Questions from the 2017 Conference ‘Exploring the mystery of mysticism’

Delegates to the 2017 Conference ‘Exploring the mystery of mysticism’ raised many questions some of which were discussed during  the conference. However lack of time meant many questions could not be tackled. Some of those questions are posed here with the hope that readers might be inspired to add their perspectives:

Mysticism in Christianity?

  • Why does the Christian church not teach about Jesus of Nazareth’s mystical relationship with God? Surely it must have been this which made him able to lead the life and death he led?
  • Has politics and the administration of power influenced the teaching of the Christian Church?
  • In Christian mystical experience what is the role of the priest and/or psychiatrist/physician?
  • Is there any evidence that Christ followed a formal Jewish mystical tradition?
  • Why does the Christian Church not teach about Jesus of Nazareth’s mystical experience with God?

Role of drugs?

  • What might be the role of drugs and other chemical substances in the experiences of mystics such as Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp and Joan of Arc? How does this relate, if at all, to the use of these substances in other religions? Do chemicals create illusions or open doors?

What is the mystical experience?

  • How do you deal with the temptation of feeling spiritually superior after mystical experience and allow the experience to transform your lives in the deepest possible way?
  • How does mysticism affect your experience today?
  • Is creativity an aspect of mysticism?
  • What is the difference between mysticism and spirituality?
  • Is aesthetic experience mystical?
  • What is meant by ultimate reality?
  • Are women more spiritual than men, differently spiritual or just the same?

Mystical Experience and Quakers

  • Rex Ambler observed that there was no evidence that early friends had read of the mystical experiences of others. Rufus Jones however points out that the wording of Fox’s great openings is in many cases very similar to the words used by Jacob Boehme, the German mystic of the previous century. Might Fox possibly have read these? Is the originality of George Fox exaggerated?
  • What was the nature of the “temptation” George Fox sat with and overcame? Was it physical or religious?
  • Can we talk about how Quakers concentrate more on the Light than on voices?


2 thoughts on “Questions from the 2017 Conference ‘Exploring the mystery of mysticism’

  1. I am new to Quaker and Friends meeting House, but this topic interests me greatly. I have studied various forms of these questions all my life. Has there been any further work? Information on the topic?
    Kind Thanks,

  2. You may be interested in the proceedings for this conference. They will be published soon and will be available for purchase via this website.


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