Letter to the Editor: Messiah College Promoting Mindfulness

In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.—Ray Yungen

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Thank you for your weekly newsletters. Today I was reading through your March 15th newsletter articles about meditation and about Christian colleges. . . .  Messiah College [is now ] promoting “mindfulness.”

From the latest Messiah College Newsletter for employees:

Please celebrate the March publication of a new article on the use of a mindfulness group to help counseling students in Counselor Education and Supervision by Graduate Counseling Program Senior Lecturer, Lynn Bohecker. This article was the result of a study using grounded theory methodology and can be located by using the following citation: Bohecker, L, Vereen, L.G., Wells, P. C., Wathen, C. C. (2016). A Mindfulness Experiential Small Group to Help Students Tolerate Ambiguity. Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision, 55(1), 16-30.

Lynn Bohecker is a Senior Lecturer in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling at Messiah College.

Also, in our local public school district are examples of the same thing:

http://northernpolarbears.com/news.cfm?story=165664&school=1511

https://twitter.com/vangieunti/status/692876025236094979

“Mindfulness” is being promoted in both secular and “Christian” education.

Take care, ____________

Our Comments: 

Messiah College, in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. It is one of the Christian colleges listed on the Lighthouse Trails Contemplative Colleges list (a growing list of Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities that are incorporating Spiritual Formation into the lives of students). Here are a few examples (in addition to the one above) to show how Messiah College is a major proponent of contemplative spirituality:

  1. A resource list that has a who’s who of contemplative authors and New Age sympathizers: http://www.messiah.edu/documents/college_ministries/Contemplative%20Description%20and%20Resources.pdf
  2.  https://www.messiah.edu/academics/graduate_studies/Youth-Adult-Ministries/course_cal/documents/MMIN501TheMinistersVocationFall2011.pdf
  3. A resource list for “Activists”: http://www.messiah.edu/documents/college_ministries/Activist%20Description%20and%20Resources.pdf
  4. An off-campus program promoted by Messiah from 2014:http://www.messiah.edu/documents/off-campus-programs/OECourseCatalog2014.pdf
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