Our Podcast – Season 2

We’re working on our podcast for season 2 and are recording and editing all the sessions ahead of launching the series. This helps us create a coherent series and also up the production standards.

In season 2 we’re speaking to a bunch of people who’ve been in and left professional ministry. We explore their initial experience of God and journey into ministry. This follows on to their journey out of ministry and into their thoughts, into their deconstruction of the doing church paradigm centered on the institution of the church.

Reliability of personal mystical experiences – Part 4

This post is in support of the Episode 12 Understanding personal mystical experiences Part 4 on our podcast. There I referred to a research project I did doing church. Below is the data:

Time spent in worship is the musical component primarily consisting of praise and worship with a little bit of prayer and commenatry.

Time spent in worship

Time spent in miscellaneous activities includes all the community related stuff such as tithing and a second preach on tithing, sacraments, marketing, report back, news and announcements, etc..

Time spent in miscellaneous activities

Time spent on the message is literally time spend preaching. This is, paradigmatically and practically, the focus of church services. The main event is the preaching and teaching in whichever form it is given.

Time spent sharing the message

Time spent as ministry time is specifically understood as the activity of tangible and experiential meeting with God. Out of the selection of churches, only one actually included this.

Time spent as ministry time

This breaks down in some handy graphics as shared below.

Visually priorities when doing church

Understanding personal mystical experience – Part 1

This post is in support of Understanding personal mystical experience Part 1 on our podcast. In the session I put forward a model of such experience. This covers a broad range of experiences that share similarities, allowing for an explanatory model.

In seeking to understand the experience we recognise a distinction between the way in which people experience the presence and activity of spiritual beings. There is an interplay between our consciousness and unconsciousness on one side. Here the individual is fully present and participating whether in a waking dream or sleeping vision. John Klimo speaks of this as open channelling. On the other end of the extreme, the individual is completely checked out and some-one/-thing else is in the driving seat of their body. Klimo speaks of this as closed channelling. In the first diagram we model two poles: the conscious and unconscious and, being present and being replaced.

Diagram 1: Open and closed channelling

Here we model the interplay between the experience as conscious and unconscious. Yet this includes intermediary spiritual beings who self-identify and lay claim to representing Godde and to a spiritual being self-identify as Godde .

Diagram 2: Self-revealing spiritual beings and un-/consciousness


Klimo, J. 1998. Channeling: Investigations on receiving information from paranormal sources. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California.

The problem of God

This post goes together with S01E05 The problem of God at urbanmystic.podbean.com.

One of the key conversations we regularly share is that of the problem of God. This is not as classically conceived as the problem of God’s power, goodness, and the reality of evil. It is instead conceived as a problem of experiénce, as confirmed and validated only in and through experience as the pursuit of relational engagement with God. Here the notion of experiénce includes experimentation and relational engagement.

Here we begin with the recognition that our urban environment, which includes our religion and spirituality, is not about the experience of God. Yet it is within our urban desert, which serves as a rich environment for experiencing God, that we need to pursue and engage God. But how do we go about doing that? This is problematic as people are raised to believe on a God by faith and yet faith is not tied to experience while being strongly disconnected therefrom. And so, as many religions and their claims about God, we are not able to solve the problem through classical arguments as though there is somehow a proof for God in the historical roots and institutionalized traditions of religions. The religions make the problem of God a tremendously diverse and complex issue resulting in the-idea-of God as varied, nuanced, and not easily answered. The problem of God is not something we can meaningful solve apart from God’s availability in Person. How then do we understand the experience of God? In Part 1 we explore this as a broader phenomenon present in primal religions, contemporary spiritualism, and the three great monotheisms or Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

A common phenomenon

Exploring the Transcendent: our inner state-place

In the second episode of our podcast (link) we introduced the notion of the horizon coupled with the Transcendent. Anyone and everyone who has delved into ‘religious, spiritual and mystical experience‘ and ‘experience deemed religious, spiritual and mystical‘ (the difference is not just semantics but technically complex) understands that these are entirely natural experiences taking place within people in relation to the Transcendent. Here the horizon can be recognized as simultaneously enfolding everyone and everything in the outer world while also intersecting within the inner world of each and every individual and therewith every-one throughout past, present and future. The horizon encompasses space-time and intersects every-one, every-where and every-when.

Our podcast and the focus of this blog

A few weeks ago we published our first podcast (link) followed quickly by our second (third) and now our third (link). The first two had me flying solo to introduce Urban Mystic and the Transcendent. The third included a guest, Steve Carter, and we picked a conversation up from those first two podcasts. Turns out there’s a world of difference between blogging, podcasting and vlogging. I’ve not hit a natural flow when writing on the blog. This is largely because I’m not a natural writer. I believe the podcast is more of natural medium for exploring the key conversations I’m interested in. Moving forward I will invest more time in the podcast and publish there regularly. This blog will continue with occasional posts supporting what’s published there.

Our first Podcast is up!

Screenshot from urbanmystic.podbean.com

We have launched our podcast (finally, here). In the first episode we introduce Urban Mystic and dive right in with some caveats and definitions. This series is a deconstruction of faith along with an exploration of spirituality, religion and mysticism. If you’re interested in what lies after religion and in a relationship with God apart from religions as they’ve been on the past then this is the podcast for you.

In this first episode we begin our exploration of the problem of God. As people were capable of relating to, or having a relationship with, everything from ideas to objects to persons. This is very important when focusing on people’s experience of and relationship with God. It’s particularly important when recognizing that two people standing in the same place can see the world in entirely different ways, so when several people say they have a relationship with God there’s a world of difference between relating to the-idea-of God, to the God-of-faith as institutionalized God through objects and institutions, and to relating to the Person who is God.

Living in the village

I met with one of the world’s forerunners concerning mysticism last week. Krüger is the author of Along Edges, Sounding Unsound, Metatheism, and Signposts to Silence. They’re seriously good books and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are also incredibly challenging, so consider yourself forewarned.

While speaking to Krüger, he dropped a number of gems. One of them relates to the usual tension between (1) trying to establish something (like plant a church) and (2) withdrawing to live as a hermit (like the hermits and ascetics). Yet there is another option that isn’t often explored, which is that of (3) living in the village.

Busy season!

I completed my first draft of my M.Th. in Christian Spirituality over the weekend and am working through final edits toward submission. With my total focus on this I’m out of the posting to blog loop. I’ll be back posting next week with news of my first book 🙂