I walk the path of the mystic. Mystic traditions have always fascinated me, and more than that, enabled me to deal with the daily struggles of my multiple disabilities. My Tai Chi practice is essentially a mystic tradition of Taoism, I learned many mystic practices in Wicca, and I’ve found great joy in Christian mystic traditions, such as the Ignation spiritual exercises and various other forms of Christian contemplative prayer.
Yet curiously, I have found the church as a whole to largely be resistant to mystic traditions. Some simply aren’t interested, some are openly disdainful, but regardless there is some resistant. In the disdainful camp, I am also aware of some purported theories of more drastic miracles clearly decreasing with time–yet I find no Scriptural support for such a notion, quite the opposite in fact.
Christ invests the Holy Spirit in his disciples; after his death, resurrection, and ascension the Holy Spirit is sent forth, and many of the letters following in the New Testament speak of the Holy Spirit and view it as absolutely essential to being Christian. Even the Revelation of Saint John, which would be most likely to depict such a drop off in drastic miracles if one holds the view that it depicts the end times, reads positively like fantasy and indeed, the problem seems to be overabundance or miracles such that it’s difficult to sort out the false teachers, rather than a lack of them altogether.
So why the resistance to mystical traditions? My theory, not backed by any expertise admittedly, is that the Enlightenment had something to do with it, and the prizing of reasons to the exclusion of all else (a positive plague by the time of the mid-20th century in the social sciences) that resulted of that initial emphasis on reason as a way of knowing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against reason as a way of knowing–but I DO have a problem with reason as the EXCLUSIVE way of knowing. Mystic traditions give us a way to get guidance from the source, God Himself, through the person of the Holy Spirit. That, in itself is immensely valuable–but when I read Scripture that seems to be only one possible use of power given through the Holy Spirit.
I think it is a shame that the Pentecostal church is really the only denomination that sees the possibility for more on the whole, as the Pentecostal church generally skews theologically and socially conservative which I don’t agree with. Yet my years of exploring other mystic traditions before exploring the Christian ones have led me to see great promise in the Scriptural depictions of works of power. Christ exhorts his disciples again and again to do amazing acts, and the Book of Acts depicts them using that power–even Paul’s letters hint at the exercise of such power. And Christian acts of power are notable in that all they require is the gift of the Holy Spirit and belief that such acts are possible (as opposed to Neopagan traditions which generally include material resources to help the mind focus and draw “like” energies). Now, I definitely don’t purport to have all the answers about such acts, as I haven’t ever accomplished something on the order of what Scripture depicts as possible–but I do believe that such acts are possible, and that there must be a way to perform them, and my dream is that more would be open to the idea of such things.