Volume 6:1 Spring 2008
For this issue of Conversations, “Mysticism and Divine Awareness,” from the archives of 2008, we summoned the voices of ancient and modern day mystics—desert fathers and mothers, church historians, and even those who don’t find themselves ‘swimming in this stream’ often. It’s full of articles and interviews that will bring clarity and some spiritual insight into how others, and hopefully you dear reader, can become more aware of the Divine in your ordinary life.
Our experiences of how we connect to God are so varied, and so we have an array of stories, resources, and suggestions to guide us along the way. Gathering all this content taught us something too, and this is what we discovered: mysticism is for everyone. Juliet Benner has this to say in her feature column that uses the cover art to guide us into a deeper interaction with the theme:
This understanding reminds us that mysticism is not just for those who have been initiated into some mysterious, exclusive group, but for everyone—from desert mothers and fathers, monks and nuns, and other cloistered servants of God to those from every walk of life, every denomination, and every century. It is for every Christian as we seek to be conformed to the image of God, to love him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind.
You’ll hear from writers like by J.P. Moreland who clears up some confusions post-modernists have about mysticism. Anne Grizzle shares about her practice of the night watch, and how gazing at stars and waiting for the light has brought a richer, more meaningful relationship with her Creator. David G. Benner talks with Peter Borys about his book, and Gary Moon interviews John Michael Talbot.
Keep scrolling through the pages and you’ll come to David Downing’s helpful article on C.S. Lewis and “the region of awe.” Lewis reminds us that like other aspects of the spiritual life, discipline and obedience are important character qualities for those who desire to experience this ‘region of awe’ while dwelling in the mysteries of God’s love. And because it’s impossible to read Lewis and not quote him, I’ve included this here to tempt you to read the article:
Act in obedience, whether or not you feel supported by feelings of God’s presence or of personal fulfillment in what you are doing. Beginning swimmers may feel that the water will not support them, that they will go straight to the bottom. But they must act upon what they know to be true, to dive in and begin swimming, learning only by doing that their feelings of dread were not to be trusted.
The classroom features Heather Parkinson—Webb’s article. Joannah Sadler has summarized it and provided a few questions and exercises to help us unpack and apply the theme. Take your time with this issue, we think you’ll be surprised at how informative and accessible the articles are. Mysticism is for everyone, join the club.