‘nough said

An anonymous blogger who calls himself “a peasant”  quoted my If… post in full yesterday on his blog Nuf Sed, and then added this gem of his own commentary:

I found working through these questions to be a valuable exercise today. And it’s an exercise very much like this that is leading me these days. Not setting myself up as a mystic, mind you. Too high range for me. And even if God gave me the grace of God’s Presence…I sure wouldn’t call myself a mystic! How awkward! ‘Mystic’ is a word that only other people — and very discerning ones — can affix to you, and preferably long after you’re dead. Calling oneself a ‘mystic’ is like laughing at one’s own jokes — it’s just a mistake.

That’s not only ‘nough said, it’s well said. Just the other day I had written my “don’t make the mistake of calling yourself a mystic” disclaimer for my book, and —at least for its first draft — I’m afraid it is rather bloated and verbose. How lovely to read the words of someone who can make that argument eloquently, elegantly and humorously in just a few well-chosen words.

Seven Books on Christianity and Nondualism
Three Video Clips: Speaking of Mysticism in Portland, OR
The Ethics of Sharing Mystical Knowledge: Meister Eckhart and the Cloud Author
A shout out to Evelyn Underhill and her wonderful book
  • Peter

    When we lived in Japan we made the mistake–only once!–of calling ourselves by the honorable epithet “-san” (as in Carl-san, Peter-san). We found out very quickly (by the howls of laughter and the half-hidden smirks) that in that culture the honorific titles (including even Mr.) are used only for other people.

    Same with calling oneself a ‘mystic.’ I guess it’s kind of like calling oneself a ‘prophet’ or an ‘apostle’ in most of today’s church settings: you may well BE a prophet or apostle (or mystic), or at least a saint with those tendencies or giftings, but to call oneself by one of these titles is most likely to be setting up a barrier where you were trying to build a bridge.

    I have to say that I am just Protestant enough NOT to include the term “saint” in this list of forbidden titles, since this term as applied to present-day living believers is so solidly Biblical and practical (and universal) and, I’m sure, not intended to be put on someone only long after they’re dead! But even here, it’s safer and healthier (and kinder) to use it for someone else rather than for myself.

    With love to all the saints,

  • http://fakeexpressionsoftheunkown.wordpress.com/ Andrew

    I would hate to try a tag myself. I’m sure that if I did, I would more than likely contridict myself shortly afterwards and have foolish regrets. I’m inspired to search by hearing where others have been. Maybe the closest label would be a something on the lines of nomadic.

  • Nick

    Me, too, Andrew. I’ve come to regard myself as a ‘roamin’ Catholic’. Wandering all over the neighborhood…and sometimes even out of town; but so far I’ve managed to find my way home each afternoon before dark.

  • http://www.sybilarchibald.com/blog/ painterofblue

    Yes, the term mystic shouldn’t be used in a bragging way. However if one truly is a mystic I think they would do themselves a disservice to deny it. Think of Hildegard of Bingen whom God struck down with illness because she would not share her mystical visions… The hallmark of a mystic is following God’s will even if, or as, the world laughs.