know God better obey Him. could use some prayer for the struggle of the valley again. don’t you just love the up and down coarse of life. have a feeling it is just getting started! i know i have to be good because He is so good too me. Job comes to mind here and many other saints that struggle.

  129. SFDBWV says:

    Well 128 comments and some mine, but I still don’t know what “Christian Mysticism” is supposed to be.

    The news of the world sickens me as I watch darkness falling over everything and the specter of a world war looming once again on the horizon.

    Praying for rescue.


  130. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    It seems to me, as you have noted Mart, the mystery of living the life of Jesus is “a bit much to absorb.” The Way is not mapped out precisely before us like google directions online. As for me, the Way unfolds before me only on a fairly short-term basis when it comes to my own hopes and plans.

    And yet, I am given assurance and even confidence that all things — circumstances, trials, joys — are in God’s hands. Nothing touches a child of God unless that matter has passed God’s judgment in Christ first.

    Does pondering the mystery of God’s immense Being turn us into Christian Mystics? Not sure there is a definitive answer…

    Blessings always,

  131. Bill says:

    Good Morning, Steve, and All!

    Christian mysticism, like Christianity itself, is no one thing.

    By that, I mean if you tell someone you’re a Christian, then the inevitable next question is something like this, “Which denomination do you belong to?”

    Or, perhaps, more bluntly, “What kind?”

    There are vastly different opinions regarding what Christian mystics are – or even if they’re Christian at all. Some hard-right (Fundamentalist) denominations severely denounce mysticism, calling it (essentially) playing with the devil.

    The web site ChristianMystics dot com defines it this way:

    “What Is A Christian Mystic:

    “So, what is a Christian Mystic? A person concerned not with knowing the letter of the Word, or religious dogmas, but with knowing the Spirit of the Word, which is to say living from within the experience of God’s word at the very core of being. A mystic, quite simply, is a lover of God who pursues the beloved from a deep realization that life as a Christian is evolving as the soul moves toward its fullness and destiny in relationship to God.

    “To travel into the world of the Christian mystic, one must discard concepts such as ego, pride and spiritual materialism in favor of adopting a sense of humility and hopeful expectation. It is to begin a great and stirring adventure that moves the soul from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God.

    “Indeed, one begins to experience the Bible as the living Word of God, which guides the reader from an ego-centric point of view to a mature and deeper sense of God’s presence. Jesus’ message that the kingdom of God is not out there somewhere, but rather here, within, available to humble through faith, is a personal realization that reaches across time to every human soul willing to follow.”

    As you can see, if that definition is correct, mystics would clash sharply with Fundamentalists who revere the Word itself, who do not believe anything apart from the Word exists in the Christian life.

    On that web site – which I only just discovered and cannot vouch for – you can find a page of free eBooks, if the subject interests you.

    Another web site (GotQuestions dot org) answers the question this way:

    * Question: “What is Christian mysticism?”

    Answer: The term “Christian mystic” is an oxymoron. Mysticism is not the experience of a Christian. Whereas Christian doctrine maintains that God dwells in all Christians and that they can experience God directly through belief in Jesus, Christian mysticism aspires to apprehend spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, typically by emulation of Christ. *

    So, whoever is behind the Got Questions site doesn’t think Christian mysticism is a good thing.

    Carl McColman has written several books on the subject, all available on Amazon:

    “The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality”

    “Answering the Contemplative Call: First Steps on the Mystical Path”

    Another web site I just discovered this morning (I cannot vouch for any of its contents!) defines the term Christian Mysticism this way:

    “Christian mysticism looks at the world from a different angle giving meaning to life, not rejecting anything or waving a fist with scorn and resentment. One does not have to point a finger when the experience is direct because the power of Christ consciousness is accessible to provide the means to love in every form, enjoying, not judging what is encountered. These deeper understandings value love and see more to the physical world than what is in it. These windows look out on the path we are traveling to our destination, a spiritual experience that sooths the personality.” (From ThinkUnity dot com.)

    Here’s the bottom line:

    There seems to be a correlation between contemplative and mystic, although the connection is not exact or direct.

    A contemplative is a person (often a Catholic, but also Quaker and other denominations that emphasize silence as a way to feel the presence of God), who absorbs the Bible and prayer and sermons and whatnot and takes it inward, dwells on it, derives spiritual meaning from it.

    That act of drawing inward can lead to becoming a Christian mystic.

