July 31, 2004

Akiane Kramarik: postmodern mystic

ChristianityToday.com is reprinting an article from one of their print magazines on Akiane Kramarik. Akiane (pronounced ah-KEE-ah-nah) is a ten-year-old girl from Idaho who paints. Well, that's a bit of an understatement. She is a prodigy--perhaps the youngest person ever to have mastered one of art's most difficult forms, realism. (Akiane has a website here, though it's not complete yet.)

What makes her story fascinating is the source of her inspiration.
I wake up after I have had many dreams. I wake up and I pray, and then I see visions and I explain all those to my mom, and I say, "This is what I want to paint." [I know it's God speaking to me] because I can hear His voice. His voice is quiet and beautiful. He said, "You have to do this, and I'll help you." He said, "Now you can help people." I said, "Yes, I will." But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him.
All of this may sound strange to you, but Akiane is firmly within a very orthodox tradition in Christianity. Her story reminds me of Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Brigette of Sweden, three medieval mystics I studied at Oxford in a seminar called, "Mysticism and Spirituality in the Medieval Church," and led by Dr. Santha Bhattacharji.

As our Enlightenment-inspired fear and loathing of the unexplainable fades in history's rear-view mirror, will more Christian visionaries and mystics feel the freedom to make known what God is showing them? I hope so...I think.


At 9:48 PM, Blogger DesertPastor said...

Postmodernity's comfortability with mysticism and the unexplained will probably encourage the prophets in our midst to tell us more of what they're seeing and hearing and feeling. This raises a somewhat related question: how will pneumatics (i.e. people-of-the-Spirit)in the early 21st century be different/the same as those of the past?

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if those called "mystics" are merely experiencing that which is normal for those who take up their cross daily? I am fully aware of the numerous arguments against this, but I find none of them to be convincing. Rather, they serve as proof that they themselves know nothing of such things and attempt to comfort themselves with opinions that no one else does either. I note that those who are called mystics who are true followers of Christ do not label themselves as such while those who delve into mysticism seem to approve all "mystical" experiences. The gate truly is narrow, as is the path.

Matt 11:25-26
25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

26 "Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.


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