Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mysticism is Weird... PART TWO

I wrote earlier that Mysticism is Weird...

But if I'm going to give this subject the respect and dignity is deserves, I have to ask a hard question: Does my discomfort with mysticism (or maybe even my borderline rejection of mysticism) mean that I think I can handle my problems better than God?
Does my distrust of mysticism mean that I don't think God is able?
Does it mean I don't think he is willing?
Does it mean I don't really give him a place in my life?

By now you know I'm reading St. Teresa's writings (The Interior Castle).
She is a big fan of sitting around and waiting for God to show up and do cool mystical things rather than practicing a set of disciplines which bring God's light to daily routines. (That's a very simplistic way of expressing it which doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.)  

This tends to be the popular Christian mindset. That we can bring nothing but wretchedness... therefore we're helpless to shape ourselves for the better unless he stoops to raise us up.
"Let go and let God." -- "God is sovereign." -- "Wretched, poor, and helpless we!"
(This is the mentality which can be so heavy for the depressed person... because if we're not raised up from an exterior power, what does that say about God's heart toward our suffering?)

Call me crazy, but philosophically I don't actually disagree with any of those things... BUT as I've pondered the subject I've come to two key conclusions:

#1 --- Our total fixation on salvation by grace through faith alone (which can often lead us to the conclusion that we are horrible, terrible, no good, very bad, yucky heads who can make no movement toward light on our own) misses a really really important point that isn't brought up enough:
When God's Grace has done it's good work, lifting the helpless dead thing out of the muck and mire, THEN THE HELPLESS DEAD THING IS A REVIVED AND REDEEMED THING.  

I think the church is so stuck on the grace of salvation that they've forgotten to focus on what happens AFTER GRACE.... we are redeemed. We are restored. We are sons and daughters of the universal king. We are glorious because his love is glorious. We are beautiful because we have souls designed to reflect the image of God... they just needed a little polishing and the light of love to be shone on them.

This is why, as a Christian, we do not need to be eternally self-depricating. We do not need to be eternally reflecting on our ickiness.... because we have been made new. Let's move past grace for a minute and celebrate what grace has done! That subtle shift in focus is radically life changing.

WHEW! That's a big one... kinda feel like just stopping there... but I'll press on so it will actually all tie together.

#2 --- God has set the road before us. We must walk it. He will help us. But he will not walk our road... if he didn't care about us slogging through the process, then he would just spirit us away to heaven. This means we are responsible for our own internal attitudes, mindsets, will, etc.

On the one hand we cannot do it alone (thus prayer and meditation are offered us as tools).
On the other hand, we do have to do it... thus tools are offered in the first place.

SO..... Mysticism (waiting for the divine to come swooping in) or Mindfulness (exercising our minds and spirits to live out a life reflecting the redemption of God)?

They both have their place, but I am confident that choosing an approach of Mindfulness is NOT an indication of doubting God's place, power, efficacy, or will to act.

Choosing Mindfulness over Mysticism is NOT a lack of faith.
It's just good and responsible 'follower-ship.'

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