Keri Wyatt Kent is a popular speaker who has been promoted by many evangelical groups such as Moody Bible Institute who interviewed her and promoted her work) and MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers). Unfortunately, she is a strong proponent of contemplative spirituality. In March of 2007, Lighthouse Trails wrote a book review of Wyatt Kent’s book, Listen, revealing that MOPS CEO and President Elisa Morgan was backing the book. In our book review, we stated:
Wyatt Kent’s book is filled with quotes and references by a literal who’s who of the contemplative/mystical world. Some of these personalities include Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Anne Lamott, Rick Warren and Ruth Haley Barton, all of whom have contemplative proclivities. Wyatt Kent has also included references by some with New Age affinities like Sue Monk Kidd (worships the goddess within) and M. Scott Peck.
Today, Wyatt Kent is continuing her promotion of contemplative spirituality, and Christian organizations are continuing to turn to her. On Wyatt Kent’s website, her speaking schedule shows upcoming engagements with MOPS on three different occasions, as well as a number of women’s conferences and retreats. According to her website, she is presently a contributing author for Moody Magazine. However, Lighthouse Trails spoke with Moody Bible Institute and learned that Moody Magazine is no longer an active publication. Wyatt Kent is still promoted by Moody though: on her website she says that she was on Midday Connection this past January (http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_ProgramDetail.aspx?id=31992) and explains: “I’ve been on many times before and it was quite fun to talk with the show’s host, Anita Lustrea, about my book Rest.” This is a puzzle to Lighthouse Trails as Moody has insisted publicly that they are not promoting contemplative spirituality. They have defended themselves to the point of posting a statement on their website titled “Moody Responds to Lighthouse Trails”, which incidentally still sits on their site today.
For those who question where Wyatt Kent’s sympathies lie with regard to contemplative mysticism, on her own blog on February 10th, Wyatt Kent eagerly recommends an author by the name of Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way. Ray Yungen mentions Cameron in A Time of Departing (p. 19), saying that The Artist’s Way is about the “spiritual path to higher creativity.” According to Yungen, Cameron’s book reflects other books such as Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization in which “one could stay a Jew, Catholic, or Protestant and still practice the [meditative] teachings” of such books.1 Cameron’s “path” to this “higher creativity,” a creativity that Wyatt Kent makes reference to, is meditation techniques. Wyatt Kent resonates with Cameron, and that is clear to see from Wyatt Kent’s own writings. She says she is “learning that certain practices have been helpful in enhancing and strengthening” her conversations with God (p. 6 of Listen). Wyatt Kent says she feels “a deep desire to provide encouragement, as Cameron does in her book, to fledgling creative types who may not have received it elsewhere” (pp. 59, 60).
For those who are skeptical, to gain some insight into the spirituality of Julia Cameron, read this interview on Shambhala Sun (a Eastern mysticism/New Age publication) with Cameron. In that interview, Cameron talks about “the essence” (divinity or God) that “each person” has within him or herself.
It is troubling to know that Christian women who turn to Moody and to MOPS will be getting a hearty dose of contemplative spirituality when they listen to or read about Keri Wyatt Kent. Wyatt Kent’s 2007 book, Oxygen: Deep Breathing for the Soul, gives detailed instruction on breath prayers. As Lighthouse Trails has established in the past, breath prayers (of which Rick Warren also instructs upon in his book, The Purpose Driven Life ) are a form of contemplative meditation, similar to practicing a mantra, used for the purpose of stilling the mind, getting rid of distractions, and entering what contemplatives call the silence (i.e., an altered state). When Moody makes the pronouncement “Moody Bible Institute does not promote contemplative spirituality,” ( http://www.moodyministries.net/crp_NewsDetail.aspx?id=7080) clearly they have not taken their promotion of Keri Wyatt Kent into consideration. Interestingly, in their defense statement, she is not even mentioned. Be that as it may, they are placing Christian women in harm’s way, as is Keri Wyatt Kent.
1. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2nd ed.(Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2006), p. 19.