    NOTE: Mysticism, by itself, is often associated with paganism, Eastern religions, the occult, so-called New Age religions, etc. It can be a slippery slope.

    However, Christian mysticism seems anchored in long-standing traditions of monasteries, deep devotion to God, prayer, etc.

    My point about all of this is that I think Protestants have thrown the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to mysticism. So afraid were Protestants of that slippery slope that they eschewed anything not specifically mentioned in the Bible – and defined the way they thought it should be defined.

    That’s why many contemporary Protestants are so dead-set against Charismatics, healing, speaking in tongues, etc.

    I don’t see any “right” way to regard Christian mysticism. For some, it’s evil. For others, it’s a necessary part of their spiritual lives.

    So I’m not here to promote it one way or another. I merely suggest there’s something missing in contemporary Protestantism and, in my research, elements of contemplativenes and mysticism may be two things that dramatically separate Protestants from Catholics (and even from denominations within Protestantism). So that’s why I’ve been pondering the subject for a few years.

    I hope this answer is of use to you, Steve – and to others who may still be a little fuzzy regarding what this topic is.

    Love to All,


  132. Bill says:

    One more thing.

    On May 1, 2011, Huffington Post (granted, a hard-left media source) posted an article written by Matthew Fox titled “Becoming Christian Mystics Again.”

    Here’s an excerpt from it:

    **** Albert Einstein was asked toward the end of his life if he had any regrets. He answered: “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” This is a significant confession, coming as it does from one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century, a man who moved beyond the modern science of Newton and ushered in a postmodern science and consciousness.

    In the West, the modern age (meaning the 16th to mid-20th centuries) was not only ignorant of, but actually hostile to, mysticism. As Theodore Roszak has put it, “The Enlightenment held mysticism up for ridicule as the worst offense against science and reason.” Still today, both education and religion are often hostile to mysticism. Fundamentalism by definition is antimystical or distorts mysticism, and much of liberal theology and religion is so academic and left-brained that it numbs and ignores the right brain, which is our mystical brain. Seminaries teach few practices to access our mysticism. This is why many find religion so boring — it lacks the adventure and inner exploration that our souls yearn for. As St. John of the Cross said, “Launch out into the deep.” ***

    I’m sure if you Googled “Huffington Post Becoming Christian Mystics Again” you could find the full article. You could also find a few more articles on HuffPo if you Google “Huffington Post What is Mysticism?”

    The topic of mysticism has become more important these days become people – especially young Christians – have noticed something is missing from their faith. Christians no longer believe what they’re being taught in church is relevant to the world – or to themselves.

    So they’re seeking to find out what’s missing.

    I hope that info helps.


  133. poohpity says:

    So the conclusion we can reach is that Christian Mysticism has to be discovered and experienced rather than being taught. Just as this relationship with the Lord has to be discovered and experienced it can not be taught.

  134. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Bill for all the explanations.
    What is christian mysticism, Mart also bring in something from the Word Biblical Commentary,
    “Mysticism, of course, frequently conjures up ideas about the negation of personality, withdrawal from objective reality, ascetic contemplation, a searching out of pathways to perfection, and absorption into the divine—all of which is true for Eastern and Grecian forms of mysticism.
    The mysticism of the Bible, however, affirms the true personhood of people and all that God has created in the natural world, never calling for negation or withdrawal except where God’s creation has been contaminated by sin. ”
    I do not have enough knowledge about the zen buddism, and all the stages you have to go throug, but you all have to do it yourself, no New Life from above, that is the Life of Jesus coming to all who believe in Him
    And then it goes on what christian mysticism in not:
    “Furthermore, the mysticism of biblical religion is not some esoteric searching for a path to be followed that will result in union with the divine, but is always of the nature of a response to God’s grace wherein people who have been mercifully touched by God enter into communion with him without ever losing their own identities. ”

    God is…never calling for negation or withdrawal except where God’s creation has been contaminated by sin.

    Mart is saying here that crucifying the self is something different then the negation of self that the eastern religion practices. Telling what it is by saying what it is not.

    The great advantage for christian mysticism is that we have the active indwelling of Jesus, the New Life, the Bread form heaven that revives our soul. I think THAT is chistian mysticism. Steve calls it plain christianity, Steve you even call Trinity very simple, and that it is not mystical. Three being One, is very mystical to me, not to be understood by my natural mind.

