October 29, 2008 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
The following is excerpted from our new book Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, which is available from Way of Life Literature. If it is not yet available through the online catalog, it can be ordered by phone or e-mail with a credit card.
The Vatican II Council in the 1960s opened the door for interfaith dialogue, and since then a growing number of Roman Catholic leaders have developed intimate relations with their counterparts in the pagan eastern religions, particularly Hindu, Buddhist, Tao, and Sufi. These Catholics have been paganized far more thoroughly than the pagans have been Romanized. Actually there is a great blending and merging going on throughout the religious world in preparation for the one world religion of the antichrist.
One of the fathers of this movement is Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk whose writings are vastly influential within Catholicism, the New Age movement, and the centering prayer movement that lies at the heart of the emerging church and that is permeating evangelicalism.
Born in France, Merton had no religion growing up. During World War II he moved to America, began attending Mass, and became a Roman Catholic in 1938. He was received as a monk in the Trappist order and spent the last 27 years of his life in a monastery devoted to Mary (The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky). The first time he visited the monastery he described it as “the Court of the Queen of Heaven” (John Talbot, The Way of the Mystic, p. 221).
Merton was a student of Zen master Daisetsu Suzuki and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton also studied mystical Islamic Sufism. He said, “I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism” (Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Merton and Sufism, 1999, p. 109).
In fact, Merton claimed to be both a Buddhist and a Christian. The titles of his books include Zen and the Birds of the Appetite and Mystics and the Zen Masters.
“I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity ... I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can” (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West,” Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969, quoted from Lighthouse Trails).
“Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these” (Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Merton and Sufism, p. 41).
Like Hindus and Zen Buddhists, Merton defined mysticism as an experience beyond words. In a speech to monks of eastern religions in Calcutta in October 1968 he said: “... the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. IT IS WORDLESS. IT IS BEYOND WORDS, AND IT IS BEYOND SPEECH, and it is beyond concept” (The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, 1975 edition, p. 308).
Merton believed that the key to interfaith dialogue is to ignore doctrine and dogma and focus on mystic contemplative experience.
“Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas ... But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light ... It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam” (Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Merton and Sufism, p. 109).
In 1969 Merton took the trip of his dreams, to visit India, Ceylon, Singapore, and Thailand, to experience the places where his beloved eastern religions were born. He said he was “going home.”
In India Merton met the Dalai Lama three times and said there “there is a real spiritual bond between us” (The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, 1975 edition, p. 125). The Dalai Lama agreed. When he eventually visited Merton’s grave at Gethsemani Abbey, he prayed, “Now our spirits are one” (http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Jan1997/feature1.asp 10/8/2002).
In Sri Lanka Merton visited a Buddhist shrine by the ocean. Approaching the Buddha idols barefoot he was struck with the “great smiles,” their countenance signifying that they were “questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace ... that has seen through every question without trying to discredit anyone or anything--without refutation--without establishing some other argument” (The Asian Journal, p. 233).
This alleged wisdom is a complete denial of the Bible, which teaches us that there is truth and there is error, light and darkness, God and Satan, and they are not one, and true wisdom lies in testing all things and rejecting that which is false. Proverbs says, “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Prov. 14:15).
Merton described his visit to the Buddhas as an experience of great illumination, a vision of “inner clearness.” He said, “I don’t know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination” (The Asian Journal, p. 235). Actually it was a demonic delusion.
Six days later Merton was electrocuted in a cottage in Bangkok by a faulty fan switch. He was fifty-four years old.
ANTHONY DE MELLO
Anthony de Mello (1931-87) was an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist whose writings are influential in the contemplative movement. By 1998 more than two million copies of his books had been sold in 35 languages. He was the director of the Sadhana Institute of Pastoral Counseling in Poona, India. Sadhana is a Hindu term that refers to the practices of a sadhu or one who is seeking spiritual enlightenment (yoga, chanting, pooja or idol worship, asceticism, etc.).
Like Merton, De Mello defined mysticism as a spiritual experience that goes beyond thinking. Consider some of his statements:
“... revelation is not knowledge. Revelation is power; a mysterious power that brings transformation. ... The head is not a very good place for prayer. ... YOU MUST LEARN TO MOVE OUT OF THE AREA OF THINKING and talking and move into the area of feeling, sensing, loving, intuiting” (Sadhana: A Way to God, pp. 15, 17).
“Don’t ask questions. Do what you are asked to and you will discover the answer for yourself. Truth is found less in words and explanations than in action and experience” (p. 20).
Actually this is a sure recipe for spiritual delusion! The Bible warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and exhorts us to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
De Mello’s teaching is an interfaith mixture of Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Sufi.
His book Sadhana: A Way to God is subtitled “Christian Exercises in Eastern Form,” referring to the pagan influence from eastern religions. He readily admits to borrowing from Buddhist Zen masters and Hindu gurus. One of the exercises he recommends is based on Hindu monism, the doctrine that God is everything:
“Think of the air as of an immense ocean that surrounds you ... an ocean heavily colored with God’s presence and God’s being. ... While you draw the air into your lungs you are drawing God in” (Sadhana: A Way to God, p. 36).
He recommends the Hindu lotus posture as the most ideal (p. 24) and suggests chanting the Hindu word “om” (p. 49).
He even instructs his students to communicate with inanimate objects:
“Choose some object that you use frequently: a pen, a cup ... Now gently place the object in front of you or on your lap and speak to it. Begin by asking it questions about itself, its life, its origins, its future. And listen while it unfolds to you the secret of its being and of its destiny. Listen while it explains to you what existence means to it. Your object has some hidden wisdom to reveal to you about yourself. Ask for this and listen to what it has to say. There is something that you can give this object. What is it? What does it want from you?” (p. 55).
