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Any Christian Mystics out there?

post #1 of 199
Thread Starter 

Have we started a thread yet? I was raised and have been a protestant evangelical for almost 30 years. I have experience God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in undeniable ways. When I call on the name of Jesus amazing things happen. But I can no longer accept the systematic theology and dogma of the American protestant evangelical box. God cannot be contained. I'm scared of all these questions and their implications (mainly because all the circles DH and I have been in and are in are stoutly evangelical) but overjoyed to be in this phase of my journey, all at the same time.

 

Anyone else out there?

post #2 of 199

Sue Monk Kidd has a magnificent book entitled "Dance of the Dissident Daughter" about her move from Southern Baptist roots into a higher understanding of God and also the sacred feminine.  Maybe you would want to check it out?  She talks a lot about the fear of upsetting her husband, friends, community, etc.  

post #3 of 199
Thread Starter 

I might check that out. Thank God, DH and I are totally on the same page in our spiritual, theological and intellectual journey. Actually, he has been asking hard questions ever since I met him, playing the "devil's advocate" and being transparent with EVERYONE about where is he with everything. What you see is what you get with him, he is not afraid of what people think. I am the one who is trying to get over my fear of sharing what I truly believe with those close to me that I love and respect.

post #4 of 199

I would not call myself a mystic, but I love reading about the early (and more recent) Christian mystics.  Have you explored much outside of the Protestant tradition?  I'm reading a book right now that might interest you, The Mountain of Silence.  The author's comments aren't particularly Christian, but the people he interviews are fantastic.  There is a wealth of truly Christian mystics and mystical writings to explore.  One of my favorites is St. Seraphim of Sarov

post #5 of 199
Totally in for this thread! I am christian and have always felt my heart go towards (if you must label it), some form of mysticism and my recent religious change has made that possible for me to fully pursue. My dh too is fully on board as in the past he has practiced Native American spirituality and is Cherokee. I feel that by finding out who I am and being true to it is truly following God. I am no longer fighting my gifts.

PS thanks for the book recommendations. Always helpful!
post #6 of 199

Hi, I am a mystic. I loved "Dance of the Dissident Daughter". Looking forward to seeing other book recs.

post #7 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post

Have we started a thread yet? I was raised and have been a protestant evangelical for almost 30 years. I have experience God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in undeniable ways. When I call on the name of Jesus amazing things happen. But I can no longer accept the systematic theology and dogma of the American protestant evangelical box. God cannot be contained. I'm scared of all these questions and their implications (mainly because all the circles DH and I have been in and are in are stoutly evangelical) but overjoyed to be in this phase of my journey, all at the same time.

 

Anyone else out there?


Yes! You sound exactly like me, just add the fact my Dad is a retired Pastor and evangelist. Several years ago I was looking at going to seminary, in fact I am the director of a faith based community center. However in the past few years I started reading more and more on the history of the church and frankly that combined with so many things has really shaken me to my spiritual core. Yet like you I cannot deny the Holy Spirit and Jesus, seen too much in my life and know that its real, but lately feel like I am being called in other directions as well. I highly recommend like others Dance of the Dissident Daughter, it was really eye opening to me, I guess where I struggle and have fear and perhaps someone who has been a Protestant Evangelical can understand is with the idea of many paths to God....I know think that is true but still there is that fear. Its early not sure if I am making sense. But no you aren't alone and like you I am scared, scared of what these questions mean on so many levels but at the same time excited.

 

post #8 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post




Yes! You sound exactly like me, just add the fact my Dad is a retired Pastor and evangelist. Several years ago I was looking at going to seminary, in fact I am the director of a faith based community center. However in the past few years I started reading more and more on the history of the church and frankly that combined with so many things has really shaken me to my spiritual core. Yet like you I cannot deny the Holy Spirit and Jesus, seen too much in my life and know that its real, but lately feel like I am being called in other directions as well. I highly recommend like others Dance of the Dissident Daughter, it was really eye opening to me, I guess where I struggle and have fear and perhaps someone who has been a Protestant Evangelical can understand is with the idea of many paths to God....I know think that is true but still there is that fear. Its early not sure if I am making sense. But no you aren't alone and like you I am scared, scared of what these questions mean on so many levels but at the same time excited.

 



Do you mind sharing what you've read about church history that is shaking you?  I'm just curious.

post #9 of 199
Thread Starter 

Yes, Shayinme, we do sound alike. I did short term missions from the ages of 15-26 (with Teen Mania, YWAM and Calvary Chapel...primarily to Russia), my Dad was an Assistant Pastor (of a Calvary Chapel, which you may know is very sola scriptura), etc.

