Posts Tagged ‘colleges’

Is Your Child or Grandchild Heading to Christian College This Fall? – 9 Things You Should Do Before He Goes

Concept Of College EducationFall is quickly approaching, and by now, if you have a child or grandchild who is going to attend Christian college this year, he or she is most likely enrolled and ready to go. As Lighthouse Trails has reported over the last several years, the majority of evangelical/Protestant colleges, seminaries, and universities are now, to varying degrees, integrating contemplative spirituality and emerging ideologies into the lives of their students. With this in mind, you might consider doing the following nine things so that you and your child can know what to expect in that school and how to deal with it:

1. First, see if that school is on our contemplative colleges list. Sadly, this list is continually growing.

2. Ask the school for a current textbook list (you may e-mail it to Lighthouse Trails so we can analyze the list for you). Usually textbook lists will also give the authors’ names as well as titles of books.

3. Search your particular college’s website to see if it has spiritual formation programs. You can type words into college website search engines (such as this one at Moody Bible Institute) such as: Nouwen, “spiritual formation,” “lectio divina,” Shane Claiborne, “Christian formation,” etc.

4. Find out who will be speaking at student chapels.

5. Ask for a syllabus for each class your student is enrolled in.

6. After getting the textbook list, the chapel speaker list, the search engine results, and the class syllabi, refer to our Directory of Authors to see if any names from the school are in that directory.

7. Make sure your child is educated on what  contemplative prayer, spiritual formation, and emerging church really mean. They should read at least one of the following LT books: A Time of Departing, Faith Undone, Castles in the Sand. You as a parent or grandparent should read An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited as well. If you do not have one of those books on hand or if you or your child or grandchild cannot afford to buy one of them, please let us know, and we will send a copy to your child complimentary.

8. Contact the school chaplain and ask some good questions. It is often the school chaplain or campus pastor who decides who is going to be invited to speak at chapels and also is often in charge of Spiritual Formation activities outside of class.

9. Find out which church your child will be attending while in school. Many, many times, the majority of students of a particular college go to the same church, and many, many times, that church is pro-contemplative, pro-emerging.

If your child or grandchild is not yet enrolled in a college, then this list will put you  in a better position to help him or her make a decision on where to attend. If your child or grandchild is already enrolled for this fall, then this list will help you help your child be better equipped and prepared for the road ahead.

Here is our growing list of Christian schools that ARE promoting contemplative and/or emerging: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/Colleges.htm. And here is a small list we have put together of schools that are thus far NOT going in that direction: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/collegesgood.htm.

Some of our past articles on Christian colleges:

Baylor University Professors Using Meditation and Mantras to “Help” Students

Letter to the Editor: Liberty University Offering Yoga Classes . . . AGAIN!

“Christian Palestinianism” & Emergents Lynn Hybels and Jim Wallis Come to Multnomah University For “Justice” Conference

Faith Baptist Bible College & Seminary “Crossed Off” “Good” College List – Hopefully Temporarily

Letter to the Editor: Saddened by Christian & Missionary Alliance and Ambrose University Continuing Plunge into Contemplative

The “New” Emerging Theology Breeds Atheism in a Generation of Young People

In Need of a Pastor for Your Church? Try Looking at NON-Contemplative Colleges

Teresa of Avila Comes to Christian College

More articles in our Contemplative Colleges category.

Dallas Theological Seminary Not Contemplative? – New Evidence Shows Otherwise

Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) has always maintained that while they teach Spiritual Formation, they only teach the “good” kind and that they are not a school that promotes contemplative spirituality. Lighthouse Trails has always challenged these suppositions. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago when Lighthouse Trails editors had some correspondence with two different DTS faculty members (one a dean) who insisted that DTS was not promoting contemplative spirituality and that Lighthouse Trails should not include their name in our Contemplative College list or in our booklet An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited” that names several evangelical seminaries (including DTS) that promote contemplative spirituality.

One example of how DTS is promoting contemplative spirituality is through their textbook Foundations of Spiritual Formation written by Paul Pettit.  While instructors at DTS who use this book may or may not ever mention Richard Foster or Dallas Willard, the textbook by Pettit does. Within the pages of Pettit’s book is Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, N.T. Wright, Dallas Willard, Thomas Aquinas, Ayn Rand, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, J.P. Moreland, Klaus Issler, Bruce Dermerst, Jim Burns, Kenneth Boa and Brother Lawrence’s “practicing God’s presence,” plus the practice of Lectio Divina. These are some of the heavy weights in the contemplative prayer movement. Paul Pettit teaches in DTS’s Spiritual Formation department. One course that uses Pettit’s book at DTS is Mentored Spiritual Formation. If DTS isn’t promoting the contemplative prayer movement, why use a textbook that includes teachers and writers who do?