Though some of De Mello’s doctrine was condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he remained a Jesuit priest in good standing and his books are sold widely in Catholic bookstores. His biography was published in 2005 by Jesuit J. Francis Stroud.
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Tilden Edwards (1940-2005) was the Roman Catholic founder of the Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C., which trains spiritual directors. Ray Yungen says: “The Shalem Institute is one of the bastions of contemplative prayer in this country and has trained thousands of spiritual directors since its inception in 1972” (A Time of Departing, p. 65).
In the book Spiritual Friend (1980), Edwards said that the contemplative prayer movement is “THE WESTERN BRIDGE TO FAR EASTERN SPIRITUALITY” (p. 18).
Edwards urged the adoption of eastern pagan practices and called the interfaith dialogue the “wider ecumenism.”
“In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept the learnings of particular Eastern religions. ... What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent. ... If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-fertilization is not surprising. ... selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life” (Living in the Presence, 1987, acknowledgements page).
“The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian, but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions” (Living in the Presence, p. 172).
Observe that Edwards believed that the human family is one in God’s spirit. That is a pagan concept and is contrary to the Bible’s teaching that man are estranged from God because of sin and can only be reconciled through faith in Jesus Christ. Edwards thought that paganism has much to offer to the Christian life, whereas the Bible informs us that the Scripture itself is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Further, the Bible warns God’s people not to learn the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2).
Of Buddhism Edwards said:
“Some Buddhist traditions have developed very practical ways of doing so that many Christians have found helpful ... offering participants new perspectives and possibilities for living more fully in the radiant gracious Presence through the day” (Edwards, The Center for Spiritual Development, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Fall 2004 - Spring 2005, p. 4).
In fact, Edwards said that Buddha and Jesus are friends:
“For many years, I have kept in my office an ink drawing of two smiling figures with their arms around each other: Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, with the caption: ‘Jesus and Buddha must be very good friends.’ They are not the same, but they are friends, not enemies, and they are not indifferent to one another. From the very beginning of Shalem, I have been moved to affirm that statement... Particular Buddhist practices that I have experienced in the last 26 years have, with grace, shown me such an ‘inclusive’ mind” (Edwards, “Jesus and Buddha Good Friends,” Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation newsletter, Winter 2000).
In Spiritual Friend, Edwards recommends the book Psychosynthesis by Robert Assagioli, an occultist.
James Finley is a Roman Catholic clinical psychologist and former Trappist monk. He spent six years at the Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, two of those years under the direction of Thomas Merton. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary.
He conducts silent contemplative retreats and is affiliated with The Contemplative Way community at the Roman Catholic parish of St. Monica, California.
He is the author of Merton’s Palace of Nowhere, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God, and The Contemplative Heart.
Two of his retreat lectures are “Meister Eckhart: Living in Union with God” and “The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.”
Finley says that meditation is entering experientially, beyond thought, into the divine oneness that exists between God the Father and Son.
“At the heart of the Gospel is Jesus saying ‘I and the Father are one.’ The early Christians understood this as a call to enter into Christ’s divine oneness with the Father. They felt they could respond to that call by entering into that oneness experientially; even on this earth they could realize something of this eternal oneness with God that Christ came to reveal and proclaim. And they sought to experience this through meditation and prayer. Christian meditation is way of experiencing God beyond what the ego can grasp or attain. It’s beyond thought, beyond memory, beyond the will, beyond feeling” (Lisa Schneider, “Experiencing God through Meditation: Interview with James Finley,” Beliefnet.com).
When asked if it is possible for meditation to be “inviting the devil in,” Finley replies:
“Sometimes I will tell people who express that--well why not try it? Why not try to just quietly and sincerely and silently open your heart to God and see for yourself if you sense something dangerous or bad or dark. And you might discover that the opposite’s the case” (“Experiencing God through Meditation: Interview with James Finley,” Beliefnet.com).
This counsel is unbelievably dangerous and unscriptural. The Bible warns that the devil takes on the persona of an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14-16). The only way to discern the difference between true and false spirits is to carefully test them by the Bible, and the Catholic mystics such as Finley, Merton, and Johnston don’t do that and, in fact, don’t know how to do that.
William Johnston is a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest and an authority on Zen Buddhism. He promotes the syncretism of western (Catholic) contemplative practices with eastern paganism.
He teaches meditative practices in his books such as The Still Point (1970), The Mysticism of the Cloud of Unknowing (1978), and The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion (1978), and The Mystical Way: Silent Music and the Wounded Stag (1993).
He believes that everyone is called to pursue mysticism, calling it a “universal vocation,” and says that “the Spirit of God is working in the modern world to create a need” for mystical experience.
He says that meditation “goes beyond ordinary reasoning,” that it is entering “into silence--without words, without reasoning, without thinking,” that it is entering “into the nothingness, into the emptiness, into the darkness” (“Interview with William Johnston,” Compass, Mar. 2, 1997).
“When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness ... the profound mystical silence ... an absence of thought” (Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13)
Johnston’s mysticism is deeply syncretistic and his own doctrine has been heavily influenced by his close association with pagan religions.
He makes the New Age proclamation, “For God is the core of my being and the core of all beings” (The Mystical Way, 1993, p. 224).
Johnston’s book The Book of Privy Counseling is described by the publisher, Doubleday, as “a text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and consciousness only of the divine.”
Johnston admits that Catholic mysticism borrows from eastern pagan religions.
“The twentieth century, which has seen so many revolutions, is now witnessing THE RISE OF A NEW MYSTICISM WITHIN CHRISTIANITY. ... For the new mysticism has learned much from the great religions of Asia. It has felt the impact of yoga and Zen and the monasticism of Tibet. It pays attention to posture and breathing; it knows about the music of the mantra and the silence of Samadhi” (The Mystical Way: Silent Music and the Wounded Stag, foreword).
