by Cross Talk
LTRP Note: The following observation by Ingrid Schlueter is quite significant AND accurate. For those who are skeptical, a key lies with Thomas Merton who stated once: “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.”1 Ray Yungen explains this comment by Merton:
It is essential to really understand why Merton said things like this in order to understand why the contemplative prayer movement presents such a potential danger to evangelical Christian churches. Merton’s conversion was spiritual, not social or political, as clearly revealed in one of his biographies:
His [Merton's] change of mind with regard to the higher religions was not the result of tedious comparison and contrast or even concerted analysis. It was an outgrowth of his [mystical] experience with the Absolute [God].
In other words, Merton found Buddhist enlightenment in contemplative prayer.2
When you stop and realize that the writings of Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen, who both strongly resonate with Thomas Merton, most likely sit on the book shelves of nearly every evangelical pastor, it is much easier to understand how contemplative spirituality has entered the church in such a pervasive way. When Christian leaders embrace Foster and Nouwen, they embrace Merton, and when they embrace Merton, they embrace Buddhism.3
“Buddhism Invades Christianity, Other Religions”
by Ingrid Schlueter
This piece is not from Lighthouse Trails Research or any other discernment ministry online. It’s from the Denver Post, and it confirms the sweeping influence of contemplative eastern spirituality on Christianity and Judaism.
Buddhist scholar Judith Simmer-Brown, a professor at Naropa, said Christian denominations are working hard to rediscover contemplative traditions as one way to combat people leaving their churches.
“They literally have rebuilt their Christian meditative forms,” Simmer-Brown said. “Some borrow heavily from Buddhism.”
Here’s another telling quote from the article.
“There is a definite trend and movement that will not be reversed,” said Ruben Habito, a laicized Jesuit priest, Zen master and professor of world religions at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “We are in a new spiritual age, an inter-religious age.”
1. David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
2. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 77.
3. To better understand the nature of Buddhism, read A Time of Departing.