The Value of Intuitive Wisdom and Religious Renewal

While acknowledging the need for ecumenism both as Interfaith and Intrafaith, Bede Griffiths offers a very sobering analysis: all of it is for nought if the emphasis is on doctrine and systems. Unless the church “abandons the search for doctrinal formulas and legal systems, and recovers the intuitive wisdom of the Bible and of ancient man, there is little hope of success” in finding a unity within itself and toward other traditions.

Waiting for the dawn of insight. Photo by Luke Leung on Unsplash.

The key to renewing the church today is “the intuitive wisdom of the Bible and of ancient man.” This is a challenge to all the churches, all faiths, all doctrines. Do you see “intuitive wisdom” affecting your faith tradition and efforts at ecumenism?  What can we do about incorporating more of the mystical and intuitive traditions learned from Deep Ecumenism?  

Another word for “intuitive wisdom” is mysticism.  Bede is calling for a renewed interest in and practice of the mystical.  We need to find mystical wisdom in our ancestors—but also in ourselves, and to create educational programs that allow us to do both.  

It is here that the encounter with Eastern thought with its intuitive basis, is crucial. Christianity cannot grow as a religion today, unless it abandons its Western culture with its rational understanding of the East. 

Mystical wisdom requires abandoning Patriarchal consciousness.  The suppression of women in the Church is but one of the many signs of this masculine domination. . . . Reason has to be “married” to intuition; it has to learn to surrender itself for the deeper intuitions of the spirit. These intuitions come, as we have seen, from the presence of the Spirit in the depths of the soul. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 245f.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Standing in the midst of knowing and unknowing. Photo by Pepe Reyes on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

How important are the mystics to your existence in the world?  Have you made friends with the mystic in yourself?

Recommended Reading

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

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2 thoughts on “The Value of Intuitive Wisdom and Religious Renewal”

  1. Avatar

    Mystics really are pioneers in surrendering to the mystery, to letting themselves go, descending into the unknown… and in doing so they discover wisdom truths that assist humanity into evolving more fully into the greater measure of the continuous unfolding of our becoming, coming into being.

    Mystics are waymakers whom have often been misunderstood and rejected, most often perceived and labeled as mentally unstable, prone to phycotic breakdowns and deemed heretical. Throughout history, their spiritual and mystical writings were often hidden, buried, banned and burned, and so were the Mystics themselves.

    This has greatly impacted the much needed mentoring within the mystical traditions in particular within the Christian faith, as well as other areas such as psychology and the sciences.

    I recently watched a documentary about Carl Jung and his Red Book, which was his personal journal of his journey into the mystical process. As I was watching this, there was a deep sense of sadness and heartfelt compassion that arose within me for him and many of the other mystics throughout history and still to this day, whom have suffered so much, due to the lack of mentorship within our spiritual traditions, as well as other areas of learning of ourselves and the world; due to the oppression and suppression of patriarchal and hierarchical ignorance, arrogance and fear based mentality regarding the process of surrendering in trust to the mystery of the unknown.

    I also sense within myself a deep gratitude to the Mystics of today, like Mathew Fox and many others, whom are recovering what’s left, that which has been hidden and buried of the Mystics sacred writings, reinterpreting, restoring and reviving this lost wisdom that mentors us through our own mystical experiences and the transformative process of surrendering into this mystery of the unknown, in an ecumenical way, that joins together in unity what mankind attempted to tear asunder.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette. After saying, “Mystics really are pioneers in surrendering to the mystery, to letting themselves go, descending into the unknown…” you end your comment by speaking of your gratitude for the the Mystics today, such as Matthew and others–such as Fr. Bede. I also like your words, “surrendering into this mystery of the unknown, in an ecumenical way, that joins together in unity what mankind attempted to tear asunder”–these words recall the words of Jesus, “What God has joined let no one tear asunder.” Amen.

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