Archive for the ‘CHILDREN AT RISK!’ Category
By Maria Kneas
(author of How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution and Strength for Tough Times)
I was the first Christian in my family. Around 1982, Mom and Dad (who were in their mid-sixties) began reading the Bible. They became so excited they eagerly devoured it. Dad would come running into the room saying, “Look at this!” and share a Scripture passage that really hit him.
As my parents shared their new-found enthusiasm for the Bible, their love bloomed. They enjoyed Prairie Home Companion, and when old timey music came on the radio, Dad would grab Mom and dance with her. He was always bringing her flowers from their garden.
They found a good church where the preaching was biblical. Dad’s enthusiasm for Scripture kept growing, and he got a master’s degree in Biblical Studies. For the rest of their lives, Mom and Dad read a lot of Scripture every day and often talked about it during meal time.
Sadly, times have changed. If Mom and Dad had discovered the Bible in 2014, they would probably have had difficulty finding a church with biblical preaching. And the last time I listened to Prairie Home Companion, the humor had become raunchy.
People on TV now boast about doing things you could have blackmailed them for thirty years ago. Previously “unthinkable” things are becoming commonplace.
This didn’t just happen by chance. I’m going to give you some disturbing information, accompanied by this biblical reminder. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). We should also do reasonable things to protect ourselves and to try to thwart their anti-Christian agenda, because Jesus told us to flee persecution when we can (Matthew 10:23). But that only applies if we can do it without denying our Lord (Matthew 10:32-33).
Humanism is the mortal enemy of Christianity. It denies the existence of God and opposes biblical morality.
Humanism says that man is basically good, but the Bible says we are all sinners who need a Savior. We need to have God change our hearts. We need to become children of God.
Dr. Brock Chisholm is a psychiatrist. He was the first Secretary-General of the United Nations’ World Health Organization. He demonstrated humanism’s antipathy to the idea that men need a Savior when he said:
For many generations we have bowed our necks to the yoke of the conviction of sin. We have swallowed all manner of poisonous certainties fed us by our parents.1
If the race is to be freed from its crippling burden of good and evil, it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility.2
Evidently, for Dr. Chisholm, “mental health” means being unable to become convicted of sin, and it also means being unable to recognize the difference between good and evil. According to American law, the inability to tell the difference between good and evil is the definition of “criminal insanity.”
Dr. Chisholm made these statements in 1946. Therefore, the United Nations has had many years to try to change every country in ways that make it more difficult for its citizens to recognize the difference between good and evil. That could explain a lot of the crazy things we see going on in the world today.
In America, humanism has been declared by the courts to be a tax-exempt religion.3 This religion is openly hostile to Christianity. Its antagonism can be seen in the following quotations from humanists:
The classroom must and will become the arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity . . . and the new faith of humanism.4
Some opponents of Humanism have accused us of wishing to overthrow the traditional Christian family. They are right. That is exactly what we intend to do.5
In 1933, The Humanist Manifesto was written, stating the beliefs and goals of humanism.6 One of the signers was John Dewey, who is called the “father of progressive education.” He revolutionized education in America. Dewey was determined to use the school system to promote humanism.7 Unfortunately, he succeeded.
For generations, American children have been taught humanist beliefs and values in public schools. Their Christian morals have been undermined by “values clarification” and other techniques.8 Thomas Sowell said:
The techniques of brainwashing developed in totalitarian countries are routinely used in psychological conditioning programs imposed on American school children.9
This results in radically changing the beliefs and moral values of the children. The brainwashing techniques result in “acceptance of alternative values by psychological rather than rational means.”10
In addition, there are people who call themselves atheists, but they hate God. (How can they hate somebody who doesn’t exist? At some level, they must know God is real.)
Look at the following quotation from 1977. The militant atheists have been working on this agenda for a long time now:
We must ask how we can kill the God of Christianity. We need only to insure that our schools teach only secular knowledge.11
With such overt hostility to Christianity from humanists and atheists, who use the public schools to promote their agenda, it is not surprising that America has gone downhill spiritually and morally. For example, when I was in high school (1958-1961), there were only a few girls who were not virgins, and everybody knew who they were. They had “a reputation.” Fast-forward forty years to the year 2000 when my nephew got married. He and his wife were both virgins, and that was so unusual that people made a big deal out of it.
To see the extent of the change that has taken place in the United States, look at Yale University. It was founded by ministers in 1701 in order to spread Christianity. All students were required to “live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word.” They were told to spend time in prayer and reading Scripture, both publicly and in private. The stated goal of their studies was “to know God in Jesus Christ” and “to lead a godly, sober life.”12
And what is Yale like today in modern America? In March 2013, students at Yale University attended a four-day workshop called “Sex Weekend.” This event was led by a “sexologist,” who gave the students “sensitivity training” in “sexual diversity.” The students were taught to accept homosexuality, sadomasochism, bestiality (sex with animals), incest, and prostitution. Over half of Yale’s students said they had engaged in “consensual pain” (sadomasochism), and three percent said they had sex with an animal.13
With humanists using the schools to try to undermine Christianity, it is not surprising that many people who were raised in Christian families do not share the faith of their parents and grandparents. According to one study, the majority of today’s young adults were involved in church and other Christian activities as teenagers. However, when they grew older, most of them became “spiritually disengaged.” Among young adults who had a Christian background, only one out of five “maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.”
This study also showed that three out of four American teenagers have engaged in “psychic or witchcraft-related activity.” (This does not include reading horoscopes and exposure to occult media.) One out of ten participated in a seance, and one out of twelve tried to cast a spell or mix a magic potion. More than a third used a Ouija board, and more than a third read a book about Wicca (a religion based on witchcraft and goddess worship).14 Occultism is becoming mainstream.
Things have now gotten to the point that there is a movement to normalize pedophilia. Instead of wanting to protect children from sexual predators, some psychologists and academics want to protect the sexual rights of pedophiles, which they have rebranded as being “minor-attracted persons” who have a sexual orientation that should be respected.15
As a result of America’s moral and spiritual free fall, we now see blatant hostility towards Christianity. For example, in 2001, a man in my church was sent to prison. Some of us visited him and asked if we could give him a magazine. The prison officials told us we could do that, as long as it came directly from the publisher and the magazine was “appropriate.” I asked them what “appropriate” meant and was told that pornography and violent material were not allowed.
We subscribed to a Christian magazine to be sent to him directly by the publisher. The prison refused that magazine and sent it back. Evidently, somebody at that prison considered Christian writings to be “inappropriate.” They treated it the same way they treat pornography, by refusing to let him have it.
I talked about this with a friend from church whose son was in prison. She told me her son was not allowed to have a Bible. His prison was full of Muslim literature and Wiccan writings, but Bibles were not allowed.