 

And yes, the scariest ideas are many paths leading to God and the Bible not being infallible Word of God. But a couple things are giving me peace about those things. I realized that the Bible is INSPIRED, not infallible, that scripture REVEALS God but does not contain Him (I doubt canonization could contain God), that the words of Jesus hold far more weight than the words of Paul, a human being (notice how Jesus focuses very little on theology and focuses on just "loving the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself"/the Kingdom of God...while Christians waste a lot of time debating the theological teachings/opinions of Paul?).

 

Also, happy you joined Bluebirdmama1. I must sadly confess I've been in evangelical circles that have discussions and teaching on why LDS and Jehovah's Witnesses are cults. The more I've got to personally know LDS and JW over the years, the more I've found that most of them have just as a real of a relationship with Jesus as I do. Sure, some doctrine might be skewed. But as DH has been saying for years and I am just accepting is, "if it required correct doctrine to be saved, then no one could be saved.". I also like how you mentioned that you no longer have to "fight your gifts". Since releasing the idea of sola scriptura I am now over the "wives submit to your husbands" and " a woman should be silent.(in church)" passages....I am fully free to be who I am spiritually and not try to be spiritually inferior to DH. I am the type who is in tune with the Spirit, I've prophesied, "speak in tongues", have experienced intense prayer, healings, etc. DH has a much more intellectual relationship with God and isn't "spirit filled". I used to think I had to not get ahead of him (he was in no way holding me back, he is supportive of me being my own person), let him "lead". But I realized recently we have TOTALLY different spiritual giftings, and that is to be embraced and pursued and support each other in, and not for me to somehow step in line behind him.

 

Same goes for Islam. I watched Malcom X recently and was struck by the very real conversion experience he had when traveling to Mecca..solely to worship Allah with his brothers. Stripped down from the doctrine he knew, just experiencing God in the context of community. I don't doubt he experienced God. DH and I were discussing the other day how when Jesus said in John 14:16, "I am a the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me". I DOESN'T say one doesn't "get into heaven" this way. It simply says they only experience the FATHER this way. There are many aspects to God's character, many unsearchable. One thing Jesus provides that other religions do not is to know the FATHER personally. Islam allows to experience the holiness of Allah, Judaism the holiness of Yahweh, Buddhism the life of "god" in all things, Hinduism the many even scary facets of gods/God, but no where else do you experience the Father. Many of our ideas about heaven and hell are fabricated, Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God on EARTH as it is in heaven... not "pray this prayer" and "be saved".

 

Well, that's my tangent for the day...since I am in a safe place to share these thoughts. If I pasted this so my family and friends could see...well that would be interesting.

 

Anyways, bless you all on your journey to know God/Jesus!

 

post #10 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post





Do you mind sharing what you've read about church history that is shaking you?  I'm just curious.


Coming from an Evangelical background and I am embarrssed to admit this but there was no discussion about how the Bible came into being, you are pretty much taught its God's word and you believe it...case closed. It was really learning that that things were left out of the Bible without a doubt and for me learning about the pre-Christ era and in a way feeling like what I was taught was meant to manipulate and control others. I mean even how I came to Christ was based on fear yet in all my readings I think if Christ came down on Earth he would be quite upset at how so many of his followers are representing him, very little love, a ton of fear. Really hard for me even type this out as its only been recently I could admit that I was grappling with these issues.

 

post #11 of 199
Thread Starter 
Exactly, many friends I fellowship with don't even understand canonization or church history at all. They think, "but scripture says to not take away or add anything to the book of life", not realizing that was specifically the revelation of John. I must admit I did not understand it until I went to YWAM's School of Biblical Studies, and only now can admit it has bothered me a bit since then. Really, I can't believe the process of canonization was infallible.

You mentioned the way the gospel is mostly presented is through fear. Having been steeped in evangelical theology I am currently intrigued with the Orthodox view of salvation...this YouTube clip is striking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WosgwLekgn8 .
The protestant view of salvation is based on sin-needing salvation from hell. The Orthodox view is the Creator reconciling His creation to Himself because He loves them, God is everywhere and even hell is not untouched by him. In fact, to most Orthodox heaven and hell are not spatial places, but rather the love of God is either the comfort of heaven or the consuming fire of "hell". Blew me away.

