“It was late at night on the open road,
Speeding like a man on the run,
A lifetime spent preparing for the journey;
He is closer now and the search is on,
Reading from a map in the mind,
Yes there’s the ragged hill,
And there’s the boat on the river.
And when the rain came down,
He heard a wild dog howl,
There were voices in the night – “Don’t do it!”
Voices out of sight – “Don’t do it!
Too many men have failed before,
Whatever you do,
Don’t pay the ferryman,
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the ferryman,
Until he gets you to the other side;
In the rolling mist, then he gets on board,
Now there’ll be no turning back,
Beware that hooded old man at the rudder…”
– Chris De Burgh (Ferryman)
Know Thy Self
We are all students and teachers, by sharing we grow. Everyone’s path is unique. This post contains a glimpse of mine…
Christian Mysticism is the terminology that best embodies the way I personally relate to God. Admittedly there are many levels of spiritual development within Christianity and I’m not suggesting what follows is meant for the replacement of mainstream religion. Quite the opposite, I couldn’t imagine that a Christian mystic could arise separate from some form of structured religion, but rather is called out of the confines of formal Christianity somewhere along the way. On this point I could be mistaken, I can only share from my personal experience with any degree of certainty.
I don’t assume that if someone were to pray in a similar fashion, read the books I have read, learn to understand biblical psychology, allegory, or find their identify in search of the beloved that there would be a common language to express the final experience.
Born Baptist – Visions of Hellfire Dance in my Head
My religious heritage is from the Protestants, specifically Southern Baptist. You see, I was well into my teens with the idea that at any given moment Jesus was going to come back or the Russians were going to push the “button” and life as I knew it was done! Chances were pretty good that I wouldn’t have time to fully repent before being vaporized or caught in the very act sin by Jesus Himself (rapture time). Nevertheless I continued, driven by circumstances, reacting to life, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, having my cake and eating too, the underpinnings of the Baptist mindset exemplified…
Looking back on salvation, being born again, seemed to me as starting point rather than the ultimate purpose in life. Having been through the rituals and rights, baptized, and publically confessed, I still felt like somehow I was missing it! I had expectations of a real relationship with the living God. Questions started infiltrating from deep within, scary questions that chipped away at everything I was raised to believe. According to Baptist authorities on the matter, when the question was “how do I know that I am saved”, the answer was always “You know – that you know – that you know.”
Never you mind young padawan, the masters would always assure “all of your questions will be answered when you get to heaven.” But, but, but, what if… Secretly I started to wonder if I really believed with all of my heart, realizing my blessed assurance was missing! No one could help, the questions turned into condemnation and I begin to fear eternal separation again. I didn’t realize that my journey had only begun and that life would evolve for me as test rather than testimonial.
Embracing Christian Mysticism
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” God is not a possession of the human soul, the soul is His. “In him we live and move and have our being.” My observations do not vary greatly from what most Christian’s state about faith, the difference being a personal experiential intangibility of God alive, within, not as a system of thought or emotional intuition.
It’s nearly impossible to say how or when I grasped the beliefs that I treasure now. Life appears to me as a contiguous whole rather than a collection of puzzle pieces that somehow fit together to form my personhood. Nevertheless, the turning points of my life exist as wisdom. However, it is beyond the scope of this memoir to elaborate further concerning the circumstances of life that led to wisdom.
I worship God in spirit and truth, turns out that’s Christian and Mystic. Everyone’s path is unique, like footprints on water, mine remains.
Share your journey here: Embracing Christian Mysticism