Some persecution takes the form of pressuring people to do things contrary to their religious convictions. For example, a Catholic nurse was forced to assist in performing an abortion. If she refused, she would be fired. She complied, but regrets it and is now suing the hospital. This is part of a larger problem. The ACLU is trying to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.16
Sixty-three businesses have lawsuits about provisions in ObamaCare that would force them to go against their religious convictions. One attorney said:
The United States government is taking the remarkable position that private individuals lose their religious freedom when they make a living.17
Jack Phillips is a Christian baker from Denver, Colorado. He politely refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple, saying he would be happy to bake things for them “for any other occasion.” There were demonstrations outside his shop, and he received so many death threats he called the police. Then the couple charged him with discrimination. The judge ruled that if he refuses to make wedding cakes for homosexual marriages, he will be fined, and he might be sent to prison. The baker said he would rather go to jail than violate his religious beliefs.18
Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin are Christians and the owners of Elane Photography. In 2006, they turned down a request to do wedding photos for a same-sex marriage. This case went all the way to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which ruled against them. One of the judges said the Huegenins are “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” Their attorney said:
If Elane Photographer does not have her rights of conscience protected, then basically nobody does. Americans are now on notice that the price of doing business is their freedom.19
If such things can be done to bakers and photographers and florists, then what will happen to pastors and other religious clergy who refuse to marry homosexual couples? What will happen to freedom of religion?
Using the courts to try to force people to endorse homosexuality is done by militant homosexual activists. These radical activists want to force everybody else to actively support what they are doing.
In contrast, that baker had turned down requests for wedding cakes from a number of other homosexual couples who respected his right to see things differently than they do. They just quietly looked for another baker who would be happy to get their business.
When I was a freshman in college (1961-1962), I had a friend there named Jessica. She was bisexual. Back then, I had never heard that term before. I didn’t even know that such a thing existed before I became friends with her.
She was desperately looking for love and had become promiscuous. Men would use her and treat her like trash. When that became too painful, then Jessica would turn to women. But then she would get hurt by them and go back to men again. It was a cycle of pain, going back and forth between men and women and getting hurt by them all.
Jessica was a sweet, vulnerable girl, and her heart was broken by so many people. I wish I could have helped her back then, but I didn’t know how. If Jessica married a lesbian, she would never try to force a baker to make a wedding cake for her. She cared about other people, and respected them.
I’ve often thought about Jessica over the years and prayed for her. I hope she found the Lord.
During the 2014 U.S. government shutdown, the military chaplains were banned from performing any kind of services or ministry on military bases. They were not even allowed to minister as volunteers (which would not have cost the Pentagon a penny), and they were threatened with arrest if they did any ministry on base. Congressman Tim Huelskamp said:
Time and time again this Administration demonstrates it is waging a war against the very religious freedoms upon which America was founded.20
Obviously, this had nothing to do with saving money, because the chaplains offered to serve for free as volunteers. In addition, it costs money to arrest people and hold them in jail, and it is expensive to have lawyers prosecute them. So this was overt persecution of Christians. And it was done by our government to the men and women who risk life and limb in order to protect our nation and who also risk having post-traumatic stress, which is very difficult to live with.
The Pentagon has threatened to court martial soldiers who share their faith. This includes military chaplains.21
On March 21, 2014, the Family Research Council published a report titled A Clear and Present Danger: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military. It is 21 pages long and very thoroughly documented. You can get a free PDF file of it online.22
There have been some cases where American Christians have been murdered for their faith. On September 15, 1999, there was a rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. A gunman entered the church and methodically shot Christians who were attending the service and then shot himself. Seven people died and others were critically wounded. The gunman was shouting, cursing Christianity, and cursing the Christians for believing it. The FBI found anti-Christian writings in his home.23
However, in spite of this evidence, when CBS and CNN reported the shooting, they were “unable to assign any motive to the shooter.”24 Why? Because it is not politically correct to portray Christians as being persecuted. The mainstream media avoids such stories or else covers them in ways that omit or deny the element of persecution.
I found out about that twenty years ago when I learned that Christians in Sudan were being slaughtered by Muslims. I contacted every newspaper I knew to tell them about it. None of them responded, with one exception. One reporter told me, “I wish I could write about it.” So evidently he wanted to cover the story but was not allowed to.
On April 20, 1999, two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado shot and killed twelve of their classmates and a teacher, and wounded 23 other people. They also killed themselves. They asked three Christian girls if they believed in God and killed them when they said “Yes.” The girls were Cassie Bernall, Rachel Scott, and Valeen Schnurr. Rachel had shared her Christian faith with the boys several weeks earlier. (Some classmates overheard the conversation.) The boys made a video in which they cursed Jesus Christ and cursed Christians. They singled Rachel Scott out for an insulting tirade, mocking her by name.25
I read about the shootings in the newspaper, but those reports didn’t mention the element of persecuting Christian students. It took me years to find out about that, and I got the information from a story on a Christian website about Rachel Scott’s father. I never heard anything about it from the mainstream media. Did you?
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light . . . But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest. (John 3:19-21)
(This is an excerpt from Maria Kneas’ book How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution)
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Earth Day and a Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World by Carl Teichrib is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Earth Day and a Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World, click here.
Earth Day and a Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World
More than 6 million Canadians join 500 million people in over 180 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues. Nearly every school child in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity.1—Earth Day Canada
Earth is more than just a spaceship. She is our Mother. She gave us life. There is nowhere else to go but to stay and love her.2—Reader’s comment regarding John Kerry’s Earth Day blog
Just as in olden days, the earth has become the focal point for worship. In Grecian times, the supreme Earth deity was Gaia, also known as the Universal Mother. Sacred oaths were given in her name, and worshippers performed rituals in her honor.3 One commentator tells us:
The classic artistic representation of Gaia is a woman emerging breast-high from the earth. The goddess arises but never leaves her planetary body. Visceral rites, including plant, animal, and (presumably ecstatic) human sacrifice as well as unabashed sexual ceremonies were held to adore the goddess’s fecundity.4
In our contemporary era, Earth Day has become the modern celebration of Gaia. Partakers of this event, whether aware of it or not, play off the ancient pagan beliefs of a Universal Mother. Like the sacred oaths taken in her name, today’s Earth Day celebrants sign environmental petitions, make pledges, and announce resolutions in support of Mother Earth. And like the old sacrifices to the deity, today’s Earth Day practitioners offer sacrifices of “good works” to the planet. Not only is the earth a deity to be venerated, but the earth itself—as the representative and embodiment of the goddess—has become a modern-day idol.
Do all who engage in Earth Day festivities realize the connections between this event and the ancient pagan deity? Some do, especially those who take a neo-pagan position; but many are unaware, thinking it’s a family-oriented way to engage in environmental conservation. Much good is done during Earth Day, such as cleaning up stream beds or planting trees—but that’s not the issue. Motivated by good intentions, scores of individuals (including professing Christians) participate without ever considering what Earth Day is actually about or the philosophies that underpin the movement.
James Coburn, the American actor (deceased in 2002), understood the overt pagan linkages. Consider his 1990 interview with journalist Caryl Matrisciana during the Malibu Beach Earth Day festival:
Caryl Matrisciana: “Mr. Coburn, why should we care about Earth Day or Mother Earth?”