There is more to this Spiritual Formation saga at Dallas Theological Seminary. Take a look at this page for the DTS Doctor of Ministry (DMIN) Spiritual Formation Cohort.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and see the names of the two faculty members for this program. One of them is Gail Seidel (you can view her professional credentials here and here.) Last month (June 2017), she wrote a blog article titled “Soul Noticing 101,” in which she  shows an obvious affinity for contemplative spirituality. She speaks, as all the contemplatives do, of Christians who feel depleted, tired, and neglected (which is how they convince people they need to do contemplative prayer).

Seidel quotes enthusiastically from several contemplatives in the article. One quote is by Cindy Caliguire. Lighthouse Trails wrote about Caliguire in 2009 because of her advocacy for contemplative prayer. The following is an excerpt from that article:

With all these contemplative connections, it’s no surprise that Soul Care founder Mindy Caliguire’s teaching sessions are also based on contemplative spirituality and the spiritual disciplines. This is clearly evident if one listens on-line to her sessions. Caliguire is a good speaker, and she does quote and reference the Bible, but for those who understand and recognize contemplative spirituality, it becomes obvious in listening to her that Caliguire is in that camp.

In Practicing Silent Prayer [a 2009 workshop at Willow Creek], Caliguire teaches about mantras, silence, and finding a quiet place undistracted. She also mentions that this kind of prayer is “difficult to do. In Practicing Solitude Part 1, she teaches on how to prepare an undistracted quiet place or retreat, and explains what things to bring to connect with God. Oddly, she recommends bringing an alternative Bible translation that is less familiar to you, a journal, and The Way of the Heart by Henry Nouwen. The following is from Nouwen’s book: “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” (p. 81).

DTS Magazine – low-resolution shot used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act for critical review

This “repetition of a single word” is intended to put the practitioner in an altered state of consciousness. Gail Seidel goes on to quote Dallas Willard from his book Renovation of the Heart (remember, Willard and Richard Foster are the two main pioneers in bringing contemplative spirituality into the church and were inspired to do so by Catholic mystic Thomas Merton). After quoting Willard, Seidel quotes psychotherapist and meditation advocate Thomas Moore from his book Care of the Soul. The book is actually endorsed inside the cover by New Age author Larry Dossey, and in a section at the back of Moore’s book for further recommended reading, he includes Carl Jung! According to the New Age website Spirituality & Practice, Moore is “a leading lecturer in the fields of archetypal psychology, mythology, and imagination” and a columnist for Spirituality & Health magazine. How can a faculty member at DTS be promoting such a book unless she is resonating with the author? She never gives any indication that she disagrees with any of these quoted figures; on the contrary.

After quoting Willard, Caliguire, and Moore, Gail Seidel continues on her contemplative-author escapade by quoting “spiritual director” Alice Fryling from her book Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction. This book is a who’s who of contemplative, New Age, panentheistic mystics: Thomas Merton, Gerald May, Shalem Institute found Tilden Edwards, not to mention Henri Nouwen, Richard, Foster, and David Benner (all of whom you can read about in Ray Yungen’s A Time of Departing).

It cannot be ignored that one of two Spiritual Formation faculty members at Dallas Theological Seminary is so taken with so many hard-core contemplative prayer advocates. Dating back to 2010, in Seidel’s DTS Soul Care Lead Lab, she is recommending books by David Benner, Richard Foster, Ruth Haley Barton, Mindy Caliguire, Leighton Ford, Fil Anderson, Thomas Moore, and Dallas Willard (all contemplative teachers).

This brings us to the 2017 summer issue of DTS Magazine (see cover to the right) that one of our readers brought to our attention recently. There are a number of innuendos and hints (including the cover) of contemplative spirituality in this issue. But we will focus on one particular article written by Brandon Geilla titled “Patterns of Prayer: Ancient and Modern Tools for Reading Scripture and Communing with God,” which states:

Ancient words like liturgy can seem scary for modern, nondenominational evangelicals. Liturgy and words like lectionary, or guides like the Book of Common Prayer, often bring up feelings of empty ritual. Are they hollowed out forms of true Christian faith from which we broke away during the Reformation? We often believe so and we make subconscious vows to never return to dead habits.

