NEW COURSE – We Must Be Mystics: Owen Barfield & Christianity

A six week online course with Dr Mark Vernon
6th March 2022 to 10th April 2022
Sunday evenings (6pm-7.30pm, UK-time)
£10 per session/£60 total

CS Lewis called Owen Barfield his “second friend”: Barfield was the one who challenged him and seeded his own best ideas, an experience of encountering Barfield with which JRR Tolkien agreed. So who was this other member of the famous Inklings and why is he so significant for the future of Christianity today?

The truth must be felt as much as analysed, Barfield argued, in a comprehension of divine life he called “participation”. Over 6 weeks, we will explore how Barfield remakes Christianity for the spiritually sceptic and ecclesiastically weary. Unlike his famous friends, he argued that his time would come. Barfield knew that our age, now, is one in which a direct encounter with God is sought not only by mystical elites but many, many people. Moreover, the wellspring of our life, and the inner meaning of Christianity, can be known.

The course is based upon Mark’s book, A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling and the Evolution of Consciousness (John Hunt Publishing). The gatherings will include presentations from Mark as well as time for questions and discussion, aimed at both introducing and deepening an understanding of Barfield’s perception of Christianity.

“Mark is one of Britain’s leading spiritual voices. His sensitive work has touched many lives and reconnected our culture to ancient wisdom.” Jules Evans

“Mark Vernon offers a forensic diagnosis of the Church’s ills and invites us to recover an authentic and life-giving Christianity,” Angela Tilby

For more information as well as booking email Mark –

Week 1 – 6th March
The Emergence of Monotheism
The back story that led up to the birth of Christianity is crucial for appreciating its significance. In this session, we will consider the history of the ancient Israelites and how a new experience of God began to unfold, giving birth to the Bible and a consciousness capable of experiencing the unity of God.

Week 2 – 13th March
The Genius of Athens
Alongside the Hebrew past, the ancient Greek impulse also prepared the ground for the coming of Christianity. Barfield realised that before the divine I AM can be known, a coherent sense of personal individuality must be established. This is the great gift in the evolution of consciousness investigated in this week.

Week 3 – 20th March
Jesus and the Secret Kingdom
The time was ready and Jesus lived his earthly life. But what did he teach? What did people see in him? Barfield argued Jesus did not preach a new morality or a bridging of the gap between humanity and God. Rather, he spoke in parables and performed miracles that opened eyes and ears to perceive God’s inner, intimate presence.

Week 4 – 27th March
Realising Christ Consciousness
The apostles, particularly Paul, wrestled to grasp the full significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. “The descent of God was the ascent of humanity,” was one summary, almost lost today, but it led to the flourishing of Christianity, particularly in its mystical forms – as well as its shadow, which we will learn from too.

Week 5 – 3rd April
The Meaning of Reform and Science
Barfield argued that human consciousness evolves in great cycles of alienation and return. About 500 years ago, the western world was convulsed by what we now call the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution and the Reformation. These movements set an agenda with which we still wrestle today.

Week 6 – 10th April
Christianity Today: We Must Be Mystics
In this final week, we will draw out the meaning of this great story and how Christianity can recover its former relevance and vitality because it is made anew for present times. It offers a way of participating in divine life not only in an age of crisis and technology, but also one of intense spiritual questing and pluralism.

For more information as well as booking email Mark –