Christian Mysticism’s Emphasis on Experience 02-06-2014

Historically, Western Christianity has approached personal experience with suspicion at best and wholesale repression at worst. Mystical experience was considered dangerous, and so relegated to out-of-the-way monasteries, which were kept under close watch. Fundamentalists today are threatened by direct experience, which is sometimes labeled demonic. And for all their fetishizing of personal experiences, new agers usually don’t offer deep-rooted and disciplined forms of it.

Leaving our religious tradition for a new age experiment isn’t the answer. Theological assumptions void of deep personal experience are also not the answer. We can’t settle for authoritarian experience bashers on the one hand or unscrupulous experience fetishizers on the other. The Jesus Paradox isn’t about dogmatic certainty and political control and it’s not about shirking tradition for new age experiments. It’s about experiencing God in silent prayer and having a language for the experience. That language is The Jesus Paradox, addressed in my book, Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots.