| Re: |
That's good Tom. Appreciate your posts.
Abiding is Christ, not yourself and not another spirit (familiar spirit), is the key.
| 2012/1/25 0:30||Profile|
| Re: |
Brothertom, I think we all can learn something from "Roman Catholic Mystics" including Fenelon and Guyon, particularly Fenelon. Far from suffering narcissism, they teach walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh. You have to remember most of the "Roman Catholic Mystics" were actually persecuted by the the Roman Catholic Church. I find that most who would call themselves protestant shy away and will not even give the Mystics a try, and I feel they are poorer for it. I think there are some beautiful jewels from Heaven in the writings of the Mystics if you are willing to read some of them.
| 2012/1/25 1:08||Profile|
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I would like to list a few of my favorite books written by Mystics if anyone is interested.
1. The hidden life of the soul. by Jean Nicolas Grou
2. Spiritual crumbs from the Masters table. by Gerhard Tersteegen
3.George Fox's Journal
4. Madame Guyon's autobiography
5. Any of fenelon's writings ( maybe start with " Let Go")
6. The life of Moses by Gregory of Nyssa
7. The power of the Spirit by William Law
8. Prison meditations by Girolamo Savonarola
9. Teatise on keeping the heart by John Flavel
10. Both books written by Philippe Vernier. (With the Master) and (Not as the World giveth)
| 2012/1/25 1:26||Profile|
| Re: |
Just for the record I have learned many things from reading some of Guyon's books, and some of Law's books.
Some good things and some not so good things, but we are all just men and no one is perfect except Jesus Christ.
Good night, All.
Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
| 2012/1/25 1:41||Profile|
| Re: |
Because of the "elephant" Tom described, I've been wary of Mysticism. For some it does threaten to unmoor people from scripture. However, over the years I've grown increasingly interested and appreciative of the subject...even as I still remain cautious.
For me, at least some of the appeal in mysticism, can be explained by the frustrating limitations of language to convey our experiences with God. Our words simply fail to mediate between us and reality adequately. We inherit vocabulary and conceptual frameworks that don't always line up with the world, both physical and spiritual, as we find it. For many Christians, I think the legitimacy of myticism validates something very meaningful; that our profound personal experiences with Jesus are more real then the nouns and verb symbols of language.
This is a paradox! Mystics have often been characterized as wanting to experience some other reality, but I find that many of them have quite the opposite aim: They believe that our human langauge and concepts prevents us from fully experiencing reality. (This inability of langauge to touch reality also explains why some Christians intuitively mistrust fundamentalism and its emphasis on doctrinal conformity, just as others might mistrust mysticism, and it's emphasis on personal experience!)
To look at this frustrating limitation of langauge, consider this experience by many Christians: a young man believes the Gospel sincerely, but his initital saving peace lasts only for a season, is lost, and then through a crisis is regained in even greater perfect strength. Some Christians describe this process as backsliding and repenting, some as the second blessing, and still some as simply growing in grace.
After awhile some find that none of these conceptual frameworks is completely satisfactory to explain the loving personal attention and undeserved faithfulness shown to them by the Holy Spirit towards their salvation. They decide, more or less, that in order to continue folllowing after Christ, they simply may have to let go of the rhetorical and intellectual demands placed on them by a particular denomination or school. To them, the main thing is what they are expriencing with God, not how their experience fits into descriptive systems. Indeed, even the most capable of writers and speakers find that their language skills cannot always follow them in the deepest aspects of real life.
Words are only symbols of reality, and man can't live on symbols alone;)
| 2012/1/25 3:45||Profile|
| Re: "Mysticism" in Context |
I think it is important that we remember that the term mysticism is a term coined by man to describe something that they categorized and talked about. Nowhere in scripture do we find the term mysticism. We do find, as Brother Tom so aptly said, men and women who through abiding in Christ were used in some very supernatural ways and experienced the power and presence of God operating in their lives. I have seen those who focused on mysticism for its own sake and they always got into the ditch. Then again, the same is true of those who focus on anything other than Christ and Him crucified. It is a bit like the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are to covet earnestly to be used in the gifts. However the more excellent way mentioned in the next chapter is that the focus is operating in God's kind of love. If we are closely linked to Him and working from a motivation of His agape love then we can covet to be used in the gifts of the Spirit to see His love in operation ministering to people in need. One could easily classify Smith Wigglesworth as a mystic. I have been reading again about his life and what I saw was death to self and life in God with a motivation to see God's love and compassion poured out to bless and minister to people precious in His eyes. The result...well it is recorded in history.
| 2012/1/25 7:55||Profile|
| Re: |
Edited: Some new lines added.
That is very true, twayneb. Mysticism is a term not found in the Bible. For the most part, Christians should speak the language of the Bible otherwise it usually results in vain wranglings and debates.
It is interesting that Paul, when talking about meat, drink, respect of certain holydays, new moons or even sabbath days, tells us to not let any man beguile us of our reward by their "peculiar" practices. And you could also throw in many other things such as the subject we are discussing. Then Paul goes on to basically say what you are saying (twayneb) as far as what to focus on. "Holding to the Head" (Col 2:19). He is the one we receive our nourishment from and who causes us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.
Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Col 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
With that said, I prefer the Bible word "spiritual", but look how that word is being co-opted today.
So, we don't have to belabor this thread and I think many have brought a good balance. My OP was to do just that and bring balance.
Because the word is not part of the language of the Bible, I think it would be helpful if we speak of mysticism that we should always elaborate regarding what we are really trying to convey. Because in our union and fellowship with Christ, it is never an act of our skill and many "mystics" and "contemplatives" teach as if it is an act or skill that they have acquired. "Contemplative" is another word that I don't like that much but I try to understand what is being communicated without shutting my ears.
The "mystics" and "contemplative", don't appeal to me because I came out of Roman Catholicism and I see how those words are abused and "mystics" and "contemplatives" are treated as "special" people.
On the other hand, it is interesting how people that have never been in the RCC are drawn to mysticism and contemplative life. If it takes you away from Jesus and He is decreasing and you are increasing, then of course it is deception.
We come to God on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus, and should never think that there is some "mystical" skill that we must acquire in order to come to God and "know" Him.
This is the problem I have with those who actually focus on mysticism and the contemplative. While there are good things to be found in them, one must remember that the enemy draws one away from Christ by "good" things.
There is no shortcut to God, no secret way to approach Him. Relationship with God is dynamic and not formula or skill based.
| 2012/1/25 9:25||Profile|
| Re: |
"The "mystics" and "contemplative", don't appeal to me because I came out of Roman Catholicism and I see how those words are abused and "mystics" and "contemplatives" are treated as "special" people. "
"On the other hand, it is interesting how people that have never been in the RCC are drawn to mysticism and contemplative life. If it takes you away from Jesus and He is decreasing and you are increasing, then of course it is deception." Pilgrim 777.
It is derived from the Catholic concept that a "Sacrificial Life" is more acceptable to God, and the more sacrificial the better! It is the core of the spirit of Religion, and it is a works based gospel propelled beyond mere legalism. It is at core, a demon based pleasing toward God, that enslaves souls on an ever increasing lifestyle.
40 years sitting on a flagpole, whipping yourself bloody as you walk on your knees, or actually become nailed to a cross, [ as is done today in Mexico today..] or actually some of the bizarre practices done today in Roman Universalism; Monasticism as more commitment, along with the vows of chastity are central to establish the "PRIEST-CLASS, the Fathers and Mothers that deserve real authority.
This is the allure of these demons. Mother Teresa, who wrote of her misery while administering her belief system, toiled night and day among the pagan Hindi, but yet, refused them any knowledge of the Savior as Deliverer and God, because it was beyond the dignity deserved among the dying victims she served.
She, in effect, greased the slides of Hell for these unfortunate souls while touting her effective ministry, all in utmost humility of course.
Catholic Mysticism is pure Babylonian occultism...all the way down the line.
| 2012/1/28 2:05|
| Re: mysticism as despair and critique of modern rationalism|
...it is interesting how people that have never been in the RCC are drawn to mysticism and contemplative life.
There is widespread discussion in many circles about our society moving from a "modern age" (defined by confidence in rationalism) to a "post-modern age" (defined by a mistrust of rationalism).
In general I think that there is merit in this idea. The reaons for this could be varied. For instance, I think people feel very uncertain about the most basic institions of our day, from their government to their churches. We see that rationalist thinking can't assure us that we will never use weapons of mass destruction. We are astounded that rationalism's most brilliant minds could create so tottering a tower as the global economy in which all our lives are built upon. And on an even deeper level, I think rationalism leaves no room for emotions and feelings, alienating the modern soul that is mournfully conscious of being alone in a material world in a way previous ages wouldn't have experienced.
All of this I believe is a force for an increased interest in not only mysticism, including various Christian mystic traditions, but also "new age" spiritualism, as well as pagan and eath belief systems. We sense that modernity, both secluar and religious, is about to collapse in on itself at any moment, and we want an anchor when it does.
It is worth noting that mysticism is almost always viewed as "returning" to something ancient, rather then discovering something new. The underlying idea, not just for the Christian, but for Homo modernus secularis as well, is that we have all lost our souls years ago, and now are forced to live out our lives as hollow biological and economic machines without the sense of meaning our primitive ancestors had. So, trapped in our modern techno-scoiety, we inwardly admire the ancients and try to recapture some of their lost world views. Even if we don't believe their "mythologies" we can still practice their rituals, if only to find psychological relief from rationlism's implication that we as individual's have no intrinsic value or purpose.
It is also worth noting, that in the schema I just described, strict athiests such as Dawkins and the late Hitchens are considered fundamenatlists as much their "religous" counterparts. It's their supreme certainty in their own beliefs that disqualifies them from being post-modern....and in that sense they are anitquated and curiously victorian.
My point in laying all of this out, is to see there is a correlation between the 21st century interest in mysticism and the dispair over the failure of modern secular rationalism. Rationalism renders any subject, including God, into an impersonal and alienating object of study. Mysticism is concerned with being connected, touching essence with essence, rather then being seperated by our telescopes or microscopes.
So perhaps we can say much of our interest in mysticism is an impulse and instinct to put back together and make integrated that which has been descontructed and categorized by rationalistic religion. In this light, I think it is a healthy impulse.
| 2012/1/28 14:45||Profile|