    I have heard christian teachers say, that we do not need to be active in crucifying the old self. That when we have surrendered to God, the Holy Spirit will guide us along that path.
    As Maarten Luther said: God knows the path we are going to tread, we do not know it.

    How does God do that? For instance: When we ask God for more love, He will send us an unlovable person. And then our journey begins: probably by us saying: O God, please take away this difficult person from me!
    When I came to a more personal relation with Jesus I had such an encounter, I would do so much studies in the Bible, searching out what it meant to live in faith in Jesus. But my husband would work harder and harder, and would watch tv, night after night, long hours. And it irritated me, we got words about it. And one morning, I was in the kitchen, God was asking me a question: Are you now that servant who beats his fellow servant?
    It was not in hearable words, but I got that message, it was inplanted in my head.
    Is that christian mysticism?

  135. foreverblessed says:

    What Bubbles said about bible verses, that sudden Aha moment, that is mysticsim?
    last topic, Bellue gave that verse Luke 19:8, she had other words for it: contempt.
    An Aha moment for me that was, that is how I was, have been, a deep sudden realisation, that when you are critical about somebody else, that contempt is very close attached with it. And that it was so with me, and I said sorry to God, or whatever, the realisation was enough I think: “O no, was I like That”
    The truth shall make you free, the moment the truth about how I was, made me immediately free from it. Thanks to God, and His Grace, Jesus has carried all my sins to the cross, and all the sins of my fellow servants!

  136. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, Luke 18:9 looking down on others- contempt for others

  137. street says:

    i see some similarities popping up here. question? who is doing the work?

    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    we are saved by God then we work to get saved again or work to maintain this position of intimacy with God? i think not. sounds like unbelief.

  138. SFDBWV says:

    Bill I deeply appreciate the energy and time you spent this morning putting together an explanation for me, thank you.

    It is a lot to digest and think about and seeing that I just sat down after dinner to have a look it might take me a little more time than what time I have left today to reply.

    I suppose I should have ask this a week ago.


  139. belleu says:

    Hi Everyone, Bill you quoted one definition of mysticism as, “So, what is a Christian Mystic? A person concerned not with knowing the letter of the Word…” etc.

    I am very concerned with knowing the letter of God’s word. But I also know God sends dreams, visions and direction into our minds. I know of healings through anointing with oil and prayer. I know of signs asked for and signs given. I think a Christian can have both the Word and the Spiritual in their lives. In my opinion they are equally important.

    I guess I would call myself a fundamentalist because I believe the Word of God is the final answer to our questions. Of course, how people interpret the Bible differently is the problem.

  140. belleu says:

    Steve – I hear you brother about war looming ahead. When I read the Euphrates River is drying up it made me think of Revelation 16:12. I think Jesus is returning very soon. It seems like the nations are angry like never before in my lifetime.

  141. SFDBWV says:

    I have thought about the explanations Bill offered for “Christian mysticism” and am going to offer a story of events in my own life that speaks to this subject.

    I was raised by a Christian mother who seen to it that I was indoctrinated from my earliest age into Christianity. So it was Sunday school and church as I was a child growing up.

    Events in our life disrupted our family situation and we moved to the Washington DC area, our family life at that time was anything but normal though we as a family did stay together it was because of my mother and her love of her children and her strong faith.

    I was about thirteen and no longer attended any church or any organized Bible study. However when things got tense at home I always went to the Bible trying to make sense of life, the problem was I had a real tough time understanding much of what the Bible said and Revelation scared me, and made me feel doomed.

    At 17 I joined the US Marine Corps, the year was 1965, and by October I turned 18 already a Marine.

    My intention at that young age was to make the Marine Corps my life, but life has a way of changing everything especially plans.

    It was during those years that I became an avid reader and discovered a world of the unexplained. A world of ESP and spiritualism and such notables as Edgar Casey and many other interests identified today as the occult. It was also during these same 60’s that there arose an anti-church attitude in our culture.

    Such things as the occult has a powerful draw upon the appetite of the curious and especially the young.

    It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God during those years, but rather that God seemed to be many possibilities, even offered up was the idea that God could be an alien being from outer space or other dimensions.

    It was during a time when Jesus was a name painted on the sides of a hippies bus filled with long haired dope smokers who judged me as the enemy because I wore a uniform and fought in Viet Nam.

    The very last night I spent in Viet Nam I was staying in a hooch near Da Nang, being processed to leave the country all of my weapons had been turned in and except for a K-Bar I forgot to surrender I had no weapon.