James Coburn: “Mother Earth is our Mother! She’s the Mother Goddess. She’s the one that we should be praising rather than raping. I mean all of these people here today are here for one reason: Because they’re concerned about what’s happening to the earth—what mankind is doing to the earth. I mean the negative emotions we carry around, a lot of us, is another contributor to it; it feeds the Moon. [Author’s Note: the Moon is significant in pagan circles.]
“What we have to do is be true to ourselves. If we’re true to ourselves we’ll be true to Mother Earth. Mother Earth’s going to be bountiful; she’s going to give us everything we need. She has for a long time.
“We’ve lost our way. The pagans used to know how to do it. And the Indians, some of them still remember how to do it.
“The Earth is a living organism. We’re killing the one we love the most, and she loves us. We’ve got to praise our Mother Goddess!”5
When Earth Day was first inaugurated in 1970, Newsweek called the event “a bizarre nationwide rain dance.”6 The New York Times, however, said it was an idea “whose time has come because life is running out.” Earth, and the race of mankind, needed to be saved “from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”7
Now, decades later, corporate sponsorships pay for community Earth Day events. Federal and local governments spend tax dollars in promotion of April 22nd, and a myriad of grassroots organizations add energy to the cause. It’s an event that captures the attention of local and national media outlets, politicians of every stripe, and fuels the imagination of school children everywhere. From the automotive giant Toyota8 to every urban center in North America, from the United Nations to the National Council of Churches9—Earth Day is far more than a bizarre rain dance; it’s a platform for global citizenship and Earth loyalties.
Earth Day is Born
The idea for Earth Day goes back to 1962 and Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Convinced that environmental issues needed greater exposure, Nelson suggested to President Kennedy that he embark on a “national conservation tour.” The following year, Kennedy went on a five-day excursion promoting environmental conservation, but it never generated the political interest Nelson was hoping for. However, according to the Senator, “it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.”10
Only a few years later, during the height of the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, Senator Nelson hit on the idea of a national educational event to create environmental awareness—the “first national environmental teach-in.” This event, planned for April 22, 1970, was to be styled after the war protest movement, and it was aimed at capturing the interest and energy of young people—a generation going through one of the largest cultural shifts in the history of the United States. Not surprisingly, Nelson’s first Earth Day speech reflected this cultural shift, boasting that April 22 was to be the “birth date of a new American ethic that rejects the frontier philosophy that the continent was put here for our plunder . . .”11
Decades after the initial event, Nelson’s assistant who coordinated the Earth Day national teach-in campaign, Denis Hayes, told an interviewer that: “We consciously set out to build a movement to bring America back together, and let everyone under the umbrella with a shared set of values.”12
New ethics and a common set of values were to guide this movement and act as the inspiration for college students in their environmental advocacy. Remember, this was 1970, and the students of that era represent a wide swath of today’s political, business, academic, and religious leadership. Senator Nelson understood the potential power of tapping the nation’s youth.
Helping to make this inaugural Earth Day a success, a special book of essays was compiled through Friends of the Earth and distributed nationwide to teachers and professors. Titled, The Environmental Handbook: Prepared for the First National Environmental Teach-In, April 22, 1970, this volume introduced a new set of social ideals that would point America to a better world. Tens of thousands of copies were distributed, and twenty million young people across the U.S. celebrated what was to become a global movement: Earth Day.
But what of those values laid out in The Environmental Handbook? Were they based on the core Judeo-Christian tenets of Western thought and law? Did they support common sense conservation: erosion control, maintaining a balanced wildlife population, curbing toxic pollutants, or stemming the tide of invasive species?
Pollution was addressed, with a population control twist. Land use was also discussed, while demeaning “conventional cattle ranching.”
Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, contributed the following doomsday scenario to ignite impressionable minds: By 1973, air pollution would be choking cities, causing single-event smog disasters with death tolls in the hundreds of thousands—all heralding the advent of a global air-quality collapse that would make the “planet uninhabitable” sometime before 1990. By the mid-seventies, the U.S. grain belt would be turning into the great Mid-western desert, wiping out food stocks. During this time period, Ehrlich speculated, America’s resource sector would be collapsing, and a national “family planning” program would have to be set up alongside an international agenda to curb the human population. By the summer of 1979, the world’s oceans would be dead and all sea-based animal life extinct.13
For high-school and college students participating in the first Earth Day, this future-tense story would have had a chilling effect. As Mr. Ehrlich explained, “A pretty grim scenario. Unfortunately, we’re a long way into it already.”14
Does any of this sound familiar? “Warming may trigger agricultural collapse,” so reported the Inter-Press Service in 2007.15 “Fish stocks could collapse because of global warming,” announced an Associated Press article in 2008.16 Professor John Brignell, an author and social researcher, posted his observations regarding climate change and fear:
Got a problem? Blame global warming! From allergies to maple syrup shortages to yellow fever: apparently every contemporary ill is caused by climate change.17
Brignell’s website lists no less than 300 alleged problems, or pseudo-problems, attributed to global warming. This documented list includes crabgrass, kidney stones, inflation in China, invasions of jellyfish and giant oysters, the Loch Ness monster dying, fish getting lost, an upcoming Ice Age, conflict with Russia, sour grapes and stronger wine, farms going under, (and farm output boosted), the Atlantic becoming more salty, (and less salty), smog, terrorism, fainting, and smaller brains. The way so many are acting these days, I tend to believe this last one.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Is this a scare tactic for global transformation? Consider the following quotes:
During any “issue-attention-cycle” in environmental campaigning, there is a phase in which the issue needs to be strategically exaggerated in order to establish it firmly on an agenda for action.18—International Institute for Sustainable Development
We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have.19—Professor Stephen Schneider
No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits . . . climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.20—Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of Environment
“Collateral environmental benefits . . . ?” This is questionable at best; so much so that over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition that challenged the human-caused global warming line and openly suggested that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide may have benefits.21 Moreover, “justice” and “equality” are legal and social issues—not atmospheric. Again, this points to the heart of the matter: social transformation.
But scare tactics are effective. They leave the masses wondering: How can the human race reverse our imminent environmental demise? What can be done to save Mother Earth?
According to the first Earth Day and The Environmental Handbook, we can start by placing the blame on Christianity and Western values, and then adopt pagan and radical socialist solutions. Consider the following quotes from The Environmental Handbook. Keep in mind that this text established the ethical ideals of a new Earth reality and set the tone for the first Earth Day and subsequent celebrations.
Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions . . . not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.
At the level of the common people this worked out in an interesting way. In antiquity every tree, every spring, every stream, every hill had its own genius loci, its guardian spirit. These spirits were accessible to men . . . Before one cut a tree, mined a mountain, or dammed a brook, it was important to placate the spirit in charge of that particular situation, and to keep it placated. By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects. (p.20-21, Lynn White Jr.)
