Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis

Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis

When I think about mystics I have to admit that C.S. Lewis isn’t the first person that comes to me. Rather I think about St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and, on some days, the Apostle John. C.S. Lewis, however, seems to have been a mystic even if he didn’t quite enjoy the term. In his book, Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C.S. Lewis, David C. Downing shifted through the books, essays, and letters of C.S. Lewis to reveal his mystical underpinnings. This, of course, begs the question of what is mysticism. The term “mystic” has fallen out of favor within American Christianity due to the rise of New Age religious beliefs and practices that swept across the USA in the 1970’s. Things were different in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with folks within the Christian faith having a strong interest in mysticism. Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) defined mysticism as “the direct intuition or experience of God” while William R. Inge (1860-1954) described it as “the experience of coming into immediate relation with higher Powers.” C.S. Lewis, who knew both Underhill and Inge, defined mysticism as a “direct experience of God, immediate as a taste or color.” Downing further unpacks the question of what is Christian mysticism in the first three chapters of his book. The first chapter looks at Christian mysticism in general before shifting to C.S. Lewis personal life in chapter two. The third chapter goes a bit deeper into defining mysticism by looking at the writings of the different Christian mystics Lewis read and loved. After laying the foundation about what Lewis...

A Motorcycle Ride, Two Garage Sales, and a Wild Goose

In preparation for Easter, the church I attend has been asking folks share stories of Jesus encounters that changed the trajectory of their life. While there has been several landmark moments in my life, the story of how my wife and I ended up in Sweet, Idaho, helping start the Sweet Vineyard Christian Fellowship was the one that stands out the most. Having recorded the video, I have decided to share it here with you all....
Character & Gifting: Lessons From Our Eastern Brethren

Character & Gifting: Lessons From Our Eastern Brethren

Born into an Eastern Orthodox family on Cyprus, Kyriacos C. Markides adopted an agnostic view of God and spirituality in the 1970’s while at college in the USA. After years of scientific materialism, he begin a journey that took him through Hindu spirituality and transcendental meditation before returning to Eastern Orthodoxy. Being a professor of sociology (University of Maine), Markides documented and published various segments of his spiritual journey including his chats with various healers and mystics on the edges of Eastern Orthodoxy. The focus on this book, The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality, is Markides discovery of Eastern Orthodox spirituality as seen through a monastic lens. The book starts off with Markides seeking to visit the monks living on Mount Athos in Greece. Christian monks and hermits have lived on this mountain for over 1,800 years with the single focus of pursuing God. The importance of this mountain in Eastern Orthodoxy can be seen through the  nickname the “Holy Mountain.” Sadly, Markides was unable to visit Mount Athos at the beginning of the book. Rather his journey took him back to Cyprus where a former monk of the mountain recently became the abbot of a monastery. Throughout the rest of the book, Markides and his monastic guide, Father Maximos, constantly refer back to Mount Athos and the traditions of the mountain. The book ends with Markides finally reaching Mount Athos only to find that the monks had taken a vow of silence during the time period he had chosen to visit. Hence the name of the book. The concepts recorded within the pages of the book...
It’s Here!!

It’s Here!!

I’m happy to announce that my book, The Here and Not Yet: What is Kingdom Theology and Why Does it Matter?, has officially been released!! Book Description Life is messy and rarely simple. There are times of victory when things seem to be going really well and times of struggle when things seem to be falling apart. The way we process these ups and downs of life is extremely important as it sets the tone for everything in our lives. Kingdom Theology provides a worldview that allows us to embrace the tension in which we live. It is a worldview based upon the central message of Jesus that the kingdom of God has come, is coming, will be coming soon, and is delayed. Written in an easy to read conversational tone, Joshua Hopping’s book, The Here and Not Yet, seeks to develop a scriptural framework for Kingdom Theology before exploring how this worldview changes the way we live. In holding the tensions of life together, we are better able to respond to the challenges of life while following the lead of our king and savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Where to buy the book? The physical book can be ordered through Amazon.com. Those with an e-reader can purchased the book through Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Scribd, and Inktera. Endorsements  “I am…keen to see the baton passed to the next generation. Therefore, when a writer much younger than I comes along and shows not only a wide reading on the subject, but a passion to articulate the kingdom to his generation, I can only be delighted.” –Dr. Derek Morphew,...
The Mystery, the Way and the Journey

The Mystery, the Way and the Journey

The writing bug has hit me hard this week… so I took yesterday off work and spent the morning at a local coffee shop writing. The project I’m working on is centered around three concepts: the mystery, the way and the journey.  Split into three parts with three chapters each, it will explore some of my thoughts on how to live between the here and not yet. The project builds upon the Kingdom Theology of my first book (The Here and Not Yet) while pulling in elements of spiritual formation, post-modernism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Below is a quick snippet from the first chapter about the three parts of the book: So how do we set aside our fears and fully embrace Jesus? How do we move beyond a two-dimensional Jesus to a fully body Jesus who is active around us? I would suggest that the way forward centers on embracing three underlying concepts that will shift the way in which we see Jesus and the world around us. The first concept is that of the Mystery. That is to say, that we must embrace the tension of knowing and not-knowing. It is a worldview that understands and is comfortable with never fully knowing or understanding Jesus while still passionately seeking him. The second concept is that of the Way. For years modern Christianity has taught us that following Jesus is centered on a single salvation prayer that saves the soul from eternal separation from God. While there is truth in this view, I propose that following Jesus is more than just a single prayer. Rather it is a way of life that...