He directly associates the practice of Catholic centering prayer with Hinduism and Buddhism:
“What I can safely say, however, is that there is a Christian Samadhi that has always occupied an honored place in the spirituality of the West. This, I believe, is the thing that is nearest to Zen. It is this that I have called Christian Zen” (Lord, Teach Us to Pray, 1991, p. 54).
Samadhi is the Hindu concept of achieving oneness with God through yoga.
In The Inner Eye of Love (1981), Johnston uses Hindu terminology of “the third eye” to describe meditative practices. He says the third eye is between the eyebrows and is “an eye of insight where you see more deeply into things.” He says:
“I believe the Gospel is speaking about the third eye. And that’s where enlightenment comes; that’s where the awakening comes. That’s where the seeing comes, in the third, the ‘inner eye.’ Now in the Western tradition, in the Gospel, it’s not precisely located, but in Hinduism and so on, it’s here. They sometimes have the red spot in the third eye. I think it’s quite an important concept for mysticism--the notion of awakening” (Compass, Mar. 2, 1997).
In The Inner of Eye of Love Johnston describes contemplative practices in Hindu-Buddhist terms as a never-ending “downward journey” that brings the practitioner into union with God. He also associates “Christian” mysticism with that “of all the great religions.
“In the mystical life one passes from one layer to the next in an inner or downward journey to the core of the personality where dwells the great mystery called God--God who cannot be known directly, cannot be seen (for no man has ever seen God) and who dwells in thick darkness. This is the never-ending journey which is recognizable in the mysticism of all the great religions. It is a journey towards union because the consciousness gradually expands and integrates data from the so-called unconscious while the whole personality is absorbed into the great mystery of God” (p. 127).
John Main (1926-1982) was a British-born Benedictine monk and priest. His birth name was Douglas Main. After studying law at Trinity College, Dublin, he joined the British Colonial Service. While stationed in Malaysia in 1955 he met Hindu Swami Satyananda, who taught him how to use a mantra to achieve a meditative stillness and alleged connection with “the divine.”
Main described the objective of his Hindu guru’s meditation:
“For the swami, the aim of meditation was the coming to awareness of the Spirit of the universe who dwells in our hearts, and he recited these verses from the Upanishads: ‘He contains all things, all works and desires and all perfumes and tastes. And he enfolds the whole universe and, in silence, is loving to all. This is the Spirit that is in my heart. This is Brahman’” (Main, Christian Meditation, p. 11).
Thus, Hindu meditation seeks to bring the practitioner into union with God, believing that all men are a part of God and that God is within all men.
In 1959 Main began preparations to become a Benedictine priest and took the name of John. He was ordained in 1963. In the early 1970s he studied the writings of John Cassian and The Cloud of Unknowing and saw parallels between the Catholic mystic meditative practices and that of Swami Satayananda. He said Hindu meditation was like the Cloud of Unknowing in “the Cloud’s use of a single repeated word to overcome thought” (Christian Meditation, p. 51) and “the concept of prayer as listening and being rather than speaking and thinking” (p. 10).”
Main syncretized contemplative practices with yoga and in 1975 began founding meditation groups in Catholic monasteries. These spread outside of the Catholic Church and grew into an ecumenical network called the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM).
He taught the following method:
“Sit still and upright, close your eyes and repeat your prayer-phrase (mantra). Recite your prayer-phrase and gently listen to it as you say it. DO NOT THINK ABOUT ANYTHING. As thoughts come, simply keep returning to your prayer-phrase. In this way, one places everything aside: INSTEAD OF TALKING TO GOD, ONE IS JUST BEING WITH GOD, allowing God’s presence to fill his heart, thus transforming his inner being” (The Teaching of Dom John Main: How to Meditate, Meditation Group of Saint Patrick’s Basilica, Ottawa, Canada).
Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) was a Roman Catholic priest who taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Notre Dame. Nouwen has had a vast influence within the emerging church through his writings, and he has been an influential voice within the contemplative movement. A Christian Century magazine survey conducted in 2003 indicated that Nouwen’s writings were a first choice for Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy.
Nouwen did not instruct his readers that one had to be born again through repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ in order to commune with God. The book With Open Hands, for example, instructs readers to open themselves up to God and surrender to the flow of life, believing that God loves them unconditionally and is leading them. This is blind faith.
“When we pray, we are standing with our hands open to the world. We know that God will become known to us in the nature around us, in people we meet, and in situations we run into. We trust that the world holds God’s secret within and we expect that secret to be shown to us” (With Open Hands, 2006, p. 47).
Nouwen did not instruct his readers to beware of false spirits and to test everything by the Scriptures. He taught them, rather, to trust that God is leading in and through all things and that they should “test” things by their own “vision.”
Nouwen claimed that contemplative meditation is necessary for an intimacy with God:
“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without stillness and silence” (quoted by Chuck Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ, p. 65).
He taught that the use of a mantra could take the practitioner into God’s presence.
“The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart ... This way of simple prayer ... opens us to God’s active presence” (The Way of the Heart, p. 81).
He said that mysticism and contemplative prayer can create ecumenical unity because Christian leaders learn to hear “the voice of love”:
“Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love. ... For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (In the Name of Jesus, pp. 6, 31, 32).
In fact, if Christians are listening to the voice of the true and living God, they will learn that love is obedience to the Scriptures. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
Nouwen, like Thomas Merton and many other Catholic contemplatives today, syncretized the teaching of eastern gurus with ancient Catholic practices. In his book Pray to Live Nouwen describes approvingly Merton’s heavily involvement with Hindu monks (pp. 19-28).
In his foreword to Thomas Ryan’s book Disciplines for Christian Living, Nouwen says:
“[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian and does not hesitate to bring that wisdom home” (Disciplines for Christian Living, p. 2).
Nouwen taught a form of universalism and panentheism.
“The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being” (Here and Now, p. 22).
He claimed that every person who believes in a higher power and follows his or her vision of the future is of God and is building God’s kingdom:
“We can see the visionary in the guerilla fighter, in the youth with the demonstration sign, in the quiet dreamer in the corner of a café, in the soft-spoken monk, in the meek student, in the mother who lets her son go his own way, in the father who reads to his child from a strange book, in the smile of a girl, in the indignation of a worker, and in every person who in one way or another dreams life from a vision which is seen shining ahead and which surpasses everything ever heard or seen before” (With Open Hands, p. 113).
“Praying means breaking through the veil of existence and allowing yourself to be led by the vision which has become real to you. Whether we call that vision ‘the Unseen Reality,’ ‘the total Other,’ ‘the Spirit,’ or ‘the Father,’ we repeatedly assert that It is not we ourselves who possess the power to make the new creation come to pass. It is rather a spiritual power which has been given to us and which empowers us to be in the world without being of it” (With Open Hands, p. 114).
The radical extent of Nouwen’s universalism is evident by the fact that the second edition of With Open Hands has a foreword by Sue Monk Kidd. She is a New Ager who promotes worship of the goddess! Her book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine was published in 1996, a decade before she was asked to write the foreword to Nouwen’s book on contemplative prayer. Monk Kidd worships herself as a goddess.
“Today I remember that event for the radiant mystery it was, how I felt myself embraced by Goddess, how I felt myself in touch with the deepest thing I am. It was the moment when, as playwright and poet Ntozake Shange put it, ‘I found god in myself/ and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely’” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 136).
“Over the altar in my study I hung a lovely mirror sculpted in the shape of a crescent moon. It reminded me to honor the Divine Feminine presence in myself, the wisdom in my own soul” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 181).
Sue Monk Kidd’s journey from the traditional Baptist faith (as a Sunday School teacher in a Southern Baptist congregation) to goddess worship began when she started delving into Catholic contemplative spirituality, practicing centering prayer and attending Catholic retreats.
Nouwen taught that God is only love, unconditional love.
“Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, and disappointment to the One who is love and only love. ... [Pray] ‘Dear God, ... what you want to give me is love--unconditional, everlasting love’” (With Open Hands, pp. 24, 27).
In fact, God’s love is not unconditional. Though God loves all men and Christ died to make it possible for all to be saved, there is a condition for receiving God’s love and that is acknowledging and repenting of one’s sinfulness and receiving Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour.
Further, God is not only love; He is also holy and just and light and truth. This is what makes the cross of Jesus Christ necessary. An acceptable atonement had to be made for God’s broken law.
In his last book Nouwen said:
“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, New York: Crossroad, 1998, p. 51).
PENNINGTON, M. BASIL, AND THOMAS KEATING
M. Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating are very influential in the field of centering prayer. Both are Trappist monks and priests. They co-authored Finding Grace at the Center: The Beginning of Centering Prayer. First published in 1978, this book has had a wide influence.
PENNINGTON (1931-2005) entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance in 1951 at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. This Order is also called Trappist after the name of the location of their founding, which was the Abbey of Notre Dame de la Grande Trappe.
The Order is dedicated to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to silence and solitude and meditation under the Rule of Saint Benedict. This Rule teaches salvation and sanctification through ascetism. Chapter 7 of the Rule presents a 12-step ladder of virtue and ascetism that “leads to heaven.” These include repression of self-will, submission to superiors, confession, stifling laughter, and speaking only when asked a question. Under the Rule of Benedict everything is regulated, including sleeping, waking, meal times, quantity and quality of food, clothing, work, and recreation. The Rule forbids the ownership of any private property or the receipt of letters or gifts without permission of the abbot.
Pennington became professor of Theology at St. Joseph’s in 1959, professor of Canon Law and professor of Spirituality in 1963, and Vocation Director in 1978.
In 2000 he was elected abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. This was founded in 1944 by 20 monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky where Thomas Merton lived.
Pennington returned to St. Joseph’s after his retirement in 2002, and died in 2005 in a car crash.
Pennington believed that hell is separation from God and feelings of isolation in this present life.
“Many people don’t know that much of the emptiness or longing desire that they suffer from is because they are not in touch with God or whatever name they give Him. Separation is a very real form of suffering in this life” (interview with Mary NurrieStearns, “Transforming Suffering,” 1991, Personal Transformation website, http://www.personaltransformation.com/Pennington.html).
Pennington taught that man shares God’s divine nature.
“We are united with everybody else in our human nature and in our SHARING OF A DIVINE NATURE, so we are never really alone, we have all this union and communion. Getting in touch with that reality is the greatest healing. We can adopt meditative practices which enable us to begin that journey of finding our true inner selves or transcending our separate selves and leave behind some of the pain and suffering” (Interview with Mary NurrieStearns)
Pennington said, “... the soul of the human family is the Holy Spirit” (Centered Living, p. 104).
Pennington taught that the meditative practices of all religions bring one into the experience of the same God:
“It is my sense, from having meditated with persons from many different [non-Christian] traditions, that in the silence we experience a deep unity. When we go beyond the portals of the rational mind into the experience, there is only one God to be experienced” (Pennington, Centered Living, p. 192).