What we do about ecology depends on our ideas of the man-nature relationship. More science and more technology are not going to get us out of our present ecological crisis until we find a new religion, or rethink our old one. (p.24, Lynn White Jr.)
No new set of basic values has been accepted in our society to displace those of Christianity. Hence we shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man. (p.25, Lynn White Jr.)
Both our present science and our present technology are so tinctured with orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature that no solution for our ecologic crisis can be expected from them alone. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not. (p.26, Lynn White Jr.)
What was it that enabled Eskimo shamen, their minds a product of the taiga, tundra, and sea ice, to travel on spirit journeys under the ocean and to talk with the fishes and the potent beings who lived on the bottom? How did the shamen develop the hypnotic power they employed in their séances? What can we learn from the shamen who survive about thought transference and ESP? The answers are in the arctic wilderness still left to us.
Wilderness is a bench mark, a touchstone. . . . New perspectives come out of the wilderness. Jesus, Zoroaster, Moses, and Mohammed went to the wilderness and came back with messages. . . . This handbook, and the teach-in it serves, have their beginnings in wilderness. (p. 148, Kenneth Brower)
Freedom to breed is intolerable. (p.41, Garrett Hardin)
No technical solution can rescue us from the misery of overpopulation. Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all. . . . The only way we can preserve and nuture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed. (p.49, Garrett Hardin)
[I]t is sinful for anybody to have more than two children. It has long since become glaringly evident that unless the earth’s cancerous growth of population can be halted, all other problems—poverty, war, racial strife, uninhabitable cities, and the rest—are beyond solution. (p.139, John Fischer)
Stabilizing the U.S. population should be declared a national policy. Immediate steps should be taken to: 1. Legalize voluntary abortion and sterilization and provide these services free. 2. Remove all restrictions on the provision of birth control information and devices; provide these services free to all, including minors. 3. Make sex education available to all appropriate levels, stressing birth control practices and the need to stabilize the population. (pp.317-318, Keith Murray)
Explore other social structures and marriage forms, such as group marriage and polyandrous marriage, which provide family life but may produce less children. Share the pleasure of raising children widely, so that all need not directly reproduce to enter into this basic human experience. We must hope that no one woman would give birth to more than one child. (p.324, Four Changes section)
On Nations and Economies:
Nations . . . must be phased out as quickly as possible and replaced with tribal or regional autonomous economies. (p.6, Keith Lampe)
Interdependence of course can be sustained only in a context of cooperation, so competition (capitalism) must be phased out and replaced with cooperative economic models. (pp.6-7, Keith Lampe)
Looking beyond our borders, our students will be encouraged to ask even harder questions. Are nation-states actually feasible, now that they have the power to destroy each other in a single afternoon? Can we agree on something else to take their place, before the balance of terror becomes unstable? What price would most people be willing to pay for a more durable kind of human organization—more taxes, giving up national flags, perhaps the sacrifice of some of our hard-won liberties? (p. 145, John Fisher)
On Global Transformation:
Nothing short of total transformation will do much good. What we envision is a planet on which the human population lives harmoniously and dynamically by employing a sophisticated and unobtrusive technology in a world environment which is “left natural” . . . Cultural and individual pluralism, unified by a type of world tribal council. (p.330, Four Changes section)
It seems evident that there are throughout the world certain social and religious forces which have worked through history toward an ecologically and culturally enlightened state of affairs. Let these be encouraged: Gnostics, hip Marxists, Teilhard de Chardin Catholics, Druids, Taoists, Biologists, Witches, Yogins, Bhikkus, Quakers, Sufis, Tibetans, Zens, Shamans, Bushmen, American Indians, Polynesians, Anarchists, Alchemists . . . the list is long. All primitive cultures, all communal and ashram movements. Since it doesn’t seem practical or even desirable to think that direct bloody force will achieve much, it would be best to consider this a continuing “revolution of consciousness” which will be won not by guns but by seizing the key images, myths, archetypes, eschatologies, and ectasies [sic] so that life won’t seem worth living unless one’s on the transforming energy’s side. (p.331, Four Changes)
The message is clear. In order to save the world, we need to drastically change our present religious, political, economic, and social structures. We need to significantly re-shape society towards a New Age world-view where nature supersedes all, where political and economic structures morph into a type of ecological communism, where the cancer of human growth undergoes radical surgery, and where education and religion are indelibly altered to serve Mother Earth.
This is the essence of Earth Day. It’s the embracing of massive religious and social changes—the sacrifice of our “orthodox Christian arrogance” so that Gaia can be healed and humanity saved. It’s the clarion call of One World. Gaia Rescue, a project of Earth Day 2008, brings this into focus:
To correct this problem we’re going to have to act as a planet, not separately as groups or countries. It will take all of Gaia’s children to save her from the mistakes we’ve already made.22
Gaia is Mad!
If we don’t correct our mistakes, if we don’t change our values, behaviors, ethics, and beliefs—Mother Earth is going to take matters into her own hands. This is the current eco-philosophy fad. Human beings are a blight, and Gaia is going to cleanse herself unless we become good global citizens and respect the Universal Mother.
This is the message of the Dalai Lama:
Until now . . . Mother Earth has somehow tolerated sloppy house habits. But now human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where Mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence. In many ways she is now telling us, “My children are behaving badly.” She is warning us that there are limits to our actions.23
Meanwhile, movies such as The Happening depict Mother Earth striking back against Mankind—chemically inducing humans to commit suicide in order to clean up the people problem. Another Hollywood propaganda piece, The Day the Earth Stood Still, has watchful aliens descending on the planet to save failing Mother Earth from the cancer of humanity. During the last part of the movie, the main characters come to the realization that they must evolve at the global level in order to avert planetary disaster. Many other movies, documentaries, and television shows present a similar message. Man must change, or Gaia will deal harshly with us.
This is also the prognosis of British geophysicist James Lovelock, who wrote the 1979 book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. This volume spurred on the “modern,” pseudo-scientific Gaia theory of Earth as a living construct. More recently, his 2006 book The Revenge of Gaia, paints a picture of a planet suffering from a crippling fever—Global Warming—and that Mother Earth is fighting for her existence against the destructive capacity of humankind.
Not surprisingly, this line of thinking is found laced throughout the online deep ecology and Gaia community. Blog and on-line articles proclaim that Mother Earth is growing madder by the minute.
The reasons why there are so many natural disasters and severe weather changes, is because Mother Earth is angry with the people.24
The earth is parched. There is not enough water. Fires will rage. Some things are beyond the control of humans. Mother earth is angry, showing us the limits to our power. Let us learn from her.25
Hmmm . . . Maybe a little party would make her happy.
A Secular Holiday?
Ironically, Earth Day is considered “the largest secular holiday in the world.”26 Yet there is little secular about it. Rather, a variety of spiritual activities take place; from Mother Earth rituals to multi-faith sunrise services, from interfaith Earth gatherings to spring meditations and “Earth Prayers” such as the one suggested here:
Mother, Father, God, Universal Power
Remind us daily of the sanctity of all life.
Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation
As we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet.
Penetrate our souls with the beauty of this earth,
As we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons.
Awaken our minds with the knowledge
To achieve a world in perfect harmony
And grant us the wisdom to realize
That we can have heaven on earth.27
Unfortunately, many Christian congregations across North America have jumped on the bandwagon of Earth Day transformation—some out of naivety, others with full consent and complicity. One example is San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. During the 2001 Earth Day, Grace held an interfaith song-celebration for the planet:
The music will be an eclectic blend of the world’s musical traditions. Tibetan temple bells will blend with the Cathedral Organ. Vocal performances will range from Native American and Muslim Chants to Spirituals and Choral canticles. Representatives from a diverse range of religious paths will participate in the festivities, including Native American, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, and Christian.28
Over the years, Grace Cathedral has been a beacon for comprehensive religious transformation, and has done much to promote a contemporary global-spiritual model, such as helping to birth the United Religions Initiative.
The United Church of Canada is another example. During the last twenty years, the United Church denomination has been considered a Canadian trend-setter in “progressively left” Christian thought. This denomination has also been viewed as a social pillar by academics, political figures, and other leading personalities. Here’s part of a responsive reading for an Earth-centered worship service:
Speaking to the Earth Community, we say: Brothers and Sisters in Creation, we covenant this day with you, with all Creation yet to be, and with the Creator. With every living creature and all that contains and sustains you.
All: With all that is on Earth and with the Earth itself.29
Alarmingly, it doesn’t seem to matter if a church is “right” or “left” in its general outlook. Congregations and denominations that have been historically conservative are focusing on the earth as a point of service too.
In February 2009, I had a chance to visit with some relatives who attend an evangelical church long recognized for its stalwart stand in proclaiming the Gospel. But things have changed. Instead of messages focusing on the truths of God’s Word, sermons have taken an overt ecological edge. Although not promoting Earth-centric beliefs like the United Church—“we covenant this day . . . with the Earth itself”—the teachings highlighted typical environmental themes: Global Warming, the eco-problems supposedly caused by man, and the need to change consumption patterns and social behaviours. Does this remind you of anything?
Like hundreds of other pastors and churches across North America, naivety to the true intent of deep ecology and its message of global transformation is undercutting Christian-based values right in the church itself.
Does this mean that Christians shouldn’t be concerned about the environment? Not at all. However, a healthy biblical approach is needed—one that recognizes the rightful place of man in tending, managing, and using the earth, not one in which man is servant to a planetary master made in the image of the United Nations or some other globally inspired environmental agency. Sadly, pastors and congregations around the world are parroting the message of Earth Day and the leaders of global environmental governance.
The quest to involve the Christian community in Earth Day celebrations is especially significant. Not only do individual churches promote Earth Day as a special event, the Earth Day Network (EDN) specifically targets the “faith community” in the hopes that influential religious leaders will move the global agenda forward. And EDN has some clout.
The Earth Day Network is a group that arose from the original Earth Day in 1970. Today, the organization’s International Council is comprised of some of the world’s most influential globalists:
Lester Brown, Worldwatch.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director of the World Health Organization. Robert Kennedy Jr., Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defence Council.
Gus Speth, former UN Development Programme official.
Maurice Strong, President of the Earth Council and former UN Special Advisor.
David Suzuki, Canada’s leading environmentalist.
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme.30
Presently, EDN works hard to promote their Communities of Faith Climate Campaign, a Global Warming/Earth Day educational platform targeting religious groups. In fact, the EDN faith-based website has the motto “Earth Day: Something We Can All Believe In.”31
In 2007, EDN reached out to the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities by creating “12,000 sermons and religious events” to empower religious leaders for Earth Day goals. EDN took this a step further during Earth Day 2008 by activating “500,000 parishioners” to support climate change legislation. Many churches also pledged to join EDN for “Earth Day Sunday” in 2008, focusing on climate change and saving the earth during their Sunday services.32
In 2009, the Earth Day Network kicked off their Green Generation campaign, which engaged students, churches, and communities in pressuring the world to adopt a new global climate treaty. Moreover, this campaign continued until 2010 with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Paradoxically, what originally started as a movement to intentionally place Earth on a pedestal while demonizing Christianity, nationalism, and human populations—all focused on driving America’s youth to a pagan, socialist utopia—has now been embraced by churches far-and-wide. Furthermore, by hosting and supporting Earth-centered and interfaith services, churches actually contribute to the systemic attack on biblical values.
Gaia must be smiling—after all, the party is in her honor.
To order copies of Earth Day and a Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World, click here.
1. Earth Day Canada FAQ, www.earthday.ca/pub/resources/faqs.php. Economic support for the Earth Day Canada organization comes from a wide array of sponsors, such as Environment Canada (government), The Discovery Channel, Panasonic Canada, Sony, and a host of other groups, including Canada’s largest banking institutions.
2. John Kerry’s blog site and responses, http://blog.johnkerry.com/2007/04/please_take_care_of_spaceship.html.
3. Books consulted on Gaia include: The Life of Greece by Will Durant; Occidental Mythology: The Masks of God by Joseph Campbell; Magick of the Gods and Goddesses by D.J. Conway; Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George (an overview of the Goddess cultus from the perspective of the dark Goddess—this book, like Magick of the Gods and Goddesses, is a pagan work); The Gods who Walk Among Us by Thomas R. Horn and Donald C. Jones (parallels ancient religions to modern paganismwritten from a Christian perspective); Goddess Earth by Samantha Smith (a Christian exposé of the goddess/environmental movement); Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt (a Christian exposé on occultism, including the Gaia movement). I also consulted a host of websites on Grecian mythology, goddess worship, and the Gaia movement, along with works on the Gaia hypothesis such as Gaia by James Lovelock (this is the book that kick started the “scientific” Gaia hypothesis of a Living Earth); Gaia: The Growth of an Idea by Lawrence E. Joseph (on the history of Gaia and the Gaia hypothesis); and Saviors of the Earth by Michael S. Coffman (Christian exposé of the environmental movement, with material on the Gaia concept).
4. Lawrence E. Joseph, Gaia: The Growth of an Idea (St. Martin’s Press, 1990), p.226.
5. This interview is part of the documentary, Earth’s Two-Minute Warning, narrated by Caryl Matrisciana of Caryl Productions.
6. See Bill Christofferson’s book, The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004), p. 6.
7. Ibid., p. 6.
8. For more on the Toyota, Canada, Earth Day program, go to http://www.earthday.ca/scholarship.
10. Senator Gaylord Nelson, “How the First Earth Day Came About” (EnviroLink, http://earthday.envirolink.org/history.html).
11. Bill Christofferson, The Man from Clear Lake, op. cit., p. 7.
12. Ibid., p. 305.
13. See Paul R. Ehrlich’s essay, “Eco-Catastrophe!,” The Environmental Handbook: Prepared for the First National Environmental Teach-In (Ballantine/Friends of the Earth, 1970, edited by Garrett de Bell), pp. 161-176.
