Emphasis on Experience 12-08-2016

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.

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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, a language rooted in The Alexandrian Mystics[1].
Silent prayer heals divisions in our minds. Accurate theology of Jesus[2] heals the fissure between Jesus’ Divinity and humanity, which will have healing ripple effects in our churches, denominations, and society.

[1] For more on the Alexandrian Mystics see Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots.

[2] Theology of Jesus is often referred to as Christology.


David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings.  Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program  created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.