    As there were about twenty of us in the hooch we all bedded down after dark and was soon hit by mortar and rocket fire so part of the night was spent in a bunker instead of on a cot, which for me was a comfort.

    As earlier in the night as I lay on my cot I was suddenly filled with a trembling so deep that it seemed to reach the very core of my being, I could hear a chirping noise that’s rhythm and sound increased until it reached the highest pitch at which time I could hear an audible release of all sound and I felt no sensation of my body at all. In fact when I tried to move I found I could not move a single muscle no matter how hard I tried.

    Suddenly I was filled with a horrible fear, so intense it is difficult to explain, but it was then that I knew something or someone was coming for me.

    With all the energy I could muster I overcame my paralysis and stood to meet my would be attacker. The room was dark but I could see every detail almost like moon light everything was visible to me. My attention was drawn to the door of the hooch and I knew what ever was coming was coming through that door, weak and unsteady I remained standing to face whatever was coming.

    Then all at once it was there, it filled the doorway and looked to be 8 feet tall all black and covered with a shroud. So dark was this thing no light of any kind nor any feature except its form could be seen.

    I began to curse at it and demand it to come on as I would kill it with my bare hands. Filled with rage now instead of fear.

    It didn’t walk but rather glided over towards me and when it got only a few feet from me it rose its arm up, I could see nothing except what looked like the arms of a robe without any visible hands and no face inside the hooded shroud that covered its body just total darkness that absorbed all light and gave none.

    I could no longer stand and fell to the floor once again unable to stand against it. And awoke back on my cot the whole encounter only a nightmare, or so I thought.

    For many years following that night, sometimes as often as once a week I would have the same or similar encounter the difference being instead of back in that building in Viet Nam it would be wherever I happen to be,

    After being married and sleeping with my wife she would sometimes hear my muttered cries and wake me up, sometimes not.

    I had sought out medical answers for my nightmares and learned that the problem was identifiable as suppressed fear from combat that manifested itself in the dream state as a nightmare therefore balancing out my subconscious inner mind.

    However the nightmare continued.

    As stated earlier I was not practicing any occult behavior only interested in reading about it, and at one point bought a book titled “The Encyclopedia of Demonology and Witchcraft”.

    Looking through it I found a chapter titled “The Classic Nightmare” and what to my utter amazement did I discover? Almost the exact nightmare I had been suffering for all those years.

    For too many years than I wanted to remember I went to my old King James Bible and began to read it anew.

    The great difference this time is that the Bible became alive to me the words and stories spoke to me in a way nothing ever had or could before. When I got to the place where God had sent a demon spirit to torment Saul I was flabbergasted and forever felt a kinship to Saul and to this day never judge him for his errors as King.

    It was at this time I began calling upon the name of the Lord to keep the nightmare from reoccurring. At first the nightmare still would start. But by calling out to God would not continue. The nightmares did keep coming, but with less and less frequency.

    As a result of returning to the Bible I got rid of all my spiritualist reading material and returned to church and was baptized again on a cold October afternoon in a local stream.

    The following year my son Matthew was born and life was taking on a very different pathway ten I had been on as a young teenager and man.

    It was when Matthew was about 2 years old that a fellow I worked with at the mines, only 30 years old, died of heart failure. He wasn’t very well liked and though his father and I were good friends he and I were not.

    I had laid down for a little nap before going to work at midnight early in the evening on Matt’s bed when I was awaken by a light in the room. As I looked up there was a white oval shaped light above and at the foot of the bed and standing there in the light was the fellow who had only a day or so ago died.

    He was angry and cursing at me, I believed because I was alive and he was dead when suddenly he reached out towards me as if to grab hold of me when the same dark and terrifying spirit that had tormented me all those years reached out from the light took hold of the fellow and pulled him back into the light as the lighted oval closed up.

    I knew then that my nightmares were over forever.

    Jesus taught that there were dominions and powers unseen, they are spoken of in the Book of Daniel and Paul warned us of them well. I know this because it is written in the Word of God, it was the Word of God that the adventure took me to and the word of God that taught me how to truly stand up against the darkness of the unseen world.

    The Word of God tells that if you teach a child of God early in their development that that knowledge never leaves them.

    It is the Word of God that leads me to accept Jesus as Lord and the Word that strengthens and feeds my spirit.

