Christian mysticism seeks to describe an experienced, direct, nonabstract, unmediated, loving knowledge of God, a knowing or seeing so direct as to be called union with God.
I thought I might offer a few further thoughts myself, especially in providing some guardrails for our understanding (and practice) of the right kind of mysticism.
Over the past several weeks, Rachael Denhollander, the former gymnast whose Larry Nassar testimony went viral, has used her platform to address abuse in the church, particularly years-old allegations of abuse at Covenant Life Church, where Mahaney—the former president of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM)—had served as senior pastor.
People are watching. They peer into our windows and look for our behavioral patterns and rhythms. They take note of our reactions to political movements. And dare I say, they see fear and anger more than love. They watch for us to react to sexual allegations and argue on social media about the role of women. And they watch us deal with suffering, and wonder why we suffer at all when our God is alive.
But is he?
Does our behavior point to a living God?
Many younger Christians fail to realize Graham’s cultural force in twentieth-century America. Speaking recently with a co-worker, he remembered his mother forcing the family to eat dinner quickly to huddle around the screen. His televised sermons, were Must-See-TV. Where is that in today’s world?
The salvation of the thief on the cross gives hope to every sinner. It’s an astounding picture of the sheer grace of God. This account tells us that even the worst of the worst—someone guilty of countless crimes—can receive forgiveness through Jesus and access to God. The cross of Christ gives anyone who repents—including the vilest offender—a pardon.
Every so often, a Christian writes a piece about how they’ve come to the realization they would be better off away from a local church.
They still love Jesus, they maintain. In fact, they are leaving the church because they love Jesus so much.
A favorite from the archives:
My wife is reading a book right now about home organization. She is in her happy place. I’m much more okay with this one than I’ve been with some of the others she’s read, too; this is mostly because she is not deciding for me what is leaving the house. She’s dealing with her own accumulated stuff, and leaving it at that.
This is nice because she and I have very different ideas about what should stay and what should go—at least when it comes to my books. My criteria for whether or not to keep a book (which I shared here) make good sense to me, and actually do help me make real—and often difficult—decisions.