We’re recording a mini-series

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We’re recording a mini-series on Open and Relational Theology with the plan to publish in November. Season 4 will take the podcast to the end of the year. We’ll be taking a break from recording and publishing while we work on two “next seasons.” The one includes a number of guests who are ‘off the map’ when it comes to cultivating and nurturing community. This will take some time to organise and we really want to up our production game. This will likely be our Season 6. I believe this to be an incredibly valuable season and one that will be of interest to anyone interested in cultivating community. The second series we’re working on will likely be Season 5. This season will consist largely of conversations between Tim and Steve and will really dive into the experience of God and the question of intimacy with God.

Thanks to everyone joining us on this journey as guests, listeners, and conversation partners.

Podcast – season one episodes

Podcast – Season one

An outline of the episodes in season one of the podcast of the urban mystic.

In Season One of the podcast of the urban mystic Tim introduces some ideas Then Tim and Steve dive into conversation with each other and explore their deconstruction of the doing church paradigm.

Below is a list of episodes and a short note about them:

  • Episode 01: Introducing Urban Mystic, Definitions and Caveats (April 11 2020). Here we introduce and explore the relationship of and differentiation between spirituality, religion and mysticism within our capacity to relate to ideas, causes, objects, processes, institutions and persons. This is the podcast to follow if you’re interested in a post-religious relational pursuit of God rooted in experience. Listen here.
  • Episode 02: The horizon and the transcendent (April 27 2020). In this episode we explore how practical language enables us go about changing our experience. Here the idea of the horizon is explored along with the meaning of the transcendent. Listen here.
  • Episode 03 – From religious institutions to what comes after (May 2 2020). In this episode Tim is joined by Steve and they share a somewhat focused yet meandering conversation around the transition from institutional religion to what may come after. Listen here.
  • Episode 04: Worldviews and problems that arise with religion, spirituality and mysticism (May 18 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve discuss worldviews and some problems of translation and interpretation that arise across worldviews. Listen here.
  • Episode 05: The problem of God (May 25 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve explore the interaction between human beings and spiritual beings. This phenomenon is central to the three great monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and near-universally present in primal cultures and our present world. Head on over to urbanmystic.blog for a mindmap summarising the phenomenon. Listen here.
  • Episode 06: Our own experiences – Part 1 (June 5 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve share some of their own mystical experiences. This evidences how down to earth such experience is and how well it can integrate into daily life. This is Part 1 of 2. Listen here.
  • Episode 07: Our own experiences – Part 2 (June 12 2020). This is the second episode of the two part conversation where Tim and Steve share their own personal or mystical experiences. These are normal experiences that can be pursued, cultivated, and shared. This is a refreshing alternative to the notion of faith as somehow disconnected from daily life and relationships. Listen here.
  • Episode 08: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 1 (June 19 2020). In this episode Tim puts forward a model enabling us to understand personal mystical experience while respecting the diversity of the phenomena. This is part 1 of a 3 or 4 part conversation. If you’d like to see the diagrams provided click here. Listen here.
  • Episode 09: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 2 (June 27 2020). In this episode Tim puts forward a model enabling us to understand personal mystical experience while respecting the diversity of the phenomena. This is part 2 of a 3 or 4 part conversation.  Listen here.
  • Episode 10: Emerging caveats (July 5 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve briefly discuss some emerging caveats. These are by way of answering some of the questions we’ve been fielding offline. Listen here.
  • Episode 11: Understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 3 (July 23 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve continue the conversation around the model of personal mystical experience. This is part 3 of a 4 part conversation.  Listen here.
  • Episode 12: understanding personal mystical experiences – Part 4 (August 3 2020). In this episode Tim and Steve continue the conversation around the model of personal mystical experience. This is part 4 of a 4 part conversation. Here the focus is on distinguishing relational engagement with God from faith as the emporer’s new clothes. Listen here.

Deconstructing calling and spirituality

In episode 6 we deconstruct the notion of a calling and in episode 7 we deconstruct spirituality. This is a conversation between Steve Carter, my cohost, and myself. It is split into two parts. It was inspired by our conversations with Christopher Harrison and Dion Forster in Part 1 and Part 2. It was such a privilege to hear their stories and get to know them.

The first kind of deconstruction represented on the podcast of the urban mystic relates to the professional career in the ministry. Our first guest, Christopher Harrison, deconstructed his own career in ministry and now works as a missional coach enabling others to develop a broader, more creative and relevant approach to doing ministry. Our second guest, Dr. Dion Forster, likewise deconstructed his career in ministry and now serves as an academic for the church. Both conversations are richly layered with their experience in life and work.

Deconstructing with Dion Forster

Our guest for episode 3 and episode 4 is an academic for the church who holds two doctoral degrees – a PhD in Systematic Theology and a second PhD in New Testament Studies and Empirical Theology. He is the former Dean of John Wesley College, the seminary of the Methodist Church in South Africa. Dion now serves on the full time faculty of Stellenbosch University, as the Departmental Chair of the discipline of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, the Director of the Beyers Naude Centre for Public Theology, and as an Associate Professor in Systematic Theology and Ethics. 

His recent books are entitled “The (im)possibility of forgiveness?”, “Between Capital and Cathedral: Essays on Church and State relationships” (available here), “African public theology” (available here), and “Reconciliation, forgiveness and violence: biblical, pastoral and ethical perspectices” (available here). You can find out all about Dr. Dion Forster on http://dionforster.com/.

A snappy photo of Dion 🙂

Deconstructing with Christopher Harrison

Our guest for episode 1 is a retired Methodist Minister who now works as Missions Coordinator supporting churches to establish new forms of church for our changing culture and a missional coach enabling people to find new ways to grow disciples to make disciples. 

He is the director of Fresh Bread Ministries, Director of MyChurchIT (www.mychurchit.org), a minister in the Methodist Church of South Africa, an associate missionary with One Challenge Africa (www.ocafrica.net), a Mission Enabler with Fresh Africa (www.freshafrica.org.za) and a part-time lecturer in Church Planting in Contemporary Context with the Department of Religious Studies in the Faculty of Theology in the University of Pretoria.

Find out more about Christopher Harrison at https://www.facebook.com/freshbreadministriessouthafrica/.

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.

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.