And again, the gospel as Christ taught it was "become part of the Kingdom of God" not "be saved from hell". John the Baptist said, "repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". "Repent" meaning turn from your old kingdom and live in the new kingdom, not: stop your sex drugs and rock n roll and be saved from hell..
post #12 of 199

Thanks for sharing that, shayinme.  I've not experienced firsthand any of the evangelical denominations, but I can imagine that I'd feel much like you do if that was my background.  I agree that fear-based preaching like that is very detrimental. 

 

Nicolelynn, I felt the same way when I first read an Orthodox view of the afterlife.  It blew my mind, and now I'm a catechumen hoping to enter the Orthodox Church soon.  Completely changed my life.  orngbiggrin.gif  The "judicial" view of salvation is definitely not the dominant view in Orthodoxy.  Salvation is seen as being healed from our unnatural fallen state, not being pronounced 'not guilty' by God.  Of course, I'm not doing any of this justice - it's much deeper and more beautiful than I can accurately express. 

post #13 of 199

I don't know if this is what I am or not...

Hmmm...

See, i was raised very back woods Pentecostal (laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, etc.) As a child I had a lot of mystical/psychic experiences. I didn't have a problem reconciling them with faith...but always felt there was more to religion/the bible than I was being taught. I got in trouble a lot, haha! I could do strange things so I got told it was the devil, etc.

I got heavily into western occultism-still appreciate that in a huge way-I have a nature/pagan leaning and have no problem with seeing many types of energies going back to the divine, you know?

But I always sort of 'default to Jesus'. Always have-like, he chose me...and trust me I have read hundreds, hundreds of books about religion/spirituality and it's funny that in spite of a very mystical background, I always default to Jesus. I can't get away from Him, though in my early days I tried. But I believe in reincarnation, I think there is so much more...yet nothing stirs my heart, spiritually, like Jesus.

Does this make me a Christian Mystic? Or just confused? :) Any input would be so appreciated.

post #14 of 199

Well said...I like this!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post

Exactly, many friends I fellowship with don't even understand canonization or church history at all. They think, "but scripture says to not take away or add anything to the book of life", not realizing that was specifically the revelation of John. I must admit I did not understand it until I went to YWAM's School of Biblical Studies, and only now can admit it has bothered me a bit since then. Really, I can't believe the process of canonization was infallible.

You mentioned the way the gospel is mostly presented is through fear. Having been steeped in evangelical theology I am currently intrigued with the Orthodox view of salvation...this YouTube clip is striking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WosgwLekgn8 .
The protestant view of salvation is based on sin-needing salvation from hell. The Orthodox view is the Creator reconciling His creation to Himself because He loves them, God is everywhere and even hell is not untouched by him. In fact, to most Orthodox heaven and hell are not spatial places, but rather the love of God is either the comfort of heaven or the consuming fire of "hell". Blew me away.

And again, the gospel as Christ taught it was "become part of the Kingdom of God" not "be saved from hell". John the Baptist said, "repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". "Repent" meaning turn from your old kingdom and live in the new kingdom, not: stop your sex drugs and rock n roll and be saved from hell..


 

post #15 of 199

I am definitely interested in this thread!  I've been Christian for about 30 years and became a Catholic about 5 years ago, something I never expected.  It's a long story.  I found in reading the Church Fathers that it answers a lot of questions about history, etc.

I've experienced Jesus (I love to call Him Yeshua}   and the Holy Spirit in some tangible ways that have changed me.  I am very grateful to know Him in my life as things have been very difficult the past few years for my family.  I can't imagine life without Him.

 

I don't have much time right now but will try and come back later.  Looking forward to reading what you all have to share here.

post #16 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapientia View Post

I don't know if this is what I am or not...

Hmmm...

See, i was raised very back woods Pentecostal (laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, etc.) As a child I had a lot of mystical/psychic experiences. I didn't have a problem reconciling them with faith...but always felt there was more to religion/the bible than I was being taught. I got in trouble a lot, haha! I could do strange things so I got told it was the devil, etc.

I got heavily into western occultism-still appreciate that in a huge way-I have a nature/pagan leaning and have no problem with seeing many types of energies going back to the divine, you know?

But I always sort of 'default to Jesus'. Always have-like, he chose me...and trust me I have read hundreds, hundreds of books about religion/spirituality and it's funny that in spite of a very mystical background, I always default to Jesus. I can't get away from Him, though in my early days I tried. But I believe in reincarnation, I think there is so much more...yet nothing stirs my heart, spiritually, like Jesus.

