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Author Topic: Christian Mysticism??  (Read 822 times) Average Rating: 0
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alanscott
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« on: March 07, 2012, 09:15:12 AM »

Hello All,

O.K. so first let me admit that when hearing the word ‘mystic’ I immediately put my guard up, with images of a circle of people holding crystals with flowers in their hair, and meditating to the energy force of mother earth or something like that.

The other night I was on You-Tube (Lord watch over me) searching around for info on Early Church Fathers. I came across a lecture of sort that spoke of Christian Mysticism. It wasn’t anything like I would have thought. To my limited knowledge I didn’t hear anything I would consider heretical really. (My knowledge is weak so I get concerned I might not always recognize heresy though) It more so pointed out how Christianity itself, theology, is in about as mystical as one gets. The Trinity, Theosis, Virgin Mary, etc. This gentleman referenced Orthodoxy and the ‘Desert Fathers’ in doing so. Pretty much claimed that Eastern Christianity has always held a mystical view that was lost over time in the West and especially amongst Protestants. I should point out that while he never said one way or the other I got the impression he himself was not Orthodox. I could be wrong.

Forgive my ignorance and caution of false council, but is there anything theologically sound to ‘Christian Mysticism’ in the Orthodox faith as this man was referring. I am aware of Christian Ontology (I read an awesome article by Fr. Stephen Freeman) that goes hand in hand to some extent with the lecture. Any guidance, references, and insight you all could offer would be appreciated.


Peace & Grace       

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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 09:21:44 AM »

Broadly speaking, mysticism is direct knowledge/ perception of God or divine realities. That Orthodox Christianity affirms that it is possible to directly experience God in this life shows that our Church is "mystical."

Here  ya go: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/lossky_intro.aspx
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 09:23:17 AM by Iconodule » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 10:02:36 AM »

I would highly encourage and suggest this podcast series, Orthodoxy and Mysticism. Mysticism has gotten a bad rap in the west, and has been twisted to mean something different than what we understand it to mean. I think it should answer most of your questions... Smiley

http://ancientfaith.com/specials/eastern_orthodoxy_and_mysticism
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alanscott
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 09:05:45 AM »

Thank You gentleman!

This is exactly what I am looking for it appears. Perhaps I'm being a little premature as the article deserves a reread (I read during periods of a busy hectic day) and I have only listened to part one of pod-cast last night, but I want you both to know this is significant for me!

I give my praise and thanksgiving to God, and extend gratitude to both of you.


In Christ,

Scott

 

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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 12:27:08 PM »

Thank You gentleman!

This is exactly what I am looking for it appears. Perhaps I'm being a little premature as the article deserves a reread (I read during periods of a busy hectic day) and I have only listened to part one of pod-cast last night, but I want you both to know this is significant for me!

I give my praise and thanksgiving to God, and extend gratitude to both of you.


In Christ,

Scott

 



You're very welcome! Please let us know what you think after you are done reviewing them. Smiley
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alanscott
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 12:47:26 PM »

Thank You gentleman!

This is exactly what I am looking for it appears. Perhaps I'm being a little premature as the article deserves a reread (I read during periods of a busy hectic day) and I have only listened to part one of pod-cast last night, but I want you both to know this is significant for me!

I give my praise and thanksgiving to God, and extend gratitude to both of you.


In Christ,

Scott

 



You're very welcome! Please let us know what you think after you are done reviewing them. Smiley

Will do, but be warned it might come with questions. A lot of questions! lol  Grin
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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 12:49:44 PM »

I wouldn't expect any less Wink
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alanscott
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 12:56:01 PM »

I wouldn't expect any less Wink

LOL Awesome! Thanks Bro!  Smiley
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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
alanscott
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 10:10:08 AM »

Thank You gentleman!

This is exactly what I am looking for it appears. Perhaps I'm being a little premature as the article deserves a reread (I read during periods of a busy hectic day) and I have only listened to part one of pod-cast last night, but I want you both to know this is significant for me!

I give my praise and thanksgiving to God, and extend gratitude to both of you.


In Christ,

Scott

 



You're very welcome! Please let us know what you think after you are done reviewing them. Smiley

Will do, but be warned it might come with questions. A lot of questions! lol  Grin

O.K. Gentleman,

Let me first thank you again for your references. It would also be remiss of me to not comment on the speaker who was truly inspiring, and about as full of Peace and Grace as anyone I have heard. Glory be to God.

I guess I don’t really have as many questions as I anticipated at this time, or at least not the type questions I thought I might have. It runs a little deeper than that to be honest. This is certainly not the first time I have heard of the importance of establishing an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or being in this world as opposed to of this world if you will. I too believe that all is by the Grace of God but we do need to cooperate with God (prepare ones heart) to receive His grace. Yet, after listening to the pod-cast, I must be honest and ask myself if I have been pursuing/perceiving this without the true depth and fullness of Truth and Understanding. The pod-cast goes hand in hand to what I have only recently heard; that we are created in God's image as a trinity of sort, being mind, body, and soul. As well as the connection between ones mind and heart. Do I understand correctly that these parts of ourselves are fractured (disconnected) due to the fall of man as well as personal sin? Is it fair to say that repentance in part is the reconnection of our heart and mind as we turn from sin and 'reconnect' to God through the process of repentance?