    It is the Word of God that for me has precedence over any other pathway to learning of God and if that labels me as being a fundamentalist then so be it.

    I know that God will use everything in creation for His purposes and will and that nothing has a higher priority for Him then the salvation and rescue of His children. So if He uses mysterious and unorthodox methods to accomplish His goals I am not in a position to argue against it.

    If my little example here is an example of Christian Mysticism then so be it as well, but it all leads to the Bible and the Bible to Jesus and Jesus to our salvation.

    Too tired to continue and way out of time today as well.


  142. joycemb says:

    Steve thank you for talking about your experiences. I too can relate to those types of dreams and even day-dreams from too many traumas in my life. But now I have learned that they are not all spiritually based, but the human mind can create it’s own ‘spiritual’ experiences so have learned to tell myself, oh, it’s just my mind.(I have ptsd.) I can more easily go back to sleep now, knowing that God is also the God of my mind and it’s myriad ways of reflecting into our consciousness, even our sleep consciousness.

    I have, however had waking experiences with angels and even our Lord, which have left a profound effect on me and greater knowledge of God and God’s will. All of these experiences can be explained by scripture though, which is why scripture is the base for my life, how I live and for my salvation into eternity through Jesus Christ. While I used to be more into mysticism I now rely more on scripture than anything else, but love reading about others’ experiences with God and what they have learned through their life with Him.

    Blessings, joyce (quietgrace)

  143. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Thank-you for that gripping story of your encounter with the forces of darkness and light, Steve. My encounters have been few but have shaped my sense of unseen powers, much as you describe.

    I was a single mom school teacher, on my way to a curriculum meeting one evening, when I heard a definite voice saying, “Turn here.” That turn was in the opposite direction of the library where the meeting was scheduled. I said to myself, “This is silly, I’ll be late.” So, I went around the block and headed toward the library. I was shocked when I found myself pulling up to a little church with lights on and door open. I had not even known there was a church at that location before that evening. I heard in my heart, “Go on in.”

    I entered and a service of worship began. In the course of the service, I learned that the leadership of the church had been in fervent prayer for many prayer warriors and intercessors to gather for the work of God’s kingdom, especially ridding the area of demonic forces.

    I did attend the week-long campaign one other evening while it was underway. Not too long afterward I had a dream that shook me to the core: Dreamed I was in an unfamiliar room and there was an invisible entity there with me. The presence made my hair stand on end. This spirit began to command me and to push me into a wooden box that looked like a coffin. I resisted, and after a real wrestling match, I felt myself being slowly turned head over heels as I remained in a standing position — as though I were on a spit being turned without any ability to remove myself. No pain was involved, only helplessness, my feet about six inches off the floor. I did not know how to resist the force. At last, it left me and my feet were firmly on the floor. I was weak from the struggle.

    Awoke with a true sense that I must always contend with evil forces. Dread was replaced with a rock-solid resolve to stay close to the living God by way of Scripture, prayer, worship and the fellowship of the saints. I believe I experienced the sphere of occult things. My commitment to Jesus and his kingdom was redoubled in that week.

    The discovery I made in that time is that the evil one may affect even intimate physical things, but we are sealed in the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus. Should we be disposed of bodily, our soul is safe for life in the ages by God’s sovereign will. I do not seek out a ministry of deliverance for the possessed, though I will undertake prayer for deliverance when it is part of my journey, and never, never lightly.


  144. SFDBWV says:

    God bless you both Joyce and Maru. I remember an older lady with whom I attended church who once told me when I had told her of an unusual experience with God not to keep it to myself but to share it with other believers. She is gone now, but her advice is still good advice.

    In 1990 I developed small open wounds in the palms of both my hands. They didn’t bleed much, but were open wounds. It creeped some people out I knew, but I didn’t think much of it. I went to the doctors about it he prescribed some cream for it but they stayed there for over a year before turning not into scars, but rather an indentation or dimple in the palms of both hands.

    The most amazing story I have is during the 23 days we spent living in the hallway of the ICU at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown WV when Matt was in a coma and in intensive care.

    It involves hearing the voice of God and encountering two angels.

    I haven’t the time right now to begin the story as Matt just finished his bike ride and is about to do his walk then shower. I will elaborate further today when I have time.


  145. street says:

    Psalm 119:130-132

    130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
    It gives understanding to the simple.
    131 I opened my mouth wide and panted,
    For I longed for Your commandments.
    132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    After Your manner [a]with those who love Your name.

