A Christian Mystic, Part 3

Such a loaded and misunderstood term…Christian Mystic…people, especially Christian people heard the term “mystic” and immediately assume that it is an oxymoron…and most highly improper…a humanistic and New Age philosophies…it summons up images of a cult and
heathenism…so did my being in a cult skew my view of how I view God…I will explain and let you be the judge…

“Mysticism, according to its historical and psychological definitions, is the direct intuition or experience of God; and a mystic is a person who has, to a greater or less degree, such a direct experience — one whose religion and life are centered, not merely on an accepted belief or practice, but on that which the person regards as first hand personal knowledge.”  -Evelyn Underhill

My experiences within the cult, created an overwhelming desire to personally know the true God and my Creator…not just to swallow whatever religious dogma or a denomination biased definition of the what scripture turned out to be…the people within the cult I was raised just swallowed whatever they were spoon fed, believing that if the words came from the mouth of the leader..it was a direct communication from God…

It has been and continues to be a wonderful great and stirring daily adventure as I seek with love, humility and heartfelt yearning to know the true and living God…God cannot be captured by thought or logic…it is
trusting that God speaks to the heart of each person in a way and time of God’s choosing.

“The story of the Christian mystics is one of an all-consuming, passionate love affair between human beings and God. It speaks of the yearning, a burning desire for the contemplation and presence of the divine… This yearning is a candle by the fire of divine love itself, which moves the mystics in their search and leads him, often arduous journeys, to discover and proclaimed the all-encompassing love of God for humankind.”  – Ursula King

My journey has been long and arduous…traversing many religions and spiritual practices..but comes back to the basic Christian belief that
“Christian Mystic” is a person who wholly accepts the lordship of Jesus through humility and finds the biblical teachings, life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to present for them, the only way to grow in relationship with God.

I find that truth in the scriptures, but I have also found paths to knowing God more fully in readings of Church Fathers, Orthodox priests and other Christians…truth from many different Christian persuasions and teachers draw me…for they have traveled their own path in finding God…perhaps it is the explorer in me…

  C. S. Lewis came up with the term…  His definition of Christian Mysticism is simple: “the direct experience of God, immediate as a taste or color.”…and it is so true for me…God is felt in the most “real” of ways…as we feel the wind as it gently caresses our cheeks…we do not see the wind, yet feel the effects…there is a knowledge of the wind in the effects that are seen and felt…yet, it is more than that to me…there is a “knowing”…a deep heart and soul knowing of the reality of God…


“Mystic” is related to the New Testament Word, mysterion, which means “secret” or “mystery.”  Christianity, while built on rational faith and life in the real world, is supra-rational. Bruce Demarest, Professor of Theology at Denver Seminary, says, “Great Christian realities, such as intimacy with God, spiritual passion, and prayer, must be framed in the mind and experienced in the heart. Christian mysticism, simply put, is the believers direct experience of God in the heart.” (Satisfy Your Soul, 1999)

This quote from an article by Dr. Brad Strait said is the best…” For me, in essence, being a Christian Mystic means seeking the Center, Christ, more than the boundaries (who is in or out). It means living each moment expectantly focused on Jesus, open and broken, and waiting for him to guide and direct. It means concretely walking the journey toward Him, with Him, and in Him, too. It means I am resigned to not knowing all of the answers about God and faith. It recognizes that much of God’s work in our lives is a mystery. Richmond Graduate University Theology Professor David Benner concludes, “A mystic is simply a person who seeks, above all else, to know God in love. Mystics are, therefore, much more defined by their longing than by their experience. 

And that is how I want to live my life…to daily seek to know God’s love and be the conduit of that love to the world …

We Interrupt this Program…

Before I continue the story of my life…I wanted to insert a beautiful thread of my current life…my life has not been an easy one, although I have been radically blessed in many ways…and I desire always to be grateful for even the dark threads…the pain and the sorrow…the deep loneliness…

It took where I have been to create who I am today…wounds that are touched by God’s love have become beautiful…I envision myself as a intriguing stained glass mosaic…many broken pieces assembled by the Master’s hand…where when His light shines through all of my cracked and defective pieces…the world can see the exquisiteness of His Love..

I have always carried in my heart…a promise…that enchanting colorful threads of beauty, joy and happiness would be added to my tapestry my life to create an exquisite pattern…I had always felt that they would be given to me during this chapter in my life…there were dreams and premonitions from others in my life over 25 years ago…and I have carried the beautiful gem of hope deep in the recesses of my heart…

In March 8, 2018, I received an email from a Patrick on a PenPal site…
“Hi I’m Patrick from South Africa, I visit the US pretty much every year and am a fan. I see you are sideways, I can maybe help with that 🙂 …and so a long distance friendship started to bud…after all what woman could resist a man wanting to fix her being sideways (which he meant…my photo was sideways 🙂 )…

Over my lifetime…I have tried many dating sites…and that is a series of several blogs of interesting dialog…but in the hundreds of men whose profiles I had reviewed…my heart had not been touched…the PenPal site…I had just been looking for a friend…someone to correspond with…maybe to practice my Spanish with…who would know that what would transpire over the following months…

For me…in the beginning…my heart remained closed to anything of substance…after all he was over 8, 678 miles away…what were the chances…but I so enjoyed the exchanging of photographs…with no expectations…except maybe a new friend…my Alaska photos for his brother and sister…his holiday house on the beach…Seal Bay…one of my first replies was one of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller…”Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”…and the adventure began…

This was also in that particular response

A Christian Mystic, Part 1

A Christian Mystic…I can feel the hair stand up on the back of the necks of most “religious” people who label themselves as “Christians”….but before everyone gets all hot and bothered..let me explain how I define the term…after all…most things are subjective…

I will start at the beginning…I grew up in what I consider a “cult”…and then here again..there can be a discussion on what is considered a cult…the term itself is ambiguous… but here is the best explanation (from a personal point of view) that I found..by Louis West and Michael Langone…they defined it as a “Totalist” Cult…but this is a very accurate and  definitive explanation of how I grew up….

A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.[…]

Totalist cults are likely to exhibit three elements to varying degrees:

(1) excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment to the identity and leadership of the group by the members,

(2) exploitative manipulation of members, and

(3) harm or the danger of harm.

– Source: Cultism: A Conference for Scholars-Policy Makers, Cultic Studies Journal, 1986, Volume 3, Number 1, pages 85-96 3

Personal experience of the above definition…there was an undying excessive devotion to the woman who founded the church..she was (she died this past summer) venerated…worshiped…so much so that my parents hung a large portrait of this woman  in a place of honor in their home..her teachings were the only material that was and is still read…my parents moved from my place of birth in Wisconsin..uprooting and leaving family to become a part of this congregation…

*Now there were circumstances that made my Father more susceptible to the teachings of this woman…but that would lead to a totally different discussion as to what makes some more vulnerable to becoming involved in a “cult”…

The majority of the congregation sacrificed their own needs and necessities of life to support this woman..who lived in beautiful and majestic homes..traveled extensively..and created a network of 1500  affiliated organizations…

Every move…every decision that we made in our daily lives was made within the perimeters of this woman’s teaching…there were no outside influences allowed…growing up..we had no TV..the only radio that we were allowed to listen to was Christian music..we were not allowed to socialize outside of the church..meaning that I could not attend any school functions or have any friendships outside of the church…but then, most of our free time was within the church walls…

Any major decision..such as who to marry, when to buy a house…was brought before a small group of hand picked people that would then listen to your quandary and then put it to “The Witness”..which was a unified “OM NAMAH SIVAYA”…which has been said to be based on the name of the Lord Shiva..but I digress…

What is your opinion..would you consider this a cult..have you experienced religious manipulation and how did you free yourself….I know that it can be difficult to discuss..but it can be a door to freedom..the is a Loving God…and you are loved..always and forever…

Champagne Bubbles

 

 

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..Did you know that champagne was an accidental discovery around approximately 1700 AD by Dom Perignon..a monk who was making wine for his brothers in the monastery…he forgot to complete the fermentation process before he bottling and corking the wine..

During the cold winter months..the fermentation process was dormant..when spring arrived and the temperatures rose..the wine started fermenting again..the carbon dioxide was trapped in the bottles and started exploding…he opened a bottle still intact to taste it..and supposedly exclaimed..“Come quickly! I’m drinking stars!”..

I want to drink the stars….How often do we settle for drinking a somewhat “decent” wine instead of going through the arduous task of waiting to become the “champagne” of life..we don’t like to wait..we are such an impatient breed..we don’t want to experience the difficult and painful places..and often settle for becoming and experiencing the commonplace…most often missing out on the most magnificent and extraordinary of times..if we had only waited…

As the fermentation proceeds, yeast cells die and after several months...how many times have I felt that I was dying..the fermentation is complete..and just when I thought that I would rise…I was back in the dark again..However, the Champagne continues to age in the cool cellar for several more years resulting in a toasty, yeasty characteristic. During this aging period, the yeast cells split open and literally spill their guts into the solution imparting complex, yeasty flavors to the Champagne…how many times have you felt your guts being spilled in grief and pain..feeling like the pain would never end… The best and most expensive Champagne is aged for five or more years…but I have just becoming the best that I can be..and you are too..

The Champagne bottle is kept upside down while the neck is frozen in an ice-salt bath. This procedure results in the formation of a plug of frozen wine containing the dead yeast cells…our refinement is still not finished..the dross of our life is removed…the impurities.. The bottle cap is then removed and the pressure of the carbon dioxide gas in the bottle forces the plug of frozen wine out leaving behind clear Champagne. 

Our hearts become purified…we can taste the stars..and become the stars for the world to taste and see…we become magical…we are the magic…

..So just remember..when you are in the darkest of cellars in your life…you are just becoming refined…when you feel upside down in a ice-salt bath..you are becoming an exquisite, miraculous,  one-of-a-kind  bubbly star in our universe…

Be patient with the process…

27 Champagne Quotes for Your Next Party

Sip the Wine

“Drink freely the wine life offers you and don’t worry how much you spill.”
― Marty Rubin

Today I attended a wine tasting for Charity in our small city..it is always a wonderful way to enjoy the fruit of the local wineries…there is the dry and the sweet..the blackberry, blueberry and strawberry..I came away with a beautiful Cranberry Crush..a wine bursting with with sweet and tart flavors and aromas from a local winery in the area…

I did not leave drunk, but with that wonderful loose and liquid feeling…for it made me feel wild and free..as Jodi Picoult wrote…”made her feel that a hummingbird had taken the place of her heart.”

This blog is not meant to be anything serious…but a celebration of life itself..creating a good wine is a passion and an art..just as with life itself…life and with wine should at times create a sensuous feeling of indulgence…luxury, bliss, erotic-tinged…

Ernest Hemingway..“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”

Galileo..“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

I hover over the expensive Scotch and then the Armagnac, but finally settle on a glass of rich red claret. I put it near my nose and nearly pass out. It smells of old houses and aged wood and dark secrets, but also of hard, hot sunshine through ancient shutters and long, wicked afternoons in a four-poster bed. It’s not a wine, it’s a life, right there in the glass.”
― Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

And this… I had to share..it is from a Blog from 2012, but it is hilarious yet with a hint of truth at the same time…winefolly.com/…/7-reasons-why-wine-is-like-women..some interesting facts about wine..

