Christians, especially mainline Christians like me, have lost our way because we’re not sure what we believe. So our task is to clarify our core convictions in light of Twenty-first Century challenges. Only after we have clarity about our core truths, will we have the zeal necessary to restore and rebuild our Twenty-first Century Churches. When we believe with our heads and our hearts the integrity of our conviction is able to move mountains.
As we seek to clarify our core convictions in light of our times Phyllis Tickle’s Book, The Great Emergence, outlines our mission. Tickle writes that every five hundred years or so the Church has a rummage sale. At the sale we decide what things are invaluable to us and that we can’t part with. We also decide what things we’re ready to let go of in light of changing times.
In my book, Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots, I identify and clarify the theological gem of The Early Mystics (The Alexandrian Mystics). For me this gem is the invaluable core of Christian tradition, the foundation upon which everything else depends.
I’m fascinated by the legacy of the Alexandrian Mystics passed down through the ages, revitalized after 454 with the teachings of Severus of Antioch (d. 542), and preserved in the Oriental Orthodox Church of today (not to be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church).
Mystics are the authorities of their respective traditions. They have experiential knowledge of God that surpasses secondary ways of knowing. Through habitual silent prayer, the Alexandrian Christian Mystics experienced union with God. Alexandria and the surrounding desert regions of the third through the fifth centuries was the most fertile period of Christian mysticism. Never before and never since were there such a concentrated number of Christian mystics collaborating with the most sophisticated theological minds of the ages.
The intent of my book, Healing The Divide, is to capture the spirit of the Alexandrian Mystics and their theology for the Twenty-first Century. I believe the Jesus Paradox, as taught by the Alexandrian Mystics, is the root theology of Christian Mysticism.