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Begin with Yes

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CAC faculty member Dr. Barbara Holmes is scholar of African American spirituality and mysticism.

Embracing mystery invites us to participate more fully in One Reality.

May 25th, 2022

Whatever word you use to describe your higher power — God, Goddess, Universe, Yahweh, Love, the Way — is inevitably interwoven with threads of mystery. When we put our energy toward trying to explain God, we have less energy to be present with God — and each other.  

A clip art image of a blue goblet.

I spend much time in contemplation and I am intrigued by how God’s Spirit moves within our human experience. It is a mystery I do not fully understand, but I find when I dwell in the liminal space there is a connection with the divine.  

My sister recently passed. Her life was dominated by addiction, but God’s grace was with her through her life and at the end, when her children were able to gather around her bed for reconciliation and closure.

—Ed N., CAC Community Member

Embracing Mystery

Our view of God as separate has harmed our relationship to each other, money, creation, and even our own bodies. When we embrace mystery, we embrace living together inside the only story that matters — God’s Great Story.  

In her book Race and the Cosmos, CAC faculty member Barbara Holmes explores our interconnectedness through the mystery of the cosmos: 

Watch: Speaking in this video, Barbara Holmes asks, “What does it mean to be a cosmic being, an integral part of a universe that is rife with mystery and potential?” 

Seeing One Reality

In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we say yes to mystery? The Alternative Orthodoxy invites us to see God and all creation as One Reality, allowing what seems to be separate to become one. 

In Another Name for Every Thing Richard Rohr, Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson discuss Thomas Merton’s mystical experience at Fourth and Walnut, uncovering a path through mystery to Oneness.

If the foundational image that we have for reality is community, then there’s only one reality. There’s no distinction between sacred and profane. My calling to participate and act in healing is whatever relationality is being broken.

So, where in this Great One Reality is relationality being abused? Where is that power over a paradigm coming in and trying to destroy, or oppress, or hurt? There I have the moral responsibility to act in resistance to that because I have a responsibility to this One Great Reality to continue to perpetuate the One Great Reality. 

—Brie Stoner, Another Name for Every Thing, Season 4, Episode 4

Reflect With Us

How does your cosmic connectedness invite you to embrace mystery? How does mystery empower you to repair and rebuild broken relationality? Share your reflection with us.


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