Bernard McGinn, the foremost contemporary scholar in the field, defines Christian mysticism as “the consciousness of and reaction to what can be described as the direct or immediate presence of God” (The Foundations Of Mysticism, 1999). One of the chief characteristics of the mystic is his or her love affair with God, experienced in large part as a yearning or longing. The Song of Songs in the Hebrew scriptures is a favorite book of mystics because it expresses this longing so beautifully. Another characteristic is the love of silence.
The following sermon about mysticism may be helpful to those who do not have much familiarity with the concept.
The articles below were written after my sabbatical in 1998 in which I was searching for mystical influences amongst early Baptist ancestors.
Baptist Devotional Treasure (.docx)
Baptist Devotional Treasure (.pdf)
Here are additional links to several blog postings: