In Larry Crabb’s book, Becoming a True Spiritual Community, he quotes A. W. Tozer.
“The word “mystic” refers to that personal spiritual experience common to the saints of Bible times and well known to multitudes of persons in the post-Biblical era. I refer to the evangelical mystic who has been brought by the gospel into intimate fellowship with the Godhead. His theology is no less and no more than is taught in the Christian Scriptures. He differs from the ordinary orthodox Christian only because he experiences his faith down in the depths of his sentient being while the other does not. He is quietly, deeply, and sometimes almost ecstatically aware of the Presence of God in his own nature and in the world around him. His religious experience is something elemental, as old as time and the creation. It is immediate acquaintance with God by union with the Eternal Son. It is to know that which passes knowledge.”
Crabb contrasts this mysticism with “managers”,
“The road to spiritual community has now reached a fork. We must go one way or another, and we have come to see that we can no longer walk the management path. It doesn’t work. It quenches the Spirit and leaves us handling conflicted community with congeniality, cooperation, consolation, counseling, or conformity. Yet there is no greater determination in our fallen hearts than to manage things. We long to reduce mystery to manageable categories. To turn for help to experts who can figure out what’s wrong with us and apply the appropriate remedy. To come up with a system to follow that does not require profound spiritual depth.”
I have come to the conclusion that I, and I believe too many of my fellow believers, have sold ourselves short in our pursuit of faith. Tozer and Crabb are grappling with a depth of spiritual life that is beyond our imagination. I use the word “grappling’ because they are trying to describe a relationship with God and each other that words struggle to describe. I for one, am listening and reading intently because I yearn for a community like that, and also, I firmly believe that the malaise of faith in the West can only be countered by a Spirit filled people whose relationship with God and each other is a witness that cuts through the hardened hearts and minds of our age.