Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lighthouse Trails

Want to know what The Purpose Driven Life/Church, the Alpha Program, The Message, Brother Lawrence, the Mennonite Church, The Emerging Church, and Focus on the Family have in common?

Answer: They are all denounced as promoters and/or proponents of heretical "contemplative spirituality", according to the group at this website.

Before you dismiss these folks as radical nuts, spend a while on the site, as I did. I'm still trying to figure out which side of the fruitcake they're eating from. I could use some insight from my more spiritually mature brothers and sisters-in-arms on this one.

What say you?

Sir Chuck of the Conspiracy Theory of the Day

10 comments:

  1. I would tend to aggree that having meditation seminars with Buddhist monks would be heresy. It would also be idolatry by the way.
    The problem is in drawing lines. Many cannot understand that there is a sharp difference between accepting and even respecting people of another religion, and accepting their belief.
    The idea of religious ecumenism is as much a statement that a person is indifferent to religion as it is a statement that he is tolerant toward adherants of a differant religion. Does anyone think that way about politics? Imagine an ecumenical campaign rally between Bush supporters and Kerry suporters! The reason people think this can be done in religion is because they understand religion less and care less about it.
    This idea that all religions are equal is irrational as we know that they are not equal. Very few things of any kind are. The idea that we need to pretend to be the same to interact is "dumbing down" of what is required of us. A good gentleman should be able to live in the same world with people he dissaggrees with-should even be able to debate with them-without hating. The fact is I would respect a member of another religion who takes it seriously, more then someone who does things like that. Buddhists are different in this regard as such behavior does not conflict with traditional Buddhism-which means by the way that Christians who take part in such things are making a concession that is disproportionate to the Buddhists nonconcession.
    Cooperating with people of other religions about things we do agree on is one thing. Almost no religion is completely wrong, just as no religion but Christianity is ultimatly right. However Buddhist meditation and Christian medittation are not the same thing. The value of medittation comes from the object being medittated on, not from the act of medttitation. One can after all meditate on a pint of cheap vodka. Some might wonder if the people that think up these ideas spend considerable ammounts of time doing so.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also-and I am stepping a little beyond the boundries of my knowlege-the Bibles idea of "meditation" is different from the Buddhist. As I understand Buddhist meditation is a mystic exercise. Christian meditation is also about studying God's sayings-it is both rational and mystical. God wants both your mind and your heart.
    It is hard to see what we can learn from Buddhist ritual. We can learn from those that pursue it diligently to pursue truth as zealously as they pursue error. However that is a different concept. Does Buddhist ritual reach God better? For that matter is it even more aesthetically
    attractive? Why then? Is it just to prove that we are as "with it" as anyone else? Yet being "with it" is highly overrated.

    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I said the problem is in drawing lines. Somethings that have been mentioned are condemned more for their aleged orgin then for the actual use. Things that have pagan orgin aren't necessarily wrong now-because that orgin is obsolete. Nobody who buys a Christmas tree(or attends a church with a steeple by the way) is really thinking about it's pagan orgin.
    However having joint meditation seminars with Buddhist monks is a pretty blatant thing. In this they are actually taking part in a pagan practice that is intended to be a pagan practice. Far different.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good points, Sir Jason. I didn't see the links regarding seminars with Buddhist monks, but I did see several negative references towards Christian monks, such as Brother Lawrence, which made we wonder what the danger was. This writing of Brother Lawrence is their "accusation" of contemplative spirituality against him.

    "This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world ... I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily. I made this my business, as much all the day long as at the appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of GOD. Such has been my common practice ever since I entered into religion."

    Anyone see anything insidious in that?

    Sir C, brother of Lawrence

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anyone see anything insidious in that?
    _______________________

    Not so far-though it could easily lead to the error that if God called one Christian to that He called all. But in itself I could imagine God calling a given believer to a contemplative vocation.
    However I do not know all of what Brother Lawrance said.

    ____________________________
    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete
  6. You should pick up his little book, sometime, Sir Jason. Available in every Christian bookstore for $5 or less...I've carried it with me for years.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have mixed feelings about this website. They appear to be making a lot to accusations against their brothers and sisters. Does it really matter that Campus Crusade has a labyrinth? I like the idea of place to pray and walk. I have read a lot of the Purpose Driven Life and I sense that the man is a real child of God.

    Having said all that, I agree that we need to be on the alert against forces that would encourage Christians to merge their life in Christ with other religions.

    2Cr 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

    As Sir Jason said, it is an issue of line drawing. I don’t think using some of the same terms that other religions use is that big a deal. On the other hand, if they reject Christ, they cannot be of God.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Having said all that, I agree that we need to be on the alert against forces that would encourage Christians to merge their life in Christ with other religions.
    _______________________________

    Also it might be remembered that that sort of thing is really an insult to all religions-to the concept of religion. What it really says is that religion is not the sort of thing one takes seriously enough to believe in.
    While I believe in what is right I have enough respect for the almost-right not to patronize.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I couldn't leave this topic without defending the writings of Brother Lawrence. I do not believe this website has a legitimate accusation against the good brother. If the quote in comment #4 above is the worst they can extract from his letters, then they had better move on. No where in his writings does brother Lawrence advocate, or even mention, repetitive prayer or breathing, if that is in fact a bad thing. Brother Lawrence simply acknowledges in his letters that God is omnipresent, so he concentrates on remembering and acting like he is in God's presence at all times; that God is omniscient, so that he always guards his thoughts, attempting to keep them pure because God knows what he is thinking; and that God is omnipotent, so that he always tries to lay all his tasks at God's feet for help and guidance.

    Now, if these folks find something sinister in that, they must not be worshipping the same God brother Lawrence and I are.

    Sir C, in defense of a sainted brother

    ReplyDelete
  10. I couldn't leave this topic without defending the writings of Brother Lawrence. I do not believe this website has a legitimate accusation against the good brother. If the quote in comment #4 above is the worst they can extract from his letters, then they had better move on. No where in his writings does brother Lawrence advocate, or even mention, repetitive prayer or breathing, if that is in fact a bad thing. Brother Lawrence simply acknowledges in his letters that God is omnipresent, so he concentrates on remembering and acting like he is in God's presence at all times; that God is omniscient, so that he always guards his thoughts, attempting to keep them pure because God knows what he is thinking; and that God is omnipotent, so that he always tries to lay all his tasks at God's feet for help and guidance.

    Now, if these folks find something sinister in that, they must not be worshipping the same God brother Lawrence and I are.

    Sir C, in defense of a sainted brother

    10:08 AM
    ______________________________

    I don't find anything wrong with that. I was simply warning against an error others have made. No accuseation was made.
    I accept Sir Chucks defense of the sainted brother.

    Sir Jason

    ReplyDelete