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Reclaiming Mystery

Bosco Peters links to a story about a fascinating character, the Wizard of New Zealand. Since New Zealand is the stunt double for Middle Earth, it really shouldn’t surprise me that they have their very own “non-fictional, non-commercial, wizard” whose mission in life is to conduct “a largely solo attempt to re-enchant the world, making use of [his] training as an academic sociologist and psychologist.”

Peters elaborates a bit on the importance of mystery for and in the church. His comments are worth a thorough reading, but I’ll simply share a few paragraphs to give you the gist:

Fundamentalists, antitheists, and the insipid are three natural results of the disenchantment.

Fundamentalists reject the enchantment of our spiritual world, accepting instead a flat rationalistic literalism. Antitheists are the shadow side of fundamentalists. Like fundamentalists, they also do not go beyond a flat rationalistic literalism. Rather than accepting the flat literalism as the fundamentalists do, antitheists reject it. For fundamentalists God is scary. For antitheists God is silly.

The third category, that I here call the insipid, is that category that one meets so often in churches: led by clergy who, if they have training at all – it consists in a university degree in the dismembering of the scriptures. These clergy have little to no liturgical study and training. Sacraments have been desiccated to things that occur solely in one’s head. Bells, smells, and symbols are reduced to a couple of candles on a table (if you are lucky). Vesture is degraded to what the majority of Christian history would regard essentially as underwear. They hold to the last vestiges of the outward form of godliness but deny its power.




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