“The Christian Mystic” Part IV

20170430_145845 DOCTOR STRANGE”. Another very popular good guy sorcerer. But before we get into that, I must say I have so enjoyed learning about the “Christian Mystic”. This has always been an arena I was aware of, but knew little about.

I’ve never been Catholic, and I’m always very careful of adopting anything Catholic because of practices I see as not always scriptural. Not that they have not done good things too, but I tread carefully. Actually, in some ways, this has actually helped my Catholic perspective.

I’ve had to purchase 3 books, so far, and also some Wikipedia research in order to gain light on this subject. Again, I have found an area I feel to tread carefully, but as long as you are careful, I’m finding some very interesting thought. Thoughts I myself have had for a long time. Thoughts I believe may have great value in our current time. So…starting in Part V we will begin to focus on the CM, and not so much these fictional characters, although they represent very real practices by people who are not fictional.

According to the Marvel Universe comics, Doctor Strange serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Strange was created during the silver age of comics to bring a different kind of character and themes of “mysticism” to Marvel Comics.

The character’s origin story relates that he was once a brilliant but ego driven surgeon. After a car accident renders his hands badly damaged, he searches the Earth for a way to repair them and eventually learns of the Ancient One. He becomes a student, (after some convincing), and becomes a practitioner of both the mystical arts as well as martial arts.

He rises very quickly in his new pursuit and eventually takes up residence in a mansion called the Sanctum Sanctorum, located in New York City, and takes on the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Once again I had to rewatch the movie to refresh my memory. The training he receives teaches him to draw on energy from other dimensions. This energy can then be used to make magic. Spells, magical weapons and devices, supernatural abilities, all these things are the world in which he now lives.

Originally he was a very egotistical and prideful man who did not believe in anything mystical. Science was his chosen faith, and he was a strong believer. But his path forces him this direction and leads to the breaking of pride and the gaining of humility, even though he still seems to do his own thing, break rules, if he deems it advantageous to the goals.

When the next big Avenger movie hits, the battle with Thanos, Doctor Strange will be a part of that battle, fighting for the saving of Earth and the human race. Personally I find Doctor Strange much more interesting than Harry Potter, but both still glamorize something our Bible has revealed as “dark”, not light. Therefore, even as a child when I was very into comic books, I read a couple of his and decided that even though I enjoyed them, they were not for me. This movie was the first time I’ve seen anything of Doctor Strange in a long time.

Unlike Harry Potter, who is an unfortunate child you feel sorry for and immediately want to like; Stephen Strange is this egotistical man who has everything you could want. Granted, perhaps he has earned what he has, but his self absorption makes us not want to like him. There is not a humble bone in his body. So when life suddenly breaks a bunch of his bones and sends him down a path of brokeness leading to humility, we kind of enjoy it.

Once again he proves his ability to rise to the top, but he is still not prepared to live a life of personal sacrifice. His abilities are needed to fight the darkness always threatening to overwhelm the world. This would require complete devotion to a higher cause and a selfless life. He struggles with such a choice. He does not want any part of it. But before the show is over, he becomes this person putting the welfare of others before his own. It appears to be a lonely existence, but a cross someone must bear.

It is easy to see the parallels of the fictional Doctor Strange to the same path and choices any person faces if they seek spirit rather than material. We can look at our own journey in Christ and find commonalities. The breaking of self…study of ancient writings…gaining of spiritual understandings and spiritual laws…such as God promotes humility and resists pride. We know our own training God has put us through over the years, but never forget, if you are a Christian, Doctor Strange is not promoting our God or the Book our God gave us.

He would not be one to pray. He might meditate, but if he prays who is he praying to? Some “being” of these other dimensions? And who is this being? Would he declare him to be Jesus Christ? Sadly, no. And if he did, then sorcery is a sin he would need to abandon if he wanted to learn the way of God, the way of true light.

I for one would like to encourage every Christian to consider their own Sanctum Sanctorum, in which they pray, pour over the ancient scriptures, and devote themselves to the one true God. It is my hope that as we look further into the Christian Mystic, that it will inspire us to do that very thing. I know some of you could write this subject yourself, because you already know and love this path we speak of. But in our current culture of running here and there, my gut tells me our Churches are full of people more concerned about worldly success, than learning the ways of a true disciple of Christ.

