Sunday, August 24, 2008


This photo is called Southern Gothic #2 and was taken at a little country church just north of us. I love anything gothic;gothic in the traditional sense. I'm not a Goth who wears black all the time and paints my face white.  I mean Gothic architecture and novels.  Anyway.....

I didn't go to church today.  Darcie is into day 8 of a stomach virus, and boy, has it been rough.  She's lost over ten pounds!  She looks like a refugee.  She's upstairs watching what we call "Sunday videos" and I'm getting ready to read Revelation of Love by Julian of Norwich.  Yeah, I'll probably have it finished before everyone else gets back from church.  More like three month!  

I love mystical writing.  Julian of Norwich wrote this classic in the fourteenth century.  Thomas Merton said of it, "There can be no doubt that Julian is the greatest of the English mystics."  Years ago I read The  Cloud of Unknowing; author unknown.  I remember really liking it.  I need to read it again.  I also want to read Evelyn Underhill's classic Mysticism.  One of my favorites in this vein is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

People seem to see red when mysticism is mentioned.  I've heard it said that St. Paul was the first Christian mystic.  This is what the dictionary says about mysticism:  Any belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension but central to being and directly accessible by intuition.  I would amend the last few words by saying that it is directly accessible because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  This work is what makes it possible to have direct communion with God.  Nothing we can do in and of ourselves can make this union happen.  When Christians meditate, it is on what God has revealed about Himself in Holy Scripture and how this revelation works out in our individual and corporate lives.

The mystical part is that no one can understand how this happens.  As the dictionary says, "beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension".  The work of the Spirit is like the wind.  You can't see the wind blowing but you can see the effects it has on things.  Such is the work of the Spirit.

I don't think people should be scared of Christian mysticism.  I think they are leery of mysticism because of the prevalence of it in New Age Religion.  But just like in anything else in life, when we hear something that sends up a red flag, read, study, and determine why it's there. Could be we've been misinformed in the past.  Could be we're being misinformed in the present. We need to study to show ourselves approved unto God; rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 


Sian Draycott said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! We do know the Trey Holloways, who are infact moving back to the states this week. My husband is finishing off his Phd here too. I'm a teacher and enjoy your blog. Especially the stuff about home schooling, which is not very common here. Great photos too - wish I could visit your gallery - you're not an online gallery are you?

Laura A said...

I just wanted to let you know that I read Laurel's post and I'm praying for Darcie.

Also, I like your Gothic photo. I can't recall ever having seen a church like that in Georgia!

And I am dipping my toe into the writing of the mystics, slowly. I was interested in Lady Julian of Norwich early on because C.S. Lewis mentioned her. But as you mention, they are dense, not exactly the sort of books one scarfs down. So much the better.

Sian Draycott said...

So sorry to hear about your daughter and son in law - am praying for speedy recoveries.

Barbara said...

Yorkshsire is much more than moors. Caves, resevoirs, Stateley Homes, gardens,villages,rocks, waterfalls, dales and more.

Just been reading through a number of your posts. I love the dirt road lined with trees.
My first connection with Circadas was in New Jersey and they 'sang' so loud it was incredible. I was told tht they only come out of the ground every seven years. Then I taped the sound of circadas in North Carolina as we do not have them in this country.
I have many books on the various mystics and all that you mention.
I love them and we can learn so much from them.