AnonymousDeleted UserOctober 5, 2020 at 9:53 pm
I’ve spent a lot of time in Pentecostal and charismatic spaces, so I was taught forms of contemplative prayer since childhood. It’s the form of prayer I’m most comfortable with and feel most connected to God through. I found many parallels between my experience and Barbara Holmes’ descriptions of contemplative practices in the black church. In the churches I grew up in, there was emphasis on being still before God, hosting God’s shekinah presence, and the engaging in communal mystic experiences. These days, I’m curious about how to make sense of contemplative experiences, both of others’ and my own. As Holmes says, the “contemplative moment is a spiritual event that kisses the cognitive but will not be enslaved to its rigidities” (3). This makes contemplative moments so difficult to talk about, and to parse out where the voice of God ends and our own interpretations of the experience begin. I have seen people interpret mystic experiences in a way that defends abuse, political persuasions, or questionable life decisions. I wonder if there is a way to develop a hermeneutic for “reading” contemplative experiences that still honors the mystic quality of the experience?