So be careful what you do with the many many “good witch” heroes flooding our major platforms these days. The Bible is not a book of spells. Don’t treat it as such. I fear many modern churches have fallen into what amounts to casting scriptural spells. The weapons of “our” warfare work in a much different way. Walk with Christ. Learn God’s ways. Be Holy Spirit trained.

Be aware of your surroundings and know what is going on. Jesus sent the Disciples out as sheep among wolves, but he also said be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. So what is this power that enables a sheep, a harmless dove, to accomplish great things while in a world of wolves? That’s our God. To know Him is to love Him. I look so forward to examining the Christian Mystic. Amen.

“The Christian Mystic” Part III

20171202_173614 So I rented and watched the last episode of Harry Potter last night. I’m one of those who basically watched the first movie, thought it was pretty silly, and then only saw pieces of others until the final episode, which I saw some time ago. So I needed a refresher, and I can see J.K. Rowlings was not kidding when she said, “My books are largely about death.” She also said it is the goal of every person with magic to seek immortality, and that we’re all frightened of death.

That last episode definitely was not a comedy, but dead serious about many things, especially death. She gave several views of death from different vantage points. Of course there is the totally evil Voldemort who wants to avoid death no matter what it takes. No matter what it cost others, he must be the one who lives.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, almost becomes Jesus Christ! Except for being nailed to a cross and suffering a slow death, he did. Our wizard hero realizes he must die in order for others to live. He comes to believe this is the only way to defeat Voldemort, and has to make this terrible decision of laying down your own life for the sake of others. This wizard who has fought so hard all this time, suddenly decides not to even put up a fight, but presents himself as a lamb for the sacrifice! Apparently, he even goes into death, or a coma, or something. But he has the choice of either going on into death, or coming back to life. (Sort of like a resurrection, but it didn’t take 3 days. Maybe 3 hours.)

In the process of all this, Rowlings presents some pretty heavy hitting contemplations on death. Many others die during this time too, and naturally, it bothers Potter that they died trying to keep him alive. He also has a rather deep conversation with the old schoolmaster while in that other dimension.

The point was also made that no one is really gone as long as they still live in your heart. They might even still be with you in their spirit form.

These are a few of the perspectives given in this very serious show where characters also fly through the air on broomsticks and have a wand battle that reminded me of a weird version of Star Wars. It is obvious Rowlings does not have anything new to add to our speculations about death. Hence, the fear of what might be on that other side. What if there is nothing? We don’t like that perspective and usually offer something different in our movies, which she did also. We tell our children “Grandpa is in a better place now.” We want to believe there is a heaven, but what if there does turn out to be a hell?

The Christian Mystic (CM) knows that immortality is not on this side of the River Jordan, but the other. If a magical person wants immortality then they must be willing to die. (Not that we really have a choice.) But how shall our immortality be spent? Who wants to live in an eternity of judgement? Not I.

The CM looks around at creation and sees a Creator. He examines the word of God and sees wisdom and prophecies beyond what is humanly possible. He studies the history of the nation Israel, who claim they had an encounter with God, and sees more evidence of something supernatural, because these people have such an unnatural track record on this planet, and continue so. He considers what would cause 12 Apostles to totally change their lives and be faithful unto death for that message, if they had not walked with something so convincing they could not deny. The CM looks at all these things and more, and then decides the evidence of the Bible is overwhelming, and wants to know more!

However, the Christian Mystic also looks within. He studies what his heart and conscience is telling him. He does not just feel the wind, but he hears the voice in the wind, and he knows. His faith leaps in acceptance of overwhelming evidence of a spirit world and a God who created all. He looks within and sees the monster, the evil in his own heart that would even murder your own Creator, and then he knows God’s mercy is his only hope. He enters that mercy like the prodigal son returning home, and he sets himself apart from the older brother who became consumed with hate and judgement. The Bible he has come to believe says to repent and call on Jesus, and so he does. He says, You are right God, and I’m so wrong. Please save me through your Son, Jesus. And he means every word he has said.

