On Christian Mysticism

I’ve been teaching on female mystics at a friend’s church, and will do so in April at my church. I came across a quote on mysticism by Bernard McGinn in his introduction on his edited volume, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism. New York, Random House, 2006.



Here’s his definition:

Mysticism is a part or element of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, consciousness of, and the effect of what the mystics themselves have described as a direct and transformative presence of God. (xiv)

He emphasizes consciousness over experience because consciousness suggests new ways of knowing, being, and doing, as a result of a direct encounter with the presence of God. Further, the test of a mystic is whether they truly live out this consciousness.

Hildegard von Bingen. Source.

This definition made me think of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. If an encounter with God results in a transformed consciousness, shouldn’t we all be mystics?

Just a thought.






Author: Kate Hanch

I like to laugh, study theology, the church, & Missouri sports. Sister, daughter, wife, Baptist, Christian feminist, friend, minister, PhD student in theology, wanderlust.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s