The Idea of Christian Spirituality

To be a Christian is to be a mystic.

I read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller over Christmas break and found the book contemplative and beautiful. You should read it. I found myself dog-earring pages, taking notes, and thoroughly enjoying the mental journey Miller takes in his book.

But this quote stuck out particularly to me, because it makes me let out a deep breath and realize everything is OK.

“To be a Christian is to be a mystic.” I like that.

To be a Christian is to believe in something unbelievable. Either you accept the reality of God or you don’t. You can’t prove it. You can’t quantify it. Yet you can believe in God’s validity and worth.

That’s why it bothers me when Christians laugh at nonbelievers or think they are arrogant or stupid for not believing in God. Why on earth should they believe in God? The whole idea of a being that we somehow know about, yet have never seen — the idea that we choose to pattern our lives after a book that’s thousands of years old — is ludicrous. Some people may come to God through persuasion or argumentation, but head-knowledge very often does not equate soul-knowledge and I know I could not be persuaded by theory.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to argue the Bible into making sense. Because I’m in college and that’s what you do in college. I need to do that, I think, because a religion too fragile to be poked at and prodded out onto the examination table is not worth having. Faith should be examined and really, deeply, understood.

But it’s tiring. It’s hard to sift through the religious dogma, the Christian-ese, and Western culture that seeps into my beliefs and find the Jesus that’s underneath. It’s exhausting to ask — why do I really believe that this thing or that thing is true?

And that’s why it’s good for me to be reminded every Christian is a mystic. Every Christian is connected to something that is a mystery utterly beyond themselves. It’s liberating.

Even if I define every minutia of my faith, listing what I believe in bullet pointed detail, I am still attached to the supernatural. My God is still beyond my finite understanding.

Don’t misunderstand me: I don’t like when Christians try to cop-out from truly learning about their faith or defending it because they consider it all “a mystery.” But, there is a great comfort in knowing that I don’t have to have figured out every aspect of God for Him to still exist.

I am a mystic. I believe in the unbelievable and that’s a beautiful thing.


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