About The Mystery

By: Brian Robertson

Quite often, when I get to a certain point in my writing, I reach a brick wall. Let’s be honest. There are hundreds of zillions of websites out there that will endlessly tell you all about God, all about salvation, all about avoiding hell and getting to heaven, etc. etc.

This site isn’t one of them. If that’s what you want, I ain’t your guy.

As a Christian, often we have to define ourselves not by what we “know” but by what we don’t know. We reach a point, as I do in writing or teaching, where one has to resort to the M word. And what word might that be? Mystery.

Either this world is all there is or it isn’t. Either what we see is all that exists or there are places and things beyond our perception. Either we live and die, barely just a blip in a few micro-seconds of the world, or we are on a long and lasting journey, a spiritual voyage, an odyssey that will carry us through this world and beyond.

I know which side I am comfortable on, not through some book but through my own experiences, shabby as they may be. But, at some point, one must simply end the sentence with the word “Mystery” and fall silent.

By “Mystery” I mean it in the classic sense, not as it has come to be understood today — a puzzle to be solved, an “ah-ha” moment of understanding. Quite the opposite. When I can no longer use the well-worn word of “God” or when I get to the point where, like a zen student, words simply take one fork while Reality takes another, I have to bow before the Great Mystery.

This “I-don’t-know” is more of an “I-can’t-know.” The Mystery is not a puzzle to be solved, but a Reality to be experienced. The Mystery is all you can say when you’ve reached the point where one’s limited capacity to understand is exceeded, when words and thoughts become useless.

This is the moment of the Mystery. It is the moment of Faith, of letting go, not of holding tightly to this or that dogma, creed, or community, be it a church or a religion or an organization of any kind.

I used to envy those people who were so sure, who had it all nailed down. You know the type. The Bible is God’s word. Jesus sends everybody to hell who doesn’t accept him. Put your butt in the church pew every Sunday and it doesn’t matter who you abused or belittled or hurt or ignored or harmed during the other seven days.

But then, as I look back on a half-century plus of spiritual travel, I know what Alan Watts once called, ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity.’ There is a time when we must be big enough to admit we can’t know. We must admit we have done wrong, we have missed the mark (the true root of the word “sin”) and we simply have to send our ego to the backseat and drive on.

Jesus did take us as far as we can go as humans. He did not take us as far as he could go. A pupil in other areas may outshine his master and take the disipline of choice a little farther down the road. We, as Christians, are in a unique position. Jesus gave himself up to the Mystery, he opened to it, fully identified with it and lived and died from that center of being.

We were not asked to be experts and spiritual prodigies. We were asked, in the face of the Great Mystery, to be ourselves. Not the day to day, not the mundane, but to really shove off into that fog, secure that no matter how rough the seas, we would never be alone, never be travelling in uncharted waters. At least one person had sailed into that Mystery before us and now waits, quietly, to be our guide.


[I think it is so easy in our knowledgeable society to try to explain away everything. I also think the worst thing any Christian can do is go to Bible college and get a degree. I fully believe and agree with you that to know God is to step outside of the known and into the mystery of the Divine.]


[I have enjoyed your writing very much. Thank you for this bit of wisdom that reminds me that it’s OK to not have an answer for every question.

I still like to figure out if there is an answer, and not give up entirely on understanding what I can, but like you said, there is a time when we fall silent in the presence of mystery.

God bless you.]


[You know, sometimes I wonder if writing a blog on the Net is like putting a note in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean. Kind comments like yours, Jennifer and David, remind me that somebody’s reading the words, and I value that connection more than I can tell you.

God bless,



[I believe that mystery is necessary if enchantment is to be real.
And mystery and ignorance arent synonymous.

Christopher Morely expressed it like this

I went to the theatre
With the author of a successful play
He insisted on explaining everything
Told me what to watch
The details of direction
The errors of the property man
The foibles of the star
He anticipated all my suprises
And ruined the evening
Never again!-And mark you,
The greatest Author of all
Made no such mistake!

The years of childhood are filled with mystery. God doesn’t see mystery as enimical to reason. But wonder can be enhanced when reason knows where to draw the line, for the noblest reason is to know God Himself. Enchantment in life can never be realized in some thing; it must ultimately culminate in a person.]