Mysticism is defined as an experience that is both spiritual and physical. There are pratices, texts and philosophies about mysticism in every faith as people have attempted to become closer to God or a spiritual being through thought and meditiation.
The Detroit Interfaith Leadership Council’s Fall 2018 lecture series: Exploring Religious Landscapes: Mysticism begins with exploring the lives and concepts of the Christian mystics, from the earliest Desert Aesthetics who lived as monks and hermits in the deserts of the ancient Middle East. The Reverend Dr. Charles Packer will offer the first lecture on Christian Mysticism 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Pine Hill Congregational Church, 4160 Middlebelt Road in West Bloomfield. The series continues with clergy and other relgious scholars speaking at various houses of worship in monthly lectures between September and December.
“In each one of our religious traditions, there is a mystical movement,” said Rev. Packer, who serves as IFLC’s Community Building Chairman. “The mystics, whether they be prophets, saints, gurus or sufis, had something in common. The mystics tended to be experiential in nature. There is something that engages the whole person, both spiritually and physically, that they can reach deeply into their inner selves. Mysticism relies on the individual to be especially sensitive or mature in their spirituality while still being anchored to their original, core traditions.”
In his lecture, Packer will discuss the earliest Christian mystics, notably the desert fathers and mothers rooted in the aesthetic tradition of monks, and then the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages such as Saint Catherine of Sienna and Theresa of Abila.
“These are individuals in the tradtion who through their writings demonstrated a deep devotion to their faith and shared their mystical deep spiritual experiences and visions that were so powerful they ended up impacting the Church by founding new orders, but were misunderstood by their contemporaries in their own time,” said Rev. Packer.
Each lecture will include reading materials. A $20 donation is suggested per lecture.