To think that that mystics are engaged in a series of private, transcendent encounters with God betrays a superficial understanding, says Bernard McGinn. Christian mystics, in particular, are not breakaway contemplatives who find their own way toGod.
The seething energies of spirituality are evident everywhere. That is good. What is not so good is that spirituality is also prone to lack of clarity, making it difficult to carry on a conversation about it.
On the flight from Johannesburg to Luanda, Angola, the airplane is packed. Half the passengers are oil workers returning for another four- or five-week stint on the wells off the coast. The other half are relief workers, coming to feed, house and cure more than a million Angolans who are starving in the wake of the country’s recently concluded civil war.
The Bush administration’s grand design for foreign policy, spelled out last September in a document titled “The National Security Strategy,” declares that the U.S. will exercise the responsibilities of the dominant power in international politics in order to resist terrorism and rogue states and to shape a global ethos of human dignity and prosperity.