Yet, this year—the 500th since the Reformation—looking back to more traditional roots of our Christian practice can prove fruitful for our spiritual growth. In the last several years, in fact, many articles have explored why millennials are returning to mainline, traditional denominations because of their formal liturgy. (emphasis added)

What the millennials are “returning” to is a mystical form of prayer developed by the Desert Fathers and other monastics. Geilla’s article elaborates on the “lectionary,” stating, “Within a more structured worship environment, people hear the Scriptures as part of a more multisensory, whole-body experience” (emphasis added). The article insinuates that DTS founder Lewis Sperry Chafer would approve of this “multisensory” kind of Christianity and stretches Chafer’s apparent willingness to work with those of other denominations into a willingness to embrace these liturgical sensory experiences as well. By the way, we believe the practices being recommended in this article have the potential to be like gateway drugs to full-blown contemplative prayer (in a similar way as lectio divina is used in the contemplative prayer movement). In fact, this article is a gateway article. For example, it quotes (and recommends) a man named Drew Dickens and a group he is part of called Abide. Dickens heads the spiritual formation department at Abide. The Abide website promotes meditation calling it  “Christian meditation.” But by the descriptions (such as it relieves stress), they are talking about something much different than meditating (pondering or thinking about) on Scripture. Abide links to a particular website to make their point that mediation is beneficial (when the world says meditation, it is not talking about reading Scripture and pondering on it – it’s talking about mantra-like meditation). Just take a look at some of the books on that site (that Abide recommends to view), and you will see clearly what Abide means by “meditation.” For an example of one of Abide’s mediation exercises, click here (but please use caution). The monotone woman’s voice is an earmark of New Age meditation exercises. In addition, she instructs the listener to breath in slowly and breath out slowly. For those who are familiar with New Age meditation, you will recognize the similarity.

The article by Brandon Geilla in DTS Magazine would never appear in a magazine that understood the dangers of contemplative prayer. Interestingly, Geilla favorably references Bishop Ray Sutton in his article, who was mentioned in a Lighthouse Trails article where we stated:

Bishop Ray Sutton of The Gathering is Dean of the Province and Ecumenical Affairs of the Anglican Church in North America and is involved in a number of ecumenical (road to Rome) activities. Sutton also advocates for the Catholic transubstantiation of the communion elements (a re-crucifixion of Christ) (click here and here for some more information on Sutton).

We know our critics, including those at DTS who defend the school no matter what, will say we are using guilt by association in our article to implicate DTS, but what it is guilty of is guilt by promotion and guilt by proxy. There’s a big difference! We do not believe these are isolated incidents at DTS. And it has not just started. Like others who have gone down the contemplative/emergent path, DTS started off slowly years ago building momentum over the years. At the very least, DTS needs to come clean and admit what they are doing for the sake of unsuspecting students who will later become pastors and teachers of today’s Christian church and will have been greatly influenced in a manner that does not align with the biblical Gospel.

What’s really troubling about Dallas Theological Seminary is that they deny they are promoting contemplative spirituality. Yet, one of two faculty members for their Spiritual Formation Cohort is gleaning heavily from outright contemplative mystics. At least with some schools, they admit that is what they are doing – it’s out in the open. But not so with DTS. Their hands are in the cookie jar, but they are denying it. What would their older Christian donors do if they knew the school has willfully entered a spirituality that negates the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Related Articles:

Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why It Shouldn’t)”

5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer”

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 2 – TOP 10 OUT-OF-HOUSE NEWS STORIES

See also Part 1 Year in Review

Editor’s Note: (Listed in order of date posted from January 2016 – December 2016)

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW – PART 2 – TOP 10 OUT-OF-HOUSE NEWS STORIES

1/Stunning Statistics: “From Antichrist to Brother in Christ: How Protestant Pastors View the Pope”

Christianity Today: More than half of evangelical pastors say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ.

More than one-third say they value the pope’s view on theology, and 3 in 10 say he has improved their view of the Catholic Church.

Those are among the findings of a new study of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, released this week from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Overall, the survey found that many Protestant pastors have taken a liking to Pope Francis.

2/“Namaste Nation” – New 2016 Study Shows Staggering Growth in Yoga in America!

Yoga Alliance:  The newly released 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years.

Survey data for this comprehensive study of the consumer yoga market was collected by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance.

3/Meditation Has Become A Billion-Dollar Business

Fortune Magazine: In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).

4/Berlin’s House of One: a Church, a Mosque and a Synagogue Under One Roof

The UK Guardian: . . . A group of Christians, Muslims and Jews is trying to crowdsource funds to build a place where they can all worship: Berlin’s “House of One” is aiming to become the world’s first building to combine a church, a synagogue and a mosque under one roof.