J.K. Rowlings has created a world in which the bad guy looks like a snake, has a pet snake, and talks snake language. It seems obvious where the source of his power must come from. But who or what is the source of power of all those fighting the bad guys? What makes these spells and incantations work so powerfully? So without any real explanation we glamorize sorcery to be something it is not, and label it as “fiction”. Well, at least that much is true. The way sorcery is presented in Harry Potter is pure fiction.

A Christian Mystic is a servant of God. As such, God works through him to affect this world in supernatural ways. He makes no claim to be anything himself. The power is not his, nor does he decide how it should be used. God does. In Potter’s world, these incantations somehow pull power out of the air, or from the good person, or from nature itself, or who knows what as I don’t know if it is ever really explained in any of the episodes. Please enlighten me if anyone out there knows. But we will look at Doctor Strange next. This is a new and upcoming Marvel superhero of the supernatural. He’s fun to watch, but what is the sermon he preaches about the other side? We shall see.

Harry Potter leaves us with plenty of questions and no real answers. Only the same speculations unbelieving man has offered for many centuries. Jesus came claiming he had seen the place we all are asking about, and he offered first hand answers. But only we can decide if Jesus was a madman? Or exactly what he claimed to be? The real thing. Christian Mystics all over the world seek his face and testify of a transformed life. They also speak of a three-fold path. Soon we will look at these things.

“The Christian Mystic”

indian lady (3) Is there such a thing as a Christian mystic? One dictionary definition gave me: “Mysticism” > the belief that direct knowledge of God or ultimate reality is attainable through immediate intuition or insight.

Upon more research I found it is a rather precise definition with a very broad application. It has been applied to any and all seekers of spirit, spiritual knowledge, supernatural, voice of God, religions, and etc.

A mystic is drawn to explore the spirit side of life in an effort to understand, apply, find answers, and solve spiritual mysteries. With the broad application of this word, “Mystic”, I believe we do have Christian mystics, and because of such broad application it is necessary to specify exactly what kind of mystic you are, if you are one.

Mystic could include any of the following terms: wizard, sorcerer, warlock, witch, Satanist, magician, and etc. But these would all be people drawing their power from Satan, and not God. For instance, when Moses was facing the magicians of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses threw down his staff and it became a snake. The magicians threw down their staffs and they became snakes also! (But not by the power of God.) They had another source, a dark source, and Moses’s snake ate the others.

I’m feeling led to go down this path because mystics, wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, the supernatural, are all very popular with Hollywood and this generation. We are seeing more and more of this stuff. I think it is a sign of our time, and the “seeds” of where we are going in our future harvest.

A mystic has a true hunger for spiritual things and a deeper knowledge. In that sense, I wish all Christians were mystics. Instead of being so caught up in the things of this world, and how to have success in the things of this world, a true mystic is more interested in the mysteries of God. I probably fall in the category of a Christian mystic. I’ve been this way most my life. I am fascinated with how to walk by faith and not by sight. A strong prayer life is one part of the answer. Mystics delve into prayer, and even fasting. They explore spiritual avenues.

So here we are in the day of Harry Potter and Doctor Strange. We also have good witches and white sorcery. (There is no such thing as white sorcery. It’s all dark, truth be told. The source of the power determines which side of the great divide it derives from.)

And how would the Matrix fit into all this? New Age mumbo gumbo. But truth is, we live in a matrix, just waiting to respond to faith. And it does. It happens all the time. The matrix is responding to the seeds we are sowing even now…whether seeds of witchcraft and sorcery, or seeds of God.

This is why all this is so dangerous, you know. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and that’s so true, because with a pen, “words” are written. Words put forth ideas people come to believe in. All of creation was spoken into existence from words and faith. We play with the very fabric of this universe as large platforms spew forth lies, hate, and manipulation.

So were going to look at this concept of the Christian mystic. Are they really drawn to a lot of flashy stage lights and shish boom bah? Not normally. Where are our mystics today? And what do they see coming? I would say John the Baptist was one type of mystic. Prophets are mystics.

When the Harry Potters of our future rise up to throw down their staffs and they become snakes; are we ready? This is our new subject for an episode or two. Let me know if you have an opinion in this. Do you like the idea of being a mystic? Does that appeal to you? If you’re too caught up in material things, you’re not likely to be a successful mystic.

So lets talk about Harry Potter, Doctor Strange, and any others who represent that ilk today. Is it all harmless fun? What do you think? We shall see.