  146. street says:

    I think king David, a type, understood this better than most people. it was definitely working in his life.

    Psalm 81: [8] Hear me, my people, and I will warn you- if you would only listen to me, Israel! [9] You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. [10] I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. [11] “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. [12] So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. [13] “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, [14] how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! [15] Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. [16] But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

    they would not listen and earlier in same Psalm verse 5 HE said,”I heard an unknown voice say….” pray for intimacy with Him and quick recognition of His voice. most of all a heart that does not say, ” no Lord.” I am, He prevails. Praise his wonderful works.

  147. belleu says:

    Thank you, Steve for sharing your experiences. The first dream the Lord sent me was when I was 19. I had just started reading the Bible again. In the dream, I saw myself with friends walking up a hill. We were laughing and having fun. I was a real party girl back then. All of a sudden the sky turned black. We turned around to get a good view of the sky. A rainbow appeared from east to west and I knew Jesus was returning. I also realized I was lost. I had chosen the world and partying instead of Jesus. I woke up.

    I was terrified when awake and decided I must come to Jesus and eventually after reading, church and an evangelistic meeting – I was baptized. A very happy day.

    Soon after being baptized, I had a second dream. I was standing in front of our house with my little daughter. I looked up in the sky, which was full of light, and saw a cloud coming. I knew Jesus was coming and I was full of joy. I woke up.

    I love how God works with all of us in various ways. He knows what we all need. My first husband was not a believer and one time I prayed God would send him a dream. But I realized that for some people, as Jesus said, “Even if someone rose from the dead they still wouldn’t believe.” God knows the heart and knows what each person needs.

  148. SFDBWV says:

    Belleu this is fun, your walking uphill reminded me of a dream I had when I was about 13 or 14.

    I, like you, was walking along with others on a pretty well-worn trail up the face of a mountain it was strewn with rocks and boulders and bushes. The going was steep and difficult and though the sky above us was pitch black the pathway we walked along was dimly lighted as the light an oil lamp would give.

    There was an old bearded man leading the way and when I heard a sound in the darkness above our heads that sounded like a great whooshing sound I ask this leader what was that sound.

    He said to me that that was the sound of angels as they went back and forth from heaven to the earth. So I said hey I want wings too so I can fly on up instead of walking along this rough and rugged path.

    A voice from far above me in the darkness said “No Steven, you must go this way, but don’t worry you will make it.”

    That dream and that message has carried me all my days.

    However along life’s journey I picked up a few more passengers and it has become my concern for them to make it as well even if it meant I would have to trade my place at the table for them to have a seat.

    Which brings me to where I left off this morning.


  149. joycemb says:

    Street yes God worked in mystical ways with David, along with those who saw Jesus after he rose from the grave. Matt. 16:14

    My personal encounter with Jesus was similar to Saul of Tarsus encounter, changed me forever. The encounter the Ethiopian eunuch had with Philip in Acts 8:26-40 is a good example also of a mystical experience for both of them.

    Not all have these kinds of encounters, yet, John 20:29 blessed are those who don’t see. Blessed! Yes, all are blessed no matter their experiences. It just takes faith/believing who Christ is.

  150. joycemb says:

    OOPS, that’s Mark 16:14

  151. SFDBWV says:

    It was June 7th 1999 about 9:30 at night when Matt wrecked his car. I was working the night shift hours away at the time. His mother, my wife Rita called me at the plant around midnight and told me of the accident and that Matt had been life flighted to Morgantown WV to the University Hospital.

    I left Winchester VA for Morgantown as soon as I could it would be about a three hour drive or more to the hospital. I was very familiar with it because it was where my mother had died about 17 years earlier.

    On the way up the interstate in the dark as I was praying for Matt to make it, God spoke to me as audible as any voice I have ever heard and said simply that Matt would be ok.

    Arriving there about 3 or 4 in the morning my foster daughter Tracey met me at the entrance to tell me they had moved Matt to the intensive care unit from the emergency room.

    When I got there Rita her mother and her sister were already there as well as our friend and Pastor Bill McCallister and his wife Nelly.

    Almost as soon as I arrived a doctor came out from behind the double doors with a nurse and ask to speak to the Durst family, we rose and said we were they.

    He said that matt was in very serious condition and that they needed to call in several specialists, but were not going to, in fact they had not as yet given him any pain medicine so they could observe him neurologically and that he expected Matt to die.