In fact, there is the “god of this world” who assumes the persona of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Pennington promoted a radical interfaith ecumenism. He called Hindu swamis “our wise friends from the East” (Finding Grace at the Center, p. 23). He said, “We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and capture it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible ... Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices” (p. 23).
THOMAS KEATING (b. 1923) entered the Cistercian Order in 1944 and was appointed Superior of St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, in 1958.
In 1961 he was elected abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey. The centering prayer movement began at St. Joseph’s in the 1970s. Trappist monk William Meninger found a “dusty copy” of The Cloud of Unknowing, and he and Keating and Pennington began developing a system of contemplation based on that as well as the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. They saw that this type of contemplation was very similar to that of the Buddhist and Hindu mystics they were associating with.
Keating, Pennington, and William Meninger began holding retreats to teach centering prayer and invited pagan meditation masters, including Zen Buddhist Roshi Sasaki, to teach at some of the retreats.
They also began writing books. In addition to co-authoring Finding Grace at the Center, Keating has written Open Mind, Open Heart (1986), The Mystery of Christ (1987), Invitation to Love (1992), Intimacy with God (1994), The Human Condition (1999), Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit (2000), and St. Therese of Lisieux (2001).
Keating intermingles contemplative practices with humanistic psychology, eastern religion, and New Age. He believes that man has a “false self” built up through one’s life experiences and this false self is filled with guilt because of a false sense of sin and separation from God. The guilt supposedly is not real and the false self is “an illusion.” The objective of contemplative techniques is to reach beyond this false self to the true self that is sinless and guiltless and already in union with God.
“As we evolve toward self-identity and full self-consciousness, so grows the sense of responsibility, and hence guilt, and so grows the sense of alienation from the true self which has long ago been forgotten in the course of the early growth period. This whole process of growth normally takes place without the inner experience of the divine presence. That is the crucial source of the false self. ... There’s nothing basically wrong with you, it’s just that your basic goodness has been overlaid by emotional programs for happiness which are aimed at things other than the ultimate happiness which is your relationship with God” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).
Keating and Pennington’s writings are one reason why it is popular today for evangelicals to seek meditative experiences in Catholic monasteries.
Keating has been deeply influenced by his pagan associations. He describes thoughtless meditative prayer in Hindu terms as being united with God in a mindless experience.
“Contemplative prayer is the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, BEYOND THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND EMOTIONS. It is a process of interior purification THAT LEADS, IF WE CONSENT, TO DIVINE UNION” (Keating interview with Kate Olson, “Centering Prayer as Divine Therapy,” Trinity News, Trinity Church in the City, New York City, volume 42, issue 4, 1995).
Keating describes centering prayer is “a journey into the unknown” (Open Mind, Open Heart, p. 72).
Keating wrote the foreword to Philip St. Romain’s strange and very dangerous book Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (1990). Keating says, “Kundalini is an enormous energy for good,” but also admits that it can be harmful. He recommends that kundalini “be directed by the Holy Spirit.” He postulates that the meditative prayer practices of Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross might have been associated with kundalini energy. Keating concludes by saying: “This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.”
Kundalini is a Hindu concept that there is powerful form of psychic energy at the base of the spine that can be “awakened.” It is called the serpent and is purely occultic and has resulted in many demonic manifestations.
Its own practitioners warn repeatedly about its dangers. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia says, “Those who awaken their kundalini without a guru can lose their direction in life ... they can become confused or mentally imbalanced ... more harm than good can arise” (p. 336). The book Aghora II: Kundalini warns many times that “indiscriminate awakening of the Kundalini is very dangerous” (p. 61). It says: “Once aroused and unboxed Kundalini is not ‘derousable’; the genie will not fit back into the bottle. ... Those who ride Kundalini without knowing their destination risk losing their way” (p. 20). In fact, the book says “some die of shock when Kundalini is awakened, and others become severely ill” (p. 61). It is likened to a toddler grasping a live wire (p. 58).
Keating retired as abbot in 1981 and co-founded (with Gustave Reininger and Edward Bednar) the Contemplative Outreach to promote centering prayer.
Keating is heavily involved in interfaith dialogue and promotes the use of contemplative practice as a tool for creating interfaith unity. He is one of the founders of the Snowmass Interreligious Conference at St. Benedict’s Monastery. He is past president of the Temple of Understanding, founded in 1960 by Juliet Hollister. The mission of this New Age organization is to “create a more just and peaceful world” by achieving “peaceful coexistence among individuals, communities, and societies.” The tools for reaching this objective are interfaith education, dialogue, experiential knowledge (mystical practices), fostering mutual appreciation and tolerance, and promotion of the contempt of global citizenship.
Keating is also past president of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID), which is sponsored by the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of North America. Founded in 1977, it is “committed to fostering interreligious and intermonastic dialogue AT THE LEVEL OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE.” This means that they are using contemplative practices and yoga to promote interfaith unity and to help create a new world. The MID works in association with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Consider one of the objectives of the MID:
“The methods of concentration used in other religious traditions can be useful for removing obstacles to a deep contact with God. They can give a better understanding of the oneness of Christ as expressed in the various traditions and CONTRIBUTE TO THE FORMATION OF A NEW WORLD RELIGIOUS CULTURE. They can also be helpful in the development of certain potencies in the individual, for THERE ARE SOME ZEN-HINDU-SUFI-ETC. DIMENSIONS IN EACH HEART” (Mary L. O’Hara, “Report on Monastic Meeting at Petersham,” MID Bulletin 1, October 1977).
In January 2008 the MID web site featured Thomas Ryan’s book Interreligious Prayer: A Christian Guide. It contains “resources from eight religions that might be used in varying kinds of interreligious services.” The religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha’i, and Native American. A review of the book at the MID site says:
“It is as one human family ... that we are called to live in harmony and to bring about justice and peace in our one world; and, as the author points out, finding one another in God in prayer ‘is the shortest way between humans’” (Katherine Howard, “Book Review: Can We Pray Together,” MID Bulletin 80, January 2008).