14. Ibid., p. 174.
15. Abid Aslam, “Environment: Warming May Trigger Agricultural Collapse”(IPS, September 12, 2007).
16. “UN Report says fish stocks could collapse because of global warming, pollution” (Associated Press, February 22, 2008).
17. Professor John Brignell’s website is http://www.numberwatch.co.uk.
18. Empowerment for Sustainable Development: Toward Operational Strategies (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1995), p. 51.
19. Stephen Schneider, Professor of Biology and Global Change, Stanford University (as printed in Trashing the Planet by Dixie Lee Ray, p. 167).
20. Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, December 14, 1998.
21. The documentary, Global Warming or Global Governance, provides some very compelling evidence regarding carbon dioxide benefits. See also, the Petition Project (www.petitionproject.org) for the names of over 31,000 scientists.
22. Gaia Rescue, http://web.archive.org/web/20090321153732/http://gaiarescue.com.
23. Dalai Lama, as printed in Only One Earth (United Nations Environmental Programme, 2000), p. 61.
24. http://rainbowmotherearth.ning.com (this website no longer active).
26. EcoSmart, “The Origins of Earth Day” (Earth Love Movement, April 14, 2008, http://www.articlesbase.com/environment-articles/the-origins-of-earth-day-386630.html).
27. Jo Poore, Earth Prayer (to be used on Earth Day) (Celebrations of Spring, Electronic Newsletter, April 15, 2004, http://web.archive.org/web/20061111094434/http://www.faith-commongood.net/news/letter.asp?ID=1).
28. Grace Cathedral news release, “A Song of Creation: An Interfaith Earth Day Celebration at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco” (http://web.archive.org/web/20061124225152/http://www.ewire.com/display.cfm/Wire_ID/175).
29. United Church of Canada, Enough for All Worship Resource, p. 10.
30. EDN International Council, http://web.archive.org/web/20080821123152/http://earthday.net/node/64.
31. Earth Day Network, Earth Day: Something We Can All Believe In, http://web.archive.org/web/20080820193215/http://www.earthday.net/node/73.
To order copies of Earth Day and a Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World, click here.
Cover photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission. Cover design and interior design by Lighthouse Trails. Scripture verses in this booklet are taken from the King James Bible.
If our action in keeping men out of women’s bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it.— North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Dan Forest
By the Editors at Christian News Network
(Reuters) — PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) on Tuesday canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area after the state passed a controversial law targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.
The law, which overturned a Charlotte city ordinance, was widely interpreted as an attack on LGBT rights. State lawmakers also voted to prohibit local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Click here to continue reading.
Twenty five years ago Caryl Matrisciana and Roger Oakland came out with their co-authored book The Evolution Conspiracy. The book was published by Harvest House. While the creation/evolution debate was important back then, it is substantially more vital today. The western world’s push to have evolution taught in every public school and secular college has been successful, and unbeknownst to most, the effects of this invasion of evolutionary thinking have completely changed the morality and the spirituality of our present-day society. Thus, Lighthouse Trails is very pleased to announce that we have just gone to press with an updated expanded edition of this important book. This new edition also includes an updated foreword by Dr. John Morris, President Emeritus of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).
The book will be back from press in 3-4 weeks. You may pre-order your copy today and will receive it the first week of May. Below is the Table of Contents, listing chapters and sub-headings, in which you will see how relevant this book is for today. We believe every Christian family should read this book. Don’t send your children or grandchildren into the world without them having a solid understanding of creationism vs. evolution and how the “evolution conspiracy” has affected the world and even the church.
Table of Contents
PART 1—The Hidden Agenda
Chapter 1/Satan’s Most Lethal Weapon 15
Poison at the Roots 18
Calling Evolution’s Hand 20
The Conspiracy Unveiled 21
The Call to Arms 23
Chapter 2/Seducing the Masses 25
Museums for the Masses 26
Silent Brainwashing 28
Media Madness 31
Signs of the Times 32
Indoctrinating the Sightseers 33
Chapter 3/Decades of Dinosaurs 35
Summer Fun 38
Enticing Attractions 39
Dinosaur Movies 40
Death of the Dinosaur 41
Chapter 4/Changing the Value of Human Life 45
Denying God’s Handiwork 46
Christians and the Moral Landslide 48
Absolutely No Absolutes 50
Beyond Human Dignity 51
Death Rites 53
Evolution’s Sacred Cows 56
Chapter 5/Agenda for Delusion 59
The French Connection 60
England’s Quiet Struggle 61
New Ideas About Earth’s Age 63
Evolutionary Sabotage 64
Center Stage 65
Earthshaking Books 68
Making Agnosticism Respectable 69
Theological Complications 69
Darwin’s Bulldog 72
The Church Compromise 73
Spreading Evolution Abroad 74
Evolution and Catholicism 76
Teilhard de Chardin’s “Spiritual Evolution” 76
Evolution’s Legacy 78
PART II—The Case for A Creator
Chapter 6/The Search for Proof 81
Testing the Models 84
Models, Not Theories 86
From Nonlife to Life 87
Hostile Opposition 88
“Inspired Guesses” 88
Spontaneous Generation 89
Complexities of Life 91
Not a Chance! 94
Design Without a Designer 96
Chapter 7/Missing Links 99
The Progression of Life 101
Clues to the Past 102
Missing Links Still Missing 103
What’s a Missing Link? 106
A Whale of a Tale 108
Archaeopteryx: Spreading Its Evolutionary Wings 110
Crossopterygian: Finding the Fountain of Youth 112
Simple Horse Sense 113
Monkey Business 113
Nebraska Man 115
“Lucy”—The Woman Who Shook Man’s Family Tree 115
Back to the Creation Model 118
Chapter 8/God’s Grand Design 121
A Matter of Life and Death 124
Holding Firm to the Faith 126
God’s Vengeful Adversary 128
Parenting in a Deceptive Age 130
PART III—Molding the Modern Mind
Chapter 9/Children at Risk 133
Creeping into the Schools 134
The Scopes Trial 134
Humanism Joins the Evolution Conspiracy 135
Humanism’s Ongoing Battle Against God 137
Evolutionary Advances in the Classroom 138
The Creationism Movement 140
The Threat to Humanism 143
Fanning the Flames 144
Pesky Creationists 145
Chapter10/Onward Evolutionary Soldiers 147
Defending the Evolutionary Faith 150
Mass Mailings 152
Revealing Polls 155
Legal Challenges to Creationism 158
Harassment Toward Creationism 161
One at a Time 163
PART IV—The Global Search for Spirituality
Chapter 11/A Quantum Leap into the New Age 169
Mysticism Goes Mainstream 171
Finding the Higher Self 173
Food for Thought 174
Digging up the Past 175
The Deceptive Promise of Godhood 176
Every Man a God 179
Evolution and Mother Earth 182
Satan’s Final Strategy 185
The Kingdom, Here and Now 188
The Infinite Wisdom of God 190
Chapter 12/Eternity in the Wings 191
Unconquerable God 193
A Love Story 196
Our Beloved Bridegroom 199
Appendix A—The Grand Canyon’s Mysteries 203
In Search of a New World 205
The Meaning of Grand Canyon’s Names 205
Gods and Goddesses in the Grand Canyon 208
Freemasonry at the Grand Canyon 211
Appendix B—An Explosion That Shook the World 215
Appendix C—Darwin Was Right . . . 217
Photo Credits 241
More Resources on Creationism 242
About the Authors 243
Other Resources 244
Click here to pre-order your copy of The Evolution Conspiracy.