    My wife Rita collapsed into a chair and I said confidently to the doctor that I know Matt isn’t going to die. The doctor then looked at his wrist watch and smugly said well we will know more about that in a few hours and walked back through the double doors behind the safety of the “do not enter without permission” sign.

    This horrible hospital won’t let you stay with your loved one in the ICU, rather we would have to beg the attending nurse for permission to visit, so since Rita and I took up residence in a cubicle in the hallway we had to protect our area from others taking our seats so we would take turn about being there with Matt.

    We became good friends with all the other families that were there living in that hallway and like a wonderful community of strangers who were suddenly thrust into becoming friends we all prayed together and helped each other as well as we could.

    It was the first few days of our being there that I was in the ICU room with Matthew when I noticed a woman dressed in a white uniform standing looking at Matt from outside the glassed window. She was blond and had her hair pulled back in a bun and was just standing still her eyes fixed on Matt. I though how odd and looked back at my son, looking back in her direction again she was still there and still staring intently at Matt. I thought this is weird.

    Looking again away I was drawn back to see if she was still there and she was, but this time her expression could be heard or better understood by me almost as if I could hear it she was expressing “I am so very pleased for you Matthew, so very happy for you.”

    I stood there stunned just staring at her when she looked toward me with a sad look, I looked back at Matt and back to her and she was gone.

    I said nothing to anyone not even my wife for two weeks and it was during those two weeks that I discovered I could identify all the people there by seeing them every day as well as how the colors of their uniforms set them apart as what their positions were. My blond observer was never seen again and her uniform did not match any of the others. Convinced she was an angel I finally told my wife, she was overjoyed.

    There is one more angel story there at the hospital, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

    Remembering that angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to the heirs of salvation.


  152. joycemb says:

    Thank you again for the story-so encouraging to hear! God is with us, always!

  153. remarutho says:

    Wonderful angel visitation, Steve! Always bringing a word from the Father. Always a blessing!


  154. belleu says:

    Praise God for his tender mercy to us all. He is so very near in times of trouble. It is interesting how the angel was happy for Matthew. God looks at things in such a different and beautiful way. I guess we are to think ourselves blessed for our infirmities as Paul said.

  155. bubbles says:

    Perhaps Mart was expressing the union we have with Christ, how the Holy Spirit helps us learn and understand Scripture, and how He prays for us when we don’t know what to say. The word “mystical” may have been used in another way from what we associate it. I don’t think he meant odd or supernatural happenstances.

  156. joycemb says:

    Bubbles you could be right-how do you define odd or supernatural happenstances? Those that have nothing to do with the trinity? Or?

  157. belleu says:

    I think any supernatural happenstance that has nothing to do with God is from Satan. I guess it would be called witchcraft or the occult. I have a friend from Haiti who saw these things because of all the voodoo in Haiti. He is a Christian now.

  158. bubbles says:

    I will not contribute any more to this.

  159. SFDBWV says:

    Personally I believe God interacts with all of us in alignment to our needs as well as His desires.

    The very fact that we as Christians believe in an unseen God or unseen heaven or Angels or for that matter a devil, speaks to the fact that we believe in a supernatural existence.

    If we didn’t, how could we believe any of the events and stories the Bible presents?

    One of the sayings many people agree with is that there are no coincidences.

    I for one believe that if we look for God in our circumstances we will find Him there and find that He has always been there.

    I promised one more angel story during our stay at Ruby Memorial Hospital and so I will to the best of my recollection recant it for you.

    I had been back with Matthew in the ICU and as I had earlier stated our ability to be there rested with the nurses control she had ask me to return to the hallway. Upon my arriving there was a young woman in a wheelchair talking with the friends we had made there in our area. As soon as I came through the door our friends all started talking at once telling me that this woman was here for me.

    The young lady began by telling me she was in a similar situation as Matt years ago and that like us the doctors had given up any hope of a recovery of any kind. She stated that she was there to tell me “not to believe anything these doctors told me because they don’t know who the healer is.”

    At that time she ask me if she could visit Matt, I said sure but we have to ask permission to go back in there. She smiled and said no we don’t and began wheeling herself back into the ICU with me trailing along behind.

    When we got to Matt’s bed she rose out of her wheelchair and whispered something in his ear was silent for a moment then ask me to take her back to her room.

    I did as she ask and she told me her name and that she worked as a physiologist there in Morgantown, had married and had two children.