5/Meet the new campus Gestapo

Washington Post: On campuses across America, the Thought Police have a new tool: Bias Response Teams, administrators who crack down on classroom insensitivity.

More than 100 US colleges have set up BRTs. The newshounds at Heat Street last week dug up a taste of how it works.

A professor at the University of Northern Colorado got visited by the school’s Bias Response Team — for imploring his students to think about opposing viewpoints.

6/Orthodox Christian Leaders End Historic Meeting

Associated Press: The leaders of the world’s Orthodox Christian churches ended a historic gathering on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday hoping to repeat the meeting within a decade, despite a boycott by the Russian church—the most populous in a religion of some 300 million people — and three other churches.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I led prayers attended by the 10 Orthodox church leaders who attended to mark the end of the weeklong Holy and Great Council — the first of its kind in more than 1,200 years.

7/Ten More States Sue Obama Admin Over Requirement to Allow Boys in Girls’ Restrooms – [That Makes 22!]

Christian News Network: Ten more states have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its requirement that school districts allow male students who identify as female and vice versa to use the restroom that correlates with their “gender identity.”

Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming now join the list of states that are challenging directives from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice issued in May.

8/World Vision’s Gaza Manager Funneled Millions to Hamas

NBC News: Israel has accused a manager working for U.S.-headquartered Christian charity World Vision of funneling millions of dollars to Islamist militant group Hamas. Mohammad El Halabi, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing the border into Gaza, World Vision said in a statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities on Thursday. He had run the organization’s Gaza operations since 2010.

9/Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and Israel

Jerusalem Post: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans. One resolution established an “investment screen” that will recommend where Lutherans should invest their money with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. The other urged a cutoff of US aid to Israel unless Israel meets a series of conditions, and calls for the immediate US recognition of “the state of Palestine.” . . . David Brog, of Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that the resolutions “blame Israel and only Israel for the conflict in the Middle East.

10/Pope Urges Lutherans to Set Aside Doctrine to Work Together

Associated Press: Pope Francis urged Lutherans to set aside doctrinal differences Thursday and work with Catholics to care for the poor, the sick and refugees as he laid out his vision for greater communion before his visit to Sweden later this month.

Francis greeted about 1,000 Lutherans who were visiting the Vatican on an ecumenical pilgrimage. They had arrived in Rome from Germany, where Martin Luther famously sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to a church door to challenge the abuses of the Catholic Church.

Francis will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation with his Oct. 31-Nov. 1 visit to Sweden, where he will participate in an ecumenical service with the Lutheran World Federation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Meet the new campus Gestapo”

Concept Of College EducationBy Washington Post

On campuses across America, the Thought Police have a new tool: Bias Response Teams, administrators who crack down on classroom insensitivity.

More than 100 US colleges have set up BRTs. The newshounds at Heat Street last week dug up a taste of how it works.

A professor at the University of Northern Colorado got visited by the school’s Bias Response Team — for imploring his students to think about opposing viewpoints.

Heat Street’s Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the professor 1) had students read an Atlantic article about rising sensitivity of college students, and 2) asked them to consider un-PC [politically correct) views on topics like global warming and transgender issues. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

Understanding the Times – “Men Love Darkness Rather Than Light”

 

Bad Counsel to a College Girl

LTRP Note: The following is a chapter from Castles in the Sand, a Lighthouse Trails novel based on true facts, exposing the dangers of contemplative spirituality. The story is about a young Christian college girl who is introduced to mysticism through her spiritual formation professor. In the following chapter, Tessa, troubled by some of the strange symptoms she is experiencing when practicing meditation, seeks help from her school counselor . But alas, the counselor is involved in the very spirituality that is affecting her. His advice? He encourages Tessa to turn to an ancient mystic, Teresa of Avila, for wisdom and understanding.

Castles in the Sand
by Carolyn A. Greene
Chapter 19: Bad Counsel

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.–Jesus, Matthew 6:7

March 23
“And so, I’m really not sure what to think anymore about this spiritual formation training,” Tessa said softly. She felt very small and insignificant sitting in front of the huge desk in the head counselor’s office. The walls were covered with hardwood panels, and on the one with the credenza pushed against it hung a framed portrait of a man staring down at her with knowing eyes. The counselor wrote on a notepad with an expensive-looking gold pen. He had been at Flat Plains Bible College for nearly five years, and most of the students respected him. Tessa had often heard him play his cello in the string quartet during chapel for Monday meditations. He was a bachelor, but not the kind the girls would flirt with. She wondered if he ironed his own shirts every day, as he always wore a crisp white one under his sports jacket. He had a few odd quirks but was generally kindhearted and caring. Tessa didn’t know why she felt so uncomfortable as she sat in his office. The counselor analyzed the comments he’d been jotting down. His notes said this girl had dark circles under her eyes and seemed very nervous. She had no previous record of drug use and had never gotten into trouble at school.

