Reading the Mystics as Spiritual Formation

I acquired a passion for the mystics when I was studying at Princeton Seminary and attended a favorite professor’s final course. Dr. Froehlich was in his last semester of teaching and was given the opportunity
to teach anything he wanted. He chose “The Mystics.” I am grateful to have taken this course because it provided a balance to many of my other more intellectually oriented courses.

These spiritual theologians were writing about devotion, their walk and life in God. For me, it was
water to parched land to hear of their diverse experiences of relating to and coming to know
God. With today’s growing interest in spirituality, there is a ripe opportunity to reclaim our Christian tradition. The voices of the mystics are vitally relevant and provoke rich dialogue not only about spiritual growth and the way to God, but also about theology—one’s image of and relationship to God.

Reading the mystics is not always an easy task. One of the challenges is that their language is different from ours, and their images and metaphors for God are often unfamiliar. However, I believe there is immense value in exposing ourselves to these varied ways  of looking at, thinking through, and engaging with God.

Heather Parkinson-Webb:
Heather Parkinson-Webb holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s degree in counseling from Colorado Christian University, and a doctor of ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a licensed professional counselor, spiritual director, and ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is currently the chaplain and director of spiritual care for Greenwich Chaplaincy Services. Heather is the author of Redeeming Eve: Finding Hope Beyond the Struggles of Life (2002) and Small Group Leadership as Spiritual Direction (2005).

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