Searching for an Apocalyptic Mysticism

Following up on yesterday's post about mystical experiences.

As I've been writing about more and more over the last two years, I believe it's necessary to re-enchant our faith in this secular, disenchanted age. I think mystical experiences with God provide not just the energy and vibrancy for a living, active faith, but evidence for faith itself.

But a worry I have with all this is mysticism devolving into something vague and sentimental, generic spiritual uplift.

For example, I think nature mysticism and an sacramental ontology can bleed into each other in good ways, but also in bad.

A sacramental ontology tells us, in the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, that "the world is charged with the grandeur of God." So we wander out into nature to experience God in the trees, oceans and mountains.

But there is more to mysticism than encountering God in beautiful places. I don't want mystical encounters with God to reduce to nature mysticism, as important as that might be given a sacramental ontology.

So what I want to search for might be described as an apocalyptic mysticism, a mysticism that interrupts us with a vision of the crucified Christ. A mysticism that has an ethical, interpersonal, and cruciform aspect to it. Think of Peter's vision of unclean animals on the rooftop and Paul's vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus.

This mysticism is not a sentimental, uplifting walk on the beach. This is a mysticism that reveals the kingdom of God to us, a kingdom that comes to us in strange, startling, and unexpected ways, in ugly guises and places. This mysticism is a bit of a shock and it demands a reorientation of life.

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