Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I have to admit, I've always thought that mysticism was something that only weird people did. I thought that they have missed the point of Christianity by secluding themselves only to think. I read in my Texts and Traditions I class about mystics who would barely eat together, and some who would even refrain from taking part in communion because they wished to be alone with God. Walter Rauschenbusch, the father of the social gospel, said that mysticism was a waste of time, and that Jesus was not a mystic but rather a social revolutionary. Mystics dedicated their lives to the spiritual and sometimes to seclusion and being weird. I always thought that they were insane hermits living alone out in a desert somewhere. It was not until lately that I have become dissatisfied with my own "quiet time" that I have found beauty in the mystic tradition. Quiet times are taught to children in evangelical churches in order for a person to spend a few moments alone with God. In my own journey, I have found that I have become legalistic about my quiet time, and it became more of a law to fulfill rather than an organic alone time with God. Quite honestly, my quiet times were often pretty selfish, ending with prayers about what is going on in my life and not being quiet listening for the voice of God. Add to that my fascination with Greek, Hebrew, and preaching, my quiet times turned into what will preach time. At Truett, thanks to Dr. Talbert, I have been exposed to other forms of Spiritual formation that I have lacked in my journey up to this point. I would be lying if I told you that I have done each and every one of them or even liked all of them. I have not, but what they have taught me is to center my focus onto God. In my last post, I talked about the impact Thomas Merton is having on me. The more I get into mysticism and the poetry, silence, and beauty that comes with it, the more I realize that God is a mystery, and that without mystery, there is no beauty. G.K. Chesterton said, "Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery, you have health; when you destroy mystery, you create morbidity." God is ultimately a mystery, and we need to be open to they mysterious part of God, because it keeps us at peace.