    It was just after she left that Matthew showed any signs to the nursing staff of recognizing their requests, the doctors continued to refuse he was able to comprehend anything.

    After we had left Ruby Memorial for a rehabilitation hospital and Matt was in the slow process of waking up from his coma, my wife and I tried to find our mysterious friend in the wheelchair. She did not exist.

    Over a year later as I was recounting this story to the mother of a young woman in a similar situation as Matthew’s at a different rehab hospital in a different state, she ask me what the woman in the wheelchairs name was and when I told her she said that wasn’t the name she had given her. As she had had almost the exact experience as I.

    I have a lifetime of stories and certainly many more from these past 15 years of Matthew’s struggles. It has been my pleasure to share some of them with you.

    My point has been that there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in our philosophies ( I borrowed that quote) and just because we don’t understand everything doesn’t take away their existence. If we look for God we will find Him and if joined with Jesus nothing can prevent it.

    I pray all of you are blessed today and for the remainder of all time.


  160. Bill says:

    Good Morning All!

    What a wonderful series of posts!!!

    Steve, your eloquence always touches me, as do your anecdotes regarding your life. Thank you for taking so much time to share with us.

    belleu, thank you also for sharing your story with us. Inspiring!

    joycemb and Maru…wow. I deeply appreciate your posts.

    There is one more aspect to Christian Mysticism that I’d like to share with you before the thread is left behind.

    Catholic priest/musician John Michael Talbot wrote a book called “The Way of the Mystics: Ancient Wisdom for Experiencing God Today” that I think you’d find insightful.

    Talbot informs us that “mystic” isn’t always associated with “mystical.” For Talbot – and many other Christian mystics – the aspect of SERVICE is key. It is this aspect that ignites the Emerging Church movement with its emphasis on orthopraxy.

    For example, St. Francis of Assisi is making a comeback in popularity these days because of his deep devotion to God, as well as his reverence for nature. St. Francis is considered a pioneer in the area of Christian mysticism.

    A few of the chapter headings in Talbot’s book will give you an idea what Talbot considers to be the importance aspects of what we’re calling “Christian Mysticism”:

    Introduction: A Journey to the Heart of Our Faith

    The Way of Love: Bernard of Clairvaux

    The Way of Joy: Francis of Assisi

    The Way of Suffering: Catherine of Siena

    The Way of Service: Ignatius of Loyola

    The Way of the Artist: John Donne and England’s Metaphysical Poets

    The Way of the Inner Light: George Fox

    The Way of the Pilgrim: Lessons on Prayer from an Unknown Seeker

    The Way of Childlike Love: Therese of Lisieux

    The Way of the Modern Mystic: Thomas Merton

    It is the last chapter I mentioned that contains a name many here will be familiar with: Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk I’ve been studying lately.

    I’d like to point out something important in Talbot’s chapter on Merton:

    “Merton also studied the works of Buddhist and Hindu thinkers, and he developed relationships with internationally acclaimed Zen teacher Daisetsu Suzuki, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama. Merton saw a vitality in Eastern monasticism that he perceived as lacking in Western monasticism, which he judged to be in a state of crisis.

    “He was not a universalist, if by *universalism* one means the belief that all religions are equally valid and equally redemptive. In fact, he railed against ‘Baptizing Buddhism’ and criticized those ecumenicists who he felt engaged in ‘spurious attempts to bring East and West together’ in ‘laughable syncretisms.’

    “But he was a univeralist in the sense that he believed the gospel of Christ was for everyone.”

    Christian Mysticism is more a state of mind and the restoration of a lost (some would say essential) aspect to the Christian faith, one that is rooted in service to others, than it is an exploration of the supernatural. Frankly, I’m not sure “supernatural” is part of Christian mysticism. The spirituality from Christian mysticism comes from God, not from spirits.

    I hope that further explanation is helpful.

    Love to All,


  161. jeff1 says:

    I was told by a member of the World Church of Christ that while we may believe in angels we should not go there as only God knows the ‘order of the angels’. Another Christian told me that catholics are of a lessor light (biblical) and that is why they do not hesitate to go there. We have to remember that God has chosen people and that means what might be ok for one would not be right for another. My understanding here is that God has chosen beforehand the biblical people who understand the word to lead and whom he will call upon in his time. This is because of their knowledge of the word and nothing to do with feeling superior over other denominations.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.