7 Reasons Why Wine is like Women

1. So Many To Choose From

2. The Good Ones Are Taken

3. Costs You an Arm and a Leg

4. Some Age More Gracefully Than Others

5. Prefer a Safe Stable Home

6. Exotics Are Intimidating But Domestics Are Less Exciting

7. Tastes Evolve as You Grow Up..and the bonus is …Good For Your Health

Enjoy Life today and if so inclined..a glass of wine..whatever type or flavor you prefer..it is all to be enjoyed and savored…as is life…

Overwork & Self Care

Self Care..the simplest definition that I found was “Attitudes and actions that contribute to happiness, balance and well being.  Although, normally it is women that have an issue with putting the needs of others to the point of burnout, it is not a gender specific problem…for I have seen many men that experience burnout…

We all have a tank(s) of energy..a physical, emotional, and mental tanks that we use on a daily basis…optimally, we refill out tanks daily by nourishing our body with premium fuel, exercising and being in nature…such things as journaling, meditating, reading talking to friends for renewed mental energy..emotionally we are renewed with giving and receiving love, being grateful, finding a spiritual connection…there are many ways to replenish one;s energy and each will be unique to you..

 

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This week was a 60+ workweek..not fun and definitely exhausting in both body, mind and soul. When I was physically exhausted, I used my mental energy to push past the physical exhaustion, and then kept on going…till I had nothing left..

I was told by someone that I expected too much of myself…probably true.  I had both of my compadres out on vacation, and I was the only one left to man the boat..and there was no way that I was going to allow it to sink on my watch..being the perfectionistic  person that I am…I couldn’t stand to leave, without at least being at a manageable place to start the next morning..and I thought that upper management might appreciate the work that I was doing to help the company…

My lessons from this week and the last couple of months have been interesting…and I could probably write several blogs just on my own personal lessons, but the one that I re-learned..yes, unfortunately, I often have to learn the lesson and take the test several times before I take the lesson to heart…

I grew up being taught that..Hard work, buckling down, and shouldering through were strong expectations and values…and were typically rewarded in some way…more often it lends itself to chronic physical ailments and mental and emotional breakdowns…

Self Care is not a luxury…it is extremely necessary… we can sometimes feel very selfish in saying “no” and taking care of ourselves..we feel that we may become narcissistic …but the very opposite is true…

Self care is more than just a selfish act..for self care is a cycle where everyone in your circle and beyond benefits..when you take care of yourself, you empower and teach others to take care of themselves…you are able to fill your heart with love, joy and gratitude..which can flow into the lives of others that we come into contact with..and how much the world needs that beautiful and loving energy

Be loving to yourself this week..for you are beautifully loved…always and forever

 

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Life Changing Decisions

There are many decisions in our lives that are inconsequential and/or minor in the flow of an average day..what to wear..how to cut our hair..what side of the bed to get up on..yet, there are many that will change the trajectory of our lives…

I have made many such decisions within my life..some glorious and beautiful..and some that lead down dark and tortuous paths that took years to find my way back to the light from..

I have been working 50 – 60 hours per week for the last month or so..and my exhausted mind is in a heap on the floor of my consciousness..but there still an unrest..an unease, if you wish..for there are decisions that eventually must be made…fortunately they do not need to be made today.

Decisions are the downfall of many an INFJ..and will often send me down a spiral of vacillating thoughts..each with its own tempting offer..often seemingly attractive options…so how do I move from that miry conundrum..

I have been in a job that was sent to me at a time that I need to rest and recover…physically, spiritually, and mentally…a time of relative calm..it definitely has been where I needed to be…and there have been many beautiful and wonderful blessings…but is it time to leave…

But when is it time to move on..sometimes..how much is the reluctance to leave the place of comfort, just fear..I have been an adventurer all my life and I was never afraid..and I will never be happy or contented with the mundane..

I have known for awhile…that there is change “abrewing”..and that I would be moving into another adventure..but is the time now or is this just a interesting option that really holds no future…my story continues…another thread to weave..but is it a color that I want to take up…

 

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