In an article entitled “Guidelines for Interreligious Understanding” (Fellowship in Prayer, April 1996), Keating proposed eight points of interfaith agreement, including the following. All of these are contrary to the Bible.
* The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate reality to which they give various names: Brahman, Allah, Absolute, God, Great Spirit.
* Ultimate Reality cannot be limited to any name or concept.
* The potential for human wholeness--or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana--is present in every human person.
* Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal or beyond them both
William H. Shannon is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Rochester, New York. He is emeritus professor of theology at Nazareth College.
Shannon is a disciple of the Buddhist Catholic Thomas Merton. He founded the International Thomas Merton Society and has written at least four books about him: The Silent Lamp: The Thomas Merton Story (1992), Something of a Rebel: Thomas Merton’s Life and Works (1997), Thomas Merton’s Paradise Journey: Writings on Contemplation (2000), and The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia (2006).
He has also written other books on Catholic contemplative practices: Seeking the Face of God: The Path to a More Intimate Relationship with Him (1999) and Silence on Fire: Prayer of Awareness (2000).
Silence on Fire (1991) is about “wordless prayer.” In this book Shannon described his counsel to an atheist:
“You will never find God by looking outside yourself. You will only find God within” (p. 99).
Shannon has been so deeply influenced by Merton and his pagan contemplative practices that he has come to believe that man is God.
“This forgetfulness, of OUR ONENESS WITH GOD, is not just a personal experience, it IS THE CORPORATE EXPERIENCE OF HUMANITY. Indeed, this is one way to understand original sin. We are in God, but we don’t seem to know it. We are in paradise, but we don’t realize it” (Seeds of Peace, p. 66).
Shannon is very bold in his rejection of the God of the Bible:
“This is a typical patriarchal notion of God. He is the God of Noah who sees people deep in sin, repents that He made them and resolves to destroy them. He is the God of the desert who sends snakes to bite His people because they murmured against Him. He is the God of David who practically decimates a people. ... He is the God who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased. This God whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger. THIS GOD DOES NOT EXIST” (William Shannon, Silence on Fire, pp. 109, 110).
The Shantivanam Ashram (Forest of Peace) in India was founded by Roman Catholic priests to integrate Catholic and Hindu contemplation principles. It was established by Jules Monchanin (1895-1957) and Henri le Saux, both of the Benedictine order. The ashram was built in Tamil Nadu on the banks of a “holy river.” The original name of the ashram, Saccidananda (bliss in consciousness of Being), “expressed their intention of identifying the Hindu quest of the Absolute with their own experience of God in Christ” (Ursula King, Christian Mystics, p. 239). The liturgy at the ashram includes readings from Hindu scriptures.
The two Catholic priests took the names of Hindu holy men, with le Saux calling himself Swami Abhishiktananda (bliss of the anointed one). He stayed in Hindu ashrams and learned from Hindu gurus. In 1968 le Saux left Shantivanam and became a hermit in the Himalayas, living there until his death in 1973. He was involved in ecumenical retreats and interfaith work, attempting to reconcile Christianity with Hinduism. “He sought to penetrate the mystical experience of East and West at the deepest level and believed that Christianity would be renewed from its contact with Hindu spirituality” (Christian Mystics, p. 240).
His books Prayer: Hindu-Christian Meeting Point, Further Shore, and Saccidananda: A Christian Approach to Advaitic Experience continue to be published.
After the departure of le Saux, the Shantivanam Ashram was led by ALAN RICHARD “BEDE” GRIFFITHS (1906-93). He called himself Swami Dayananda (bliss of compassion), went barefoot, and was clothed in an orange-colored robe after the fashion of a Hindu holy man.
He was born in England and studied at Oxford under C.S. Lewis, who became a lifelong friend. In 1931, while at Oxford he converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism. The next year he joined the Benedictine monastery of Prinknash Abbey near Gloucester and was ordained a priest in 1940. The name Bede was given to him when he entered the Benedictine order. It means prayer.
Griffiths had a large influence in promoting the interfaith philosophy in Roman Catholic monasteries in America, England, Australia, and Germany through his books and lectures. He wrote 12 books on interfaith dialogue, the most popular being Marriage of East and West.
He accepted the Hindu concept of the interrelatedness of everything and the unity of man with God.
“He loved to quote the Chandogya Upanishad (8,3) [Hindu scriptures] to show that while our body takes up only a small space on this planet, our mind encompasses the whole universe: ‘There is this city of Brahman (the human body) and in it there is a small shrine in the form of a lotus, and within can be found a small space. This little space within the heart is as great as this vast universe. The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars; fire and lightening and wind are there, and all that now is and is not yet--all that is contained within it” (Pascaline Coff, “Man, Monk, Mystic,” http://www.bedegriffiths.com/bio.htm).
At a talk he gave in 1991 Griffiths said:
“I saw God in the earth, in trees, in mountains. It led me to the conviction that there is no absolute good or evil in this world. We have to let go of all concepts which divide the world into good and evil, right and wrong, and begin to see the complimentarity of opposites which Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa called the coincidentia oppositorum, the ‘coincidence of opposites’” (http://www.bedegriffiths.com/bio.htm).
Griffiths promoted a New Age integration of Christianity with evolution and eastern religion.
“We’re now being challenged to create a theology which would use the findings of modern science and eastern mysticism which, as you know, coincide so much, and to evolve from that a new theology which would be much more adequate” (Renee Weber, Dialogues With Scientists and Sages: The Search for Unity (1986), p. 163).
