In my Monday post, I mused that the “secret knowledge” vibe expounded by some conservative Christians opens them to the charge of gnosticism. Some commenters mentioned that the other primary characteristic of gnosticism is a strict, platonic dualism. This, too, I think is descriptive of some conservatives in their conception of the body-spirit split, their lack of interest in creation care, etc.
In that post, I also linked to another blogger who questioned my Christianity. His point is common among my hyper-conservative critics: they think that my books on prayer and spirituality display mystical tendencies that are somehow anti-Christian. Contra that point, I think commenter Albert the Abstainer makes a good point:
Exclusive mysticism is ego-deception. Genuine mysticism is a process
of shedding the deceptions of the ego in the fires of longing created
by the Divine. If it is hidden, it is hidden in plain sight, in the
contemplation of the love that draws, in the silent spaces where that
quiet voice is deafening Presence.
Genuine mysticism crosses the boundaries of cultural and religious
traditions, and is not housed in frames of secrecy. Reading the poetry
of the mystics from different traditions, many sighs of recognition
erupt within me. When the Beloved is present, all wrappings, veils and
containers lay scattered on the floor.
True Christian mysticism is not in search of some secret revelation from God to the individual. It is, instead, a contemplative Christian practice is meant to clear the table of all the distractions of life so that we who wish to can simply rest in God’s presence. There’s no magic involved.