Does this make me a Christian Mystic? Or just confused? :) Any input would be so appreciated.


I totally relate to what you wrote. I am a journey yet I see Jesus as always being part of that journey. Yet I am starting to reconcile there is a part of me that does lean towards nature learning yet coming from a more fundamental/fear based way it creates a lot of anxiety but I am learning to deal with it...even just posting here is a big step for me.

 

post #17 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post




I totally relate to what you wrote. I am a journey yet I see Jesus as always being part of that journey. Yet I am starting to reconcile there is a part of me that does lean towards nature learning yet coming from a more fundamental/fear based way it creates a lot of anxiety but I am learning to deal with it...even just posting here is a big step for me.

 


Yes! It's a huge step/admittance for me, as well...like I am trying to really reconcile everything. I feel like if I say I am a Christian I am selling it short, but if I say I am pagan, then I want to yell 'But I believe in Jesus!' and I do admit that part of my fear of labels is, of course, preconceived notions-on every end, you know? Lots I need to work through!
 

 

post #18 of 199


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapientia View Post




Yes! It's a huge step/admittance for me, as well...like I am trying to really reconcile everything. I feel like if I say I am a Christian I am selling it short, but if I say I am pagan, then I want to yell 'But I believe in Jesus!' and I do admit that part of my fear of labels is, of course, preconceived notions-on every end, you know? Lots I need to work through!
 

 


Like a broken record, yes to what you said! That was exactly how I have been feeling, perhaps its the problem with the labels. I am interested in learning more about nature based spirituality/paganism but I am not there because I hate Jesus, he is still very much a part of my life. My daily prayer/meditation life still involves reading the bible among other things. I wonder and worry about how people will receive what some may feel is confusion on my part. I only recently shared my feelings with my hubby who told me he wasn't surprised since as he put it he sees what I read, noticed my incorporating nature into our celebrations, etc.

 

post #19 of 199
Thread Starter 
Yes, Sapientia, you sound like a Christian mystic. Christian mysticism is simply realizing God is not in the theological boxes we put Him in. We cannot fully explain Him, we can only experience and love Him. I can't ever identify as say a Buddhist or UU, because I have experienced JESUS, I haven't experience Buddha. But I also can't ascribe to any one man made Christian creed. The spiritual realm and God in nature is very real and all around us, and doesn't fit neatly into doctrines as I know them. As say, most Christians say there is no such thing as ghosts....when the early church did NOT teach that you go straight to heaven or hell when you die. Or my Mother (who is a Christian mystic as well thankfully...at least her and DH understand me) who believes animals have spirits, since the Bible doesn't say they don't even though Christians for some reason think that idea is unbiblical. Etc. It is interesting because in practice I am very charistamatic, I prophesy, experience the Holy Spirit, etc. I fit right in. But I don't use Christianese about it, for all I know the mechanism God employs are "new age" sounding things like mind reading, trances, etc. My Mom once explained to a new age group that she only channels the Holy Spirit. Crazy language to Christians, but the people she was talking to understood.
post #20 of 199



Thank you Nicolelynn! I needed to hear this!

Do you tell people that you are when they ask? I realize that is sort of a personal thing, and ultimately I tend to go with my instincts about what to tell people...just curious what you think!

Thank you again for that wonderful post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post

Yes, Sapientia, you sound like a Christian mystic. Christian mysticism is simply realizing God is not in the theological boxes we put Him in. We cannot fully explain Him, we can only experience and love Him. I can't ever identify as say a Buddhist or UU, because I have experienced JESUS, I haven't experience Buddha. But I also can't ascribe to any one man made Christian creed. The spiritual realm and God in nature is very real and all around us, and doesn't fit neatly into doctrines as I know them. As say, most Christians say there is no such thing as ghosts....when the early church did NOT teach that you go straight to heaven or hell when you die. Or my Mother (who is a Christian mystic as well thankfully...at least her and DH understand me) who believes animals have spirits, since the Bible doesn't say they don't even though Christians for some reason think that idea is unbiblical. Etc. It is interesting because in practice I am very charistamatic, I prophesy, experience the Holy Spirit, etc. I fit right in. But I don't use Christianese about it, for all I know the mechanism God employs are "new age" sounding things like mind reading, trances, etc. My Mom once explained to a new age group that she only channels the Holy Spirit. Crazy language to Christians, but the people she was talking to understood.
 


 

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