At the end of his life he came to believe in a Mother goddess. This was the fruit of his communion with idolatry. In 1990, after a stroke, he began to speak of the awakening of his repressed feminine.
“Intimating it was a mystical experience which could not properly be put into words, Father [Griffiths] used symbolic language to try and express the depth of the experience. The two symbols he used were the Black Madonna and the Crucified Christ. He said these two images summed up for him something of this mysterious experience of the Divine feminine and the mystery of suffering. When he first spoke about the Black Madonna, he said his experience of her was deeply connected to the Earth-Mother, to the forms of the ancient feminine found in rocks and caves and in the different forms in nature. He likened it to the experience of the feminine expressed in the Hindu concept of Shakti--the power of the Divine Feminine. Later Father wrote these reflections on the Black Madonna: ‘The Black Madonna symbolizes for me the Black Power in Nature and Life, the hidden power in the womb. ... I feel it was this Power which struck me. She is cruel and destructive, but also deeply loving and nourishing.’
“A few months later Father again wrote: ‘The figure of the Black Madonna stood for the feminine in all its forms. I felt the need to surrender to the Mother, and this gave me the experience of being overwhelmed by love. I realized that surrendering to death, and dying to oneself is surrendering to Total Love.’
“Regarding the image of the Crucified Christ, Father made the statement that his understanding of the crucifixion had deepened profoundly. He wrote: ‘On the Cross Jesus surrendered himself to this Dark Power. He lost everything: friends, disciples, his own people, their law and religion. ... He had to enter the Dark Night, to be exposed to the abyss. Only then could he become everything and nothing, opened beyond everything that can be named or spoken; only then could he be one with the darkness, the Void, the Dark Mother who is Love itself’” (http://www.bedegriffiths.com/bio.htm).
This is exactly the experience that Sue Monk Kidd had when she traveled from Catholic contemplative practices to goddess worship. She found a great love for the Black Madonna. This is because the Madonna was borrowed from pagan idolatry, from the ancient mother goddess mystery religions that stemmed from Babel.
ST. ROMAIN, PHILIP
Philip St. Romain is a Roman Catholic substance abuse counselor, lay minister, and retreat master, and the author of Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (1990).
Through Catholic contemplative practices St. Romain has been led into very dark demonic spheres. He believes that he came in touch with “kundalini energy.” He calls it “a natural evolutionary energy inherent in every human being.”
In his foreword to the book, Thomas Keating postulates that meditative prayer practices of Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross might have been associated with kundalini. He claims that “kundalini is an enormous energy for good” and concludes by saying: “This book will initiate Christians on the spiritual journey into this important but long neglected dimension of the transforming power of grace.”
In fact, centering prayer and other forms of Christian Zen or Christian yoga initiate people into spiritual darkness and deception.
St. Romain began to have strange experiences through the practice of centering prayer, which involves emptying the mind and centering down into oneself. He said that after he had “centered down” into silence that gold lights would appear and swirl in his mind, forming themselves into captivating patterns. “Wise sayings” popped into his mind as if he were “receiving messages from another.” He felt prickly sensations that would continue for days. After studying Hinduism he came to the conclusion that he was dealing with kundalini.
“From the Hindu literature, I learned that what I was calling the true self, they called enlightenment, advaita, or Self-realization (sat-chit-ananda). This awakening is the goal of Hinduism, and the various kinds of yogas are disciplines to lead one to realize this goal. I came into contact with a very deep, holistic understanding of human nature and its various systems of energy and intelligence which helped me to understand myself better. Hinduism teaches one how to work with these various levels to come to the experience of enlightenment.”
Kundalini is a Hindu concept that there is powerful form of psychic energy at the base of the spine that can be “awakened.” It is described as a coiled serpent and is called “serpent power.” It is supposed to be located in the first of the seven “chakras” or power centers in the body. If the kundalini is awakened through such things as yogic mediation, intensive chanting and dancing, and the laying on of hands, it can be encouraged to move up the spinal column, piercing the other chakras, eventually reaching the seventh chakra at the top of the head, resulting in spiritual insight and power through “union with the Divine.” The most powerful yogis are supposed to have the ability to keep the kundalini energy flowing, providing them with extraordinary knowledge, power, and bliss.
Kundalini is purely occultic and has resulted in many demonic manifestations. It is said to create sensations of heat and cold, tingling, electric current, internal pressures, inner sounds and lights, buzzing in the ear, compulsive bodily movements and expressions (such as grimacing), uncontrollable emotional outbursts, loss of memory, a sense of an inner eye, drowsiness, and pain. The Inner Explorations web site tells of a man who, while dabbling in the activation of kundalini energy, experienced touches by invisible hands and animals that would attach themselves to him or bite him or lick his face (http://www.innerexplorations.com/ewtext/ke.htm).
St. Romain believes that through yogic mediation he can reach beyond the “false self” and connect with “true self” or the Ground of Being, which is God. He says, “The Ground that flows throughout my being is identical with the Reality of all creation.” Thus he believes that God flows in all things and is one with all things. This is a Hindu concept.
St. Romain became dependent on his “inner adviser” or “inner eye” that allowed him to see in a spiritual manner.
“I cannot make any decisions for myself without the approbation of the inner adviser, whose voice speaks so clearly in times of need ... there is a distinct sense of an inner eye of some kind ‘seeing’ with my two sense eyes” (Kundalini Energy, p. 39).
In a postscript to “Kundalini Energy,” Lisa Romain, Philip’s wife, describes how she learned to deal with her husband’s kundalini experiences. She says:
“When he told me a few years ago about seeing lights in his head (which he later called mandalas), buzzings in the ears, crying for hours at night, energy fizzing from the top of his head, the ‘crab’ in his brain, the pressure inside his ears, I found it all very strange.”
She says that she was puzzled and awed by these things, but she has concluded that “God leads us on the journey” and “we follow with trust.” Sadly, this “trust” is a blind leap into the dark rather than biblical faith.
In the afterword to the Romain’s book, James Arraj says that the mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism and Jungism with Christianity WILL CREATE THE “TRUE GLOBAL CULTURE.”
We have no doubt that this is true and it is described in Revelation 17 as a harlot religion riding the antichrist!
Wayne Teasdale (1945-2004) was a Roman Catholic lay monk whose writings are influential in the contemplative movement.
As a student in a Catholic college in Massachusetts, he began visiting St. Joseph’s Abbey near Spencer and came under the direction of Thomas Keating, one of the founders of the centering prayer movement. This eventually led him into an intimate association with pagan religions and the adoption of Hinduism.
As a candidate for the Ph.D. in Theology at Fordham University, Teasdale wrote his dissertation on Bede Griffiths, the Benedictine priest who moved to India and became a Hindu-Catholic, changing his name to Swami Dayananda, going barefoot, wearing the orange robe, practicing yoga, and eventually believing in ancient goddess religion. (See the previous study on Shantivanam Ashram.) Eventually Teasdale visited Shantivanam Ashram and lived in a nearby Hindu ashram for two years, following in Griffiths’ footsteps. In 1989 he became a “Christian” sanyassa, which refers to a Hindu monk who dedicates his entire life to spiritual pursuits.
Teasdale taught at various Catholic institutions (DePaul University, Columbia College, Benedictine University, Catholic Theological Union) and was never disciplined by the Catholic hierarchy for his interfaith philosophy.
Teasdale lived for a decade at the Hundred Acres Monastery in New Hampshire.
Teasdale was deeply involved in interfaith activities, believing that what the religions hold in common can be the basis for creating a new world, which he called the “Interspiritual Age” -- a “global culture based on common spiritual values.”
He coined the term INTERSPIRITUALITY to describe this agenda and believed that the Catholic Church is the key to bringing it about.
“She [the Catholic Church] also has a responsibility in our age to be bridge for reconciling the human family ... the Spirit is inspiring her through the signs of the times to open to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists, Confucians, and indigenous peoples. As matrix, the Church would no longer see members of other traditions as outside her life. She would promote the study of these traditions, seek common ground and parallel insights” (A Monk in the World, 2002, p. 54).
Like New Agers, Teasdale believed that interfaith unity is necessary for the world’s future:
“The Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Jew, the Jain, the Sikh, the Christian and the agnostic all belong to the same planetary environment. ... It is essential for the future for all the religious traditions to recognize this underlying unity” (“The Meeting of East and West: Elements of a Relationship,” Spirituality Today, Summer 1986).
Teasdale believed that mystical contemplation is the key to interspirituality and that this will unlock the door into the New Age.
“In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that” (Michael Tobias, A Parliament of Souls in Search of a Global Spirituality, 1995, p. 148).
Teasdale developed this agenda in the book The Mystic Heart: Finding a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions. The foreword was written by the Dalai Lama, who urged all religions to join forces to “create a more spiritually evolved and compassionate planet” (Amazon.com review).
Teasdale was involved in many interfaith organizations and projects the North American Board for East-West Dialogue, Common Ground (publisher of Interreligious Insight), and the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
He was well acquainted with the Dalai Lama and assisted the Dalai Lama and Thomas Keating and others in creating the Universal Declaration on Nonviolence to promote world peace based on the philosophy of the Hindu leader Gandhi (“Wayne Teasdale,” Wikipedia).
He helped found the Interspiritual Dialogue in Action (ISDnA), one of the many New Age organizations affiliated with the United Nations. (Its UN NGO sponsor is the National Service Conference of the American Ethical Union.) Its objective is to promote the “the Interspiritual Age,” and toward this end it is using three of the New Age tools, which are interfaith dialogue, education, and networking or community building. (See our book The New Age Tower of Babel, available from Way of Life Literature.) It is committed “to actively serve in the evolution of human consciousness and global transformation” (web site).
The ISDnA partners with One Spirit Learning Alliance and Interfaith Seminary in New York City to create a New Age educational curriculum. The curriculum combines the mystic interfaith doctrine of Teasdale with the New Age doctrine of Ken Wilber, Don Beck, and others. It promotes such things as evolution, reincarnation, the divinity of man, all religion as myth, the integration of science, psychology and religion, and the coming of a New Age. Courses titles include “Integral Spirituality: Exploring the Common Core of Human Wisdom” and “The Evolutionary Journey from Dirt to God.”
The One Spirit Learning Alliance and Interfaith Seminary defines God as a “vast presence of energy and intelligence.” It claims that all religions, at their core, “are committed to the common values of peace, tolerance, wisdom, compassionate service, and love for all creation.” It aims to develop an interfaith “spirituality” that will help build a new world. Its web site features symbols of all religions above the statement “We are all children of the one universe.” The One Spirit Interfaith Seminary is participating in a Cosmic Mass NYC scheduled for September 19, 2008. This is a multimedia worship experience that “celebrates the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine” and “the concept of Peace through the prism of many faith traditions.” It will begin at 7:30 sharp with “a procession of costumed dancers, jesters and celebrants” and will features “wild, rave-like dancing,” entering the sacred darkness and emerging into the energy of compassion, and being “anointed as prophets” and “sent out to join the dance of all creation.”
The previous is excerpted from our new book Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, which is available from Way of Life Literature. If it is not yet available through the online catalog, it can be ordered by phone or e-mail with a credit card.