This global agenda [Common Core] is far more intrusive, demanding, and dangerous to Christian families than most of us can imagine.—Berit Kjos, author of A Common Core for a Global Community
LTRP Note: The following is posted for informational purposes. Because Lighthouse Trails is an advocate for children in a number of areas (education, New Age, sexual abuse, etc), we believe parents need to know about Common Core. You may watch the video of the documentary discussed in this press release below (keep in mind, HSLDA interviewed some people who were promoting Common Core to show how the defense is being presented, but HSLDA is not promoting those views). Lighthouse Trails is not affiliated with HSLDA but appreciates the work they do in defending the rights of parents to homeschool their children in the U.S. If you want more information about Common Core, please read Berit Kjos’ important booklet A Common Core for a Global Community and share it with those you know who have school-age children.
PURCELLVILLE, Va., March 31, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The Home School Legal Defense Association today released its highly-anticipated documentary Building the Machine, a film that investigates the Common Core State Standards Initiative and how it will affect the American education system.
HSLDA has been opposing Common Core since 2009 and, as public concern over the standards grew, HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris decided that creating a film about the standards would be the best way to make information about Common Core widely available.
Mike Smith, president of HSLDA, says that this film is the first of its kind and will change the conversation. “Homeschooling has shown us that an individualized education is the best thing for a child,” he said. “Common Core is the complete opposite of that. Our hope is that the film will cause a ‘great awakening’ and that parents will question the one-size-fits-all education reform being implemented behind closed doors.” Click here to continue reading this press release from HSLDA.
By Lois Putnam
Imagine the shock and confusion recently when a friend went to see the kids’ movie The Good Dinosaur, and was met with the short Sanjay’s Super Team. Without warning, or explanation this wordless seven minute film burst on the screen showing what appeared to be an Indian boy in front of a TV, and his father worshipping before an open shrine (see clip). What was this film all about with its scary idols and an evil monster? How in the world did this connect with the movie The Good Dinosaur? None of it made sense!
And none of it would make sense until further research gave the answers. As many are aware, some Disney movies are preceded by an entertaining animated film done by Pixar. But this preview short was decidedly different, and had an apparent agenda. So what was this agenda, and why this short?
For a quick answer one can turn to Wikipedia’s Sanjay’s Super Team. This article tells us this mini-film was directed by Pixar animator Sanjay Patel, and produced by Nicole Grindle. The film was Patel’s own story about his conflicts and problems growing up in a Hindu family in which he had to participate in his father’s daily Hindu meditations. To counteract this, Patel, as a boy, chose to imagine the Hindu gods as super heroes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjay%27s_Super_Team
To tell his personal story Sanjay and his team used fast moving, even terrifying at times, animation to mesmerize the viewer. For this seven minute short exposes viewers to Hindu practices at every turn starting with the “motel room meditation.” Click here to continue reading.
How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception (a book) by Berit Kjos (practical and biblical ways to protect your children)
For over a decade now, Lighthouse Trails editors have been concerned about the direction that the AWANA children’s club is heading. Today, in this report, we want to first give an overview of our past decade of reporting on AWANA, and then we want to share some new information that should concern every parent and grandparent who has a child or grandchild in AWANA.
It was just over ten years ago, in Feb of 2006, that we posted our first article about AWANA after having contacted them about our concerns. That article talked about connections AWANA had with Willow Creek (for documentation on Willow Creek, see links at the end of this article). In that article, we stated:
Awana Clubs has been a respected and trusted Christian organization for many years. Countless children have been Cubbies and Sparkies and have memorized Scripture through the program.
With so much of the church heading into the contemplative/emergent camp, also known as the spiritual formation movement, what a tragedy it would be to see Awana being sucked into this also. Few things are stable these days … is Awana the next to cave in?
As 2006 moved forward, our concerns heightened as AWANA continued promoting contemplative materials and the Spiritual Formation movement and showed no signs of breaking away from Willow Creek.
In 2007 and 2008, we posted a number of other articles documenting the organization’s move into the “new” emerging spirituality. Two phone calls from us and sending printed materials had no apparent effect. And as one of our articles stated, “Today, we received another email [from AWANA] backing up their insistence that nothing is amiss.”1In one article we wrote in 2007, we explained:
Awana is showing signs that it is becoming a full-blown contemplative organization. First of all, through Awana’s prison project, the organization is incorporating New Age sympathizer Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Encounter program. On July 13th, we spoke with Lyndon Azcuna, Awana Cross Cultural Ministries director, who told us he was a Lead Like Jesus facilitator. Azcuna works in the main headquarters office of Awana. He said that the project was using Ken Blanchard’s materials. When we explained to him that Blanchard promoted the New Age and mystical meditation, he said that the program did not have these elements.
However, the Lead Like Jesus Encounter is largely based on Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus, and that book does include contemplative elements. For instance, in the chapter called “The Habits of a Servant Leader” a palms-up, palms-down exercise is described (something Richard Foster has encouraged)(p. 158). The book gives a typical instruction on contemplative:
“Before we send people off for their period of solitude, we have them recite with us Psalm 46:10 in this way: Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be…. When people return from their time of solitude, they have big smiles on their faces. While many of them found it difficult to quiet their mind, they say it was a powerful experience. The reality is most of us spend little if any time in solitude. Yet if we don’t, how can God have a chance to talk with us?”
For Awana to include Ken Blanchard’s teachings into its organization, shows that the situation is quite serious.
In that same article in 2007, we announced the release of a book, partly authored by two AWANA leades (at that time), called Children’s Perspectives on Spiritual Formation. We stated:
[T]here is something even more disquieting with regard to Awana and their slide into contemplative – a book that is recommended by Awana and also carried by the Awana store: Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation. A description of the book is as follows:
“In childrens ministry, models, methods, and materials abound. How do you decide what direction you want your ministry to children to take? Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation allows you to examine the four prominent points-of-view in the church today. You will then be able to make a more informed decision on the way in which your ministry should take.”
The book offers four different views on how to transform children. One author, Scottie May, a professor at Wheaton, writes the section titled, “Contemplative-Reflective Model.” May gives a hearty promotion of centering prayer, the Jesus prayer, Christ candles, the Catholic Eucharist and an strong endorsement for contemplative spirituality ala Thomas Merton, whom she favorably quotes in the book. Two Awana staff writers respond in the book to May’s contemplative approach and give it a thumbs up with only minor cautions. But overall they believe that contemplative is a valid approach for all Christians, including children. Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation is giving a green light to Awana leaders around the world to practice contemplative prayer.
