I cannot count the number of times I have, in reading someone or listening to someone, thought to myself: that is a spirituality that is closer to gnosticism than it is to the biblical faith. That is one reason I like Edith Humphrey’s Ecstasy and Intimacy.
How incarnational is your spirituality? Do you struggle to see concrete, embodied deeds and behaviors as spiritual? Or, do you tend to see “mystical” and “spiritual” as private, intense, inner experiences? Where are you seeing a growing gnosticism (or dualism)?
Humphrey reminds us that the earliest understanding of “mystical” was to a “reality concealed by surface appearances but … potentially manifest to all Christians” (13) and more often than not found in communion with others. Hence, Eucharist, the Story of God’s people, and Scripture form spirituality.
The operative expression for this chp, one I think Edith could have used more often, can be found in the bold faced words: “Christian spirituality is the study and experience of what happens when the Holy Spirit meets the human spirit” and “that meeting-place between spirit and Spirit, that holy tryst, finds its example par excellence — indeed, its prototype and its cause — in Jesus, the God-Man” (17).
Genuine Christian spirituality is Incarnation and therefore incarnational. Her words: “Out of God’s ecstasy comes divine-human intimacy” (19).
Edith provides a nice NT summary of the Deity of Son and Spirit and then explores the interconnectedness of Spirit with spirit.