This subject also comes at a good time for me as I have been so caught up in acquiring knowledge (well attempting anyway) I’m afraid I may have been seeking God with a little too much mind and not enough heart lately. Not to mention because of the way I have lived my life my heart and mind are not exactly in sync. I have never gone about seeking God with my body in anyway at all. It certainly makes sense though. This is something new to me and an aspect of my Christianity I now feel may have been missing and must pursue further. I take it at least one reason Orthodox cross themselves and burn incense is to incorporate the body and senses? That makes a little more sense now.  Wink

As I have often found Orthodoxy to be this was not without practical application. That is something I always appreciate. There are many things that hit home. I am grateful and praise Him for this insight. As a side note my wife is up in N.C. with my daughter who just made us grandparents over the weekend!! I emailed the pod-cast to them as I believe it will be of great benefit to my daughter (wife too) in her own repentance and journey toward our Lord God as well.

In Christ,

Scott


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There are heathens that live with more virtue than I. The devil himself believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Neither of these things truly makes me Christian.
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 03:03:30 PM »

The pod-cast goes hand in hand to what I have only recently heard; that we are created in God's image as a trinity of sort, being mind, body, and soul. As well as the connection between ones mind and heart. Do I understand correctly that these parts of ourselves are fractured (disconnected) due to the fall of man as well as personal sin? Is it fair to say that repentance in part is the reconnection of our heart and mind as we turn from sin and 'reconnect' to God through the process of repentance?

Definitely, yes.

Quote
This subject also comes at a good time for me as I have been so caught up in acquiring knowledge (well attempting anyway) I’m afraid I may have been seeking God with a little too much mind and not enough heart lately. Not to mention because of the way I have lived my life my heart and mind are not exactly in sync. I have never gone about seeking God with my body in anyway at all. It certainly makes sense though. This is something new to me and an aspect of my Christianity I now feel may have been missing and must pursue further. I take it at least one reason Orthodox cross themselves and burn incense is to incorporate the body and senses? That makes a little more sense now.  Wink

Again, definitely, yes. It's also part of why we fast, do prostrations, fill our churches with icons, etc, etc. The only way to get the body involved in salvation is to actually get it involved.


[/quote]
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 09:49:25 PM »

Thank You gentleman!

This is exactly what I am looking for it appears. Perhaps I'm being a little premature as the article deserves a reread (I read during periods of a busy hectic day) and I have only listened to part one of pod-cast last night, but I want you both to know this is significant for me!

I give my praise and thanksgiving to God, and extend gratitude to both of you.


In Christ,

Scott

 



You're very welcome! Please let us know what you think after you are done reviewing them. Smiley

Will do, but be warned it might come with questions. A lot of questions! lol  Grin

O.K. Gentleman,

Let me first thank you again for your references. It would also be remiss of me to not comment on the speaker who was truly inspiring, and about as full of Peace and Grace as anyone I have heard. Glory be to God.

I guess I don’t really have as many questions as I anticipated at this time, or at least not the type questions I thought I might have. It runs a little deeper than that to be honest. This is certainly not the first time I have heard of the importance of establishing an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or being in this world as opposed to of this world if you will. I too believe that all is by the Grace of God but we do need to cooperate with God (prepare ones heart) to receive His grace. Yet, after listening to the pod-cast, I must be honest and ask myself if I have been pursuing/perceiving this without the true depth and fullness of Truth and Understanding. The pod-cast goes hand in hand to what I have only recently heard; that we are created in God's image as a trinity of sort, being mind, body, and soul. As well as the connection between ones mind and heart. Do I understand correctly that these parts of ourselves are fractured (disconnected) due to the fall of man as well as personal sin? Is it fair to say that repentance in part is the reconnection of our heart and mind as we turn from sin and 'reconnect' to God through the process of repentance?

This subject also comes at a good time for me as I have been so caught up in acquiring knowledge (well attempting anyway) I’m afraid I may have been seeking God with a little too much mind and not enough heart lately. Not to mention because of the way I have lived my life my heart and mind are not exactly in sync. I have never gone about seeking God with my body in anyway at all. It certainly makes sense though. This is something new to me and an aspect of my Christianity I now feel may have been missing and must pursue further. I take it at least one reason Orthodox cross themselves and burn incense is to incorporate the body and senses? That makes a little more sense now.  Wink

As I have often found Orthodoxy to be this was not without practical application. That is something I always appreciate. There are many things that hit home. I am grateful and praise Him for this insight. As a side note my wife is up in N.C. with my daughter who just made us grandparents over the weekend!! I emailed the pod-cast to them as I believe it will be of great benefit to my daughter (wife too) in her own repentance and journey toward our Lord God as well.

In Christ,

Scott




Hi Scott,

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed the podcast I recommended you to, I thought that you might. Smiley I hope that your family finds it to be a blessing as well.

I would have to say that from what I have read, you are pretty much spot on with your assessment and understanding of Orthodoxy so far. I would only want to emphasize that we can do nothing without grace (we see grace as God's active presence working within us and within the world), as we are to co-operate with it (synergia) every step of the way throughout the process of our salvation, from our initial "turning" towards Christ, to our continued fulfillment in Him throughout this life and into the next. We have free-will every step of the way and are never coerced by God, yet he is always there for us waiting for us to turn towards Him and embrace Him.

I know what you mean about the heart catching up with the head. It's all too easy for one's head to rush ahead and leave the rest of us behind. It is one thing to acquire an intellectual assent to the faith (to make sense of it in one's own mind), and yet another thing altogether to live the faith and immerse yourself within it, mind soul and body, so to speak. I struggled with this too, and still continue to.

And yes, you have said it right. We engage all of our senses in worship. Sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. In that sense, one might say that our worship is very "physical", although this does not isolate or neglect the spiritual aspect. Man is made of both, and Christ took on our entire humanity and deified it, so that entire person may become like him and be healed entirely, not just part.

I hope that you continue to receive many blessings along your journey. If you get a chance to attend a service during lent, I wouldn't pass it up, as we are right in the middle of the high point of our yearly liturgical calendar (culminating with Holy Week and Pascha).
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 09:54:38 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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