Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christian Spiritualities: Mystics and Others

Here is a John Crowder video I chanced upon the other day. I smiled from start to finish for all sorts of reasons.

Crowder is a self-professed modern day Christian mystic whom I know very little about and my purpose in posting the video is NOT to get into a discussion about the merits for or against John Crowder. Rather, it serves to help illustrate Christian spiritualities and how they interplay. Ideally in a healthy way via community, though often in an unhealthy way via tribalism. Something we've been looking into at church recently.

First of all, consider the helpful illustration from Christain Schwarz' book "The 3 Colours of Your Spirituality."

In sum, he suggests people relate to God via the "world" (creation, relationships, beauty), via the "Word" (gospel, cross, Jesus, bible), and via the "Spirit" (various, I guess you could say, unmediated experiences of God). It's limited and flawed but still a helpful tool. It's important to know your home base, that which comes most naturally for you. For me it is "world," as you can see from my test results which I've included in the graphic. As well, it is helpful to know the pathways that come most naturally to you. You can then also consider the pathways either side and the pathways opposite. Though in reality, they all mix together and we're all a bit of everything.

John Crowder's video is a helpful illustration here as it is classically "mystical." He's not quite "sacramental," nor is he exactly "enthusiastic Holy Spirit," but rather, a more mysterious place in the middle. The "sacramental" side of me loves his celebration of life as a joy and gift and a signpost to God, the fatigued "Holy Spirit enthusiast" side of me is a bit skeptical of the laughing revivals etc, though I can see how the "Holy Spirit enthusiasts" out there could find some life in what he is saying. And then, the "doctrinal" side of me, the opposite of "mystical," worries about what exactly he is and isn't saying. How cool is that! The closer you are to "mystical," either on the "enthusiastic" side or the "sacramental" side, the more you might enjoy what John has to say. The more of a "doctrinal" or "scripture driven" type you are, the more you may be troubled.

Learning to learn from one another, help one another, understand one another, and balance one another is surely better than righting off anything that is different to you.

No comments: