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.
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5 thoughts on “Living in the village”
I must confess that mystics I know couldn’t give a flying f**** about the church as an institution. They nay love the architecture, art and music but their relationship is direct with whoever or whatever they consider to be ultimate reality. They care nothing for the dull dogma of any religion and prefer a direct relationship with “reality”. Thus, in my experience if those I know, no such conflict ir anxiety exists.
You’ll probably have to read a bit further and with an eye for exploring their relationship to the institutional church. Though not as clear in this post my reference is to a broader paradigm and incorporates Christianity as succeeding Christendom. Bray of example: Theresa of Avila was deeply embedded with the institutional church, same with Brother Lawrence, St Ignatius, then there’s those not commonly recognized as mystics but who very much are like John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney. In wrestling with their experience and language they evidence a similar conjunction and disjunction I’ve elaborated about in earlier posts. With the awakenings, renewals and revivals as expressions of mysticism there’s much room for conversation about the degree to which the church enables and then neutered mysticism. There’s a need for respectful conversation as mystics, mystics-to-be, and believers.
I have a distaste for institutions in general and the church is bloated civil service. A self perpetuating and self serving waste of time to a large extent. JC lived as a semi vagrant, and perhaps therefore gives a better example than the monstrosity that became the institutionalised church. I’m not saying this to be contraversial; as a society we waste too much time and energy on useless committees, meetings and beauracracies. If you have a direct connection to whatever it is you worship all such offficialdom becomes undesirable and an unnecessary waste of scarce resources which would be better used in feeding the poor than maintaining expensive buildings and pointless beauracracies. But that is a very personal view. I can well understand that many might not share that view.
I’ve often argue that doing church means doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Yet many seeking an authentic engagement with God get derailed into institutions. They’re often forced into choosing between religions and conscripted into churches. And the paradigm is strong in drawing people back to it following genuine engagement with God. Many of the posts on this blog are intended to enable conversation conversation around this for those wrestling with the conjunction and disjunction. It’s to help with the process and finding the language and way forward.
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My ideal mystic is the likes if the mendicant monk
As was Francis of Assisi before his order was forced to get bricked in. As the gypsies would say. Who has any need for bloated Cardinals.
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