Friday, February 17, 2012

Blue Collar Mysticism

Fr. Dale Matson

This book is written as an encouragement and comfort to those individuals who have been blessed to hear the still small voice of God (1st Kings 19:11-13). This is the story of Mysticism, Mystics as seekers of God and me because it is my story too. To have a mystical experience does not make one a mystic any more than having a seizure makes one an epileptic. It is really a lifetime of experiences that add up to and distinguish a mystic from others. I also believe that mystics lead both a contemplative and productive life. They are not involved in quietism. As a Christian, I believe the path of the seeker on this journey of sanctification must be conducted within the safe confines of the historic church. To stray from that path is a dangerous tangent. Mysticism is a part of that journey to God, it is not the journey itself. Mystical experiences are occasional sovereign gifts of God to the mystic and a byproduct of the search for God. The more we depend on the righteousness of Christ as our righteousness, the less we focus on obtaining our own righteousness by climbing some spiritual ladder.
I do not believe that one chooses to be a mystic nor do I believe that identifying oneself in this way increases one’s credibility with those who do not see themselves as mystics. This may be why the Anglican layperson Evelyn Underhill never discussed mysticism as someone on the inside yet I believe her insightful writings on the topic betray the fact that she should be included in this group. Are mystic’s special people? Are they the saints and holy people of the church?  One characteristic of mystics is humility. I do not believe that the canonized mystics of the church generally saw themselves as saints. St. Paul, the most famous of the Christian mystics saw himself as “chief of sinners.” (1st Timothy 1:15)

This book is as much a personal story as it is a difficult attempt to communicate a mystical journey that is now in its seventh decade for me. I have attempted to offer citations within the text to credit the ideas of others and for the reader that may wish to read further on a particular area. This is not intended to be a research book but a narrative description of the mystical experience in general and my own experiences in particular as examples. For those interested in the general topic of mysticism, I do not recommend this book since this book is limited to Christian mysticism.

The photograph on the cover of this book is of a much younger Dale Matson grading fill on a vacant lot in winter in1980. At that time I was a Journeyman Plumber, Soil Tester and Heavy Equipment Operator working for a general contractor in Southeastern Wisconsin. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. There is something rather bleak and basic yet very real about the photograph. At heart I am still blue collar.
  “And now, Father, send us out to do the work You have given us to do, to love and serve You as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” (Book of Common Prayer, Holy Eucharist II, p.366)
Fr. Dale Matson
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul 2012


Dale Matson said...

Blue Collar Mysticism is currently available in Kindle Version
and will be available in paperback in about a week.

soma said...

Christian Mysticism is the knowledge of the soul, which knows health, happiness, and the best path for us to take because the knowledge comes from within the person it is guiding. It works through our intellect to expand our perceptions so we can evolve spiritually, grow stronger, and not do harm.

Dale Matson said...

While you refer to your quest as "Christian Mysticism", it appears from your website that you have departed the safe confines of the Christian Church.

Dale Matson said...

Blue Collar Mysticism is now available in paperback on Amazon.