For many people, the word mysticism conjures up occult, secretive rituals held after midnight in some dark cave. But true mysticism isn’t at all sinister or secretive, claims Growing into God: A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Mysticism author John Mabry, a United Church of Christ minister. In fact, he teaches, mysticism is at the heart of an authentic Christian life. It is nothing more and nothing less than the pursuit - and enjoyment - of union with God, which is the goal of all Christian spirituality. In Growing into God, Mabry “de-mystifies” mysticism, providing a friendly and accessible entry point to some of the teachings, practices and experiences of the Christian mystical tradition.
Mabry’s great passion is to bring theology to everyday life by explaining complex ideas in everyday language that anyone can understand and find useful, and his matter-of-fact, pragmatic approach makes this beginner’s guide to Christian mysticism accessible and easy-to-follow. Mabry explores the classic mystical journey, which begins with the awakening of a unitive consciousness that experiences everything as divine and interconnected. The journey continues with purgation, in which we empty ourselves of illusion; illumination, in which we begin to see God in all things and all things in God; and, finally, union, in which we marry our lives with God’s life, thereby bringing help, comfort and healing to the world.
Along the way, and with an entertaining teacher’s clarity, Mabry recounts the stories of many Christian mystics in a simple way and aptly relates them to modern times. He also enriches each chapter with questions and answers to simplify points, as well as experiential practices to help listeners embark upon the mystical journey themselves. In Growing into God, listeners will learn the discipline of growing the soul into God - shedding illusory identities, deepening prayer, seeing God in all things and acting as Christ in the world.