In 2007, we wrote an article titled “Awana Revisited: Is it or is it not promoting contemplative spirituality?” that examined in more detail the book (Children’s Perspectives on Spiritual Formation) that was still being promoted by AWANA. Here are a couple quotes from that book written by the two AWANA leaders:
Page 82: “In his excellent overview, Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster outlines six different spiritual traditions that present within the Christian faith. They are the contemplative tradition, the holiness tradition, the charismatic tradition, the social justice tradition, the evangelical tradition, and the incarnational tradition. Each of these has played an important part in the larger history of the Christian church…. Each of these traditions has made significant contributions to Christian spirituality and each has weaknesses when isolated from other traditions. (bold added)
P. 83-84: “While we believe that the Contemplative-Reflective Model highlights some significant needs in children’s spiritual formation, we should see it as an addition to the base provided for us in the Scriptures….We share agreement with the Contemplative-Reflective Model in a number of areas … we have much to learn from the Contemplative-Reflective Model. Many of our children’s programs are far from reverential, and the constant barrage of impulses does not seem to help in developing this interior life [this is the mystical contemplative life that Teresa of Avila practiced].” (bold added)
Our response in 2007 to these and other comments from the book was:
If the Awana writers in this book are trying to persuade readers that they do not promote contemplative spirituality, they have done a terrible job in expressing this. On the contrary, they have given minor cautions and major affirmations. They conclude with: “Given this framework, the Contemplative-Reflective Model becomes, at best, an important tool in helping provide a balanced development of the Christian spiritual life” (p. 87). While Carson and Crupper [the two AWANA leaders] point out some of the flaws in the Contemplative-Reflective Model, they make it clear that there is much good in it. Their response to contemplative spirituality leaves one message to readers: contemplative has some problems but if incorporated with other spiritual traditions, it has great value. And it is this attitude that is going to take Awana down a slippery slope of deception, unless they truly come to understand the underlying dangers of contemplative and then make every effort to rid Awana of its influence. (bold added)
In 2012, we contacted the publisher of Children’s Perspectives in Spiritual Formation and learned that the book was still in active print. Sadly, AWANA leadership had decided that the contemplative approach was valid.
In November of 2015, we posted a letter to the editor titled “Concerns By Awana Leader About Awana Linking Hands with the Emerging Church.” The letter from one of our readers who was a former AWANA leader, stated:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
My family has been involved with the Awana ministry for almost 20 years both as “clubbers” and leaders.
Awana came out with new junior high curriculum. I reviewed one of the books and was not happy. The high school level curriculum too is in the process of being re-written with the help of a man named Josh Griffin. Josh Griffin is the high school pastor for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. Griffin is associated with Doug Fields who was a speaker for Youth Specialties, then went on to be a youth pastor for Saddleback before returning back to work for Youth Specialties. Both Fields and Griffin have written books together and share a blog.
In September, Awana sent out an e-mail invitation to the 2015 National Youth Convention put on by Youth Specialties. Awana had a booth there.
A link on the e-mail connects to a promotional video where you see many people including Tony Campolo. Also Mark Matlock, the director of Youth Specialties tells his audience, “Youth ministry reminds the church that teens are not marginalized members of the body, but are co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church.”
This is chilling considering that the words co-creators and conspirators are words associated with the New Age.
Speakers of the conference included such emerging church personalities as Doug Fields, Dan Kimball, Tony Campolo, Mike King, Jim Burns, and Alan Hirsch. Josh Griffin was the M.C. for the worship sessions.
The convention also offered spiritual directors for one-on-one sessions.
It is truly sad to see Awana linking hands with the emerging church movement.
This brings us to the present, 2016. On March 9th of this year, a press release came out announcing the retirement of long-time AWANA president Jack Eggar who was being replaced by an interim president and CEO, Valerie Bell. Bell is a member of Willow Creek (and her husband is a Vice President of Willow Creek Association). The fact alone that AWANA has selected someone from Willow Creek to lead AWANA should be enough to show that AWANA has at least in part absorbed the spirituality of Willow Creek, which is the spirituality of the emerging church (and that is NOT guilt by association). But the selection of Valerie Bell has even deeper roots in the “new” spirituality.
While Bell has some disconcerting resource links on her website, the one that stands out the most is Hungry Souls, the website of David and Karen Mains. For a number of years, the Mains have had affinity with New Age concepts and teachings as has been brought out by a number of different discernment ministries (you can do a search on the Internet and see this for yourself). For example, a 2005 article by pastor, researcher, and author Gary Gilley reveals that in a book written by Mains, Lonely No More, Mains “chronicled her journey into Jungian psychology, visualization and the occult.” Gilley stated, “The spiritual path that Karen Mains describes in Lonely No More can easily be found in most occult spiritual transformation books.” That book, Lonely No More remains available today on Amazon as a Kindle book.
In a more recent book of Mains, The God Hunt, in a Further Reading section in the back, a number of contemplative/new spirituality authors are listed including Tilden Edwards (co-founder of the panentheistic Shalem Prayer Institute in Washington, DC), emerging church leader, the late Phyllis Tickle, and contemplatives Esther de Waal and Kathleen Norris.
Furthermore, on Karen Mains’ site in an article titled “The Practice of Silence,” she says, “I became convinced that no deep spiritual growth could occur in my life without the practice of silence that allows us to develop the capacity of holy listening.” This “holy listening” and the “practice of silence,” of course, is contemplative prayer.
There is no question that Bell and Mains share a spiritual affinity. In 2008, they traveled to France together and lead a group in a 10-day “pilgrimage.” Promotional advertising for the trip said:
We will teach you how to “read” great art and then how to use those same viewing exercises to develop a contemplative prayer practice for the soul.
Among various teachings and practices included in the trip was instruction in the contemplative practice, Lectio Divina.
In addition to promoting David and Karen Mains, Valerie Bell shares her own views on contemplative spirituality on her website. On a page with the subtitle Soul Care (another way of saying contemplative), it says:
Valerie has a strong interest in soul-care as a way to find spiritual well-being and relationship with a loving God. Her approach invites people to learn spiritual practices that can sustain them through the most difficult life challenges. Her book, A Well-Tended Soul, describes the nuances of that inner journey and is a core resource to her spiritual formation seminars. (bold added)
There is no question that AWANA is becoming a whole-hearted emerging/contemplative organization, and children in the program will eventually feel the effects. Unfortunately, deception can often be slow and subtle so parents may not realize their AWANA Cubbies and Sparkies are being influenced, a little more week after week through the AWANA curriculum. While we still believe there are AWANA local teachers who love the Lord and are trying to present a biblical view, the handwriting has been on the wall for over a decade, and it’s getting easier to read all the time.
Lighthouse Trails Articles on Willow Creek: