The topic of mysticism has been on my mind lately, and it’s begging for my attention at odd times. Very recently, I found myself thinking about it while being surrounded by a bunch of people as they worshiped and praised God. Some of them even had their hands in the air, but it didn’t feel staged or sensational like those cable TV praise-a-thons.
As they continued to sing during the church service, there I was- standing silently, and trying to hold an earnest look on my face. I was probably the most insincere person in the whole room. My belief was in place, but I was too afraid to show it. That bothers me.
“What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It’s close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.” – Elie Wiesel
Why do we search for ways to leave the ground, and what do we find once we arrive “up there”?
During times of extended channel surfing, I usually regret stopping for a moment to watch religious cable. I always seem to catch it right in the middle of a worship-athon. It’s that typical scene- an uncomfortably large auditorium full of people with their hands desperately stretched out, and eyes squeezed shut as if God is a genie just waiting to be willed into the room. Some are searching desperately for a sign.
Should we welcome, and even search for episodes of elevated spirituality?
Last night I went to Seattle Pacific University to watch two friends of mine- host Dick Staub and pastor Earl Palmer, as they spoke with other experts about author C.S. Lewis and his views on faith and mysticism.
I can’t help but think of levitating spheres, prisms with rainbows and Yanni music when I hear the word ‘mysticism.’ It has been associated with self-righteousness, and many (including myself) are often skeptical about those claiming to have had such experiences. I say this as a Christian, which is admittedly ironic because I believe in God, the supernatural and a Bible which is filled with fantastic and mysterious events. As a person of faith, I still favor an intellectual explanation or a rational argument over the warm fuzzies.