“Miss Dawson, we realize it’s an emotionally and spiritually demanding course. You have probably been working very hard. I see you stayed at school over the Christmas holidays as well as spring break last week to catch up on some course assignments. With the semester nearly over, the pressure will soon be off. Have you talked to your spiritual formation professor?”

“Well, she was the one who recommended that I be mentored by Ms. Jasmine. Naturally, I was excited about that, at first. Now, I’m not sure anymore. So I talked to the other counselor this morning, and she told me that you and Ms. Jasmine are the only people I need to talk to about my concerns.”

“Did she now? Instead of speaking to me, have you talked to Dr. Winters first about your concerns?” He secretly wished Dr. Jasmine Winters hadn’t been so casual with the students, allowing them to address her by her first name. It was simply disrespectful.

“Well, that’s the problem. I’m not comfortable with that.”

The counselor leaned forward on his oak desktop and looked at her over his black-rimmed glasses . “Well, apparently Dr. Winters is comfortable enough to have you all call her Ms. Jasmine. Now, could you tell me exactly why you are ‘uncomfortable’?”

“It’s like this. I . . . when I am in a session . . . I mean, when I did the sessions with Ms. Jazz, I mean Dr. Winters, strange things happen, I mean, happened.” Tessa started to cry. “I’m sorry, I haven’t been sleeping well.”

Tessa felt her throat tightening. This wasn’t easy for her. At first, in the beginning of the school year, everything was good. Really good, actually, and Tessa had soon become a keen and open-minded student. But later, she’d begun having reservations, even before Katy read her “the list.” She couldn’t say why, exactly, only that she’d started to feel vaguely suspicious and oddly unsettled about the whole thing. That was probably why she could never muster the courage to take it to the next level. And lately, her resistance seemed increasingly ineffective. She used to have control, but she didn’t seem to have it anymore. Had the words of warning, the words she had so carelessly rejected, been right after all?

“What sort of strange things?” the counselor asked, interrupting her thoughts.

“Yes. Well, this may sound very, very weird, but I get a tingling, prickling sensation in my head and my hands, and sometimes all the way down to my feet.”

“Has Dr. Winters been letting you drink her Yerba Mate? It sometimes has an effect on certain people.”

Tessa shuddered at the thought of the South American tea Ms. Jasmine sometimes drank through a metal straw. She thought the Yerba leaves looked and smelled like a wet horse stall.

“No. You don’t believe me, do you?” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded, wrinkled paper. It was the list Katy had tried reading to her the other night. Later, when Katy wasn’t there, Tessa picked it up, folded it neatly, and put it in one of her books. “I would like to read this to you. These are some symptoms that–”

“That you have?”

“Well, I might have some, but so does my friend Elise and at least half the class. But Dr. Winters has most of these. Can I just read this?”

“Have you been to see the school nurse?” he asked.

“I don’t need a nurse!” she said too loudly, and remorsefully looked down at the floor. “Please . . .” she said quietly.

“Go ahead.” The counselor leaned back in his chair.

“These are some of the symptoms I am talking about. It’s only some of them.”

castlesfinalBefore coming there that day, she had highlighted certain symptoms on the list with a yellow marker, ones she had either experienced herself or saw or heard about in others, including Ms. Jasmine–especially Ms. Jasmine. She held the wrinkled paper in her clammy hands and began reading the symptoms she had marked:

Hearing sounds like a flute, waterfall, bees buzzing, ringing in the ears, inner voices, mental confusion, difficulty concentrating, emotional outbursts, uncontrollable laughing and crying, rapid mood shifts, fear, rage, heightened awareness, trances, sensations of heat or prickling in the hands and head, feelings of peace and tranquility, ecstasy, dreams or visions of spirit guides, out-of-body experiences, awareness of auras, chakras, healing powers, sensitivity–

“All right, all right. That’s enough, I’ve got the point,” the counselor interrupted. He pulled off his glasses, puffed a few breaths of hot air onto the lenses, and unfolded a clean white handkerchief to polish them.

“But I’m not finished. I–”

“Miss Dawson, look, I believe you. A few other students have reported minor things. But everything has an explanation. This is a very old school. Before we rule out the insulation or the lead paint, here’s what I think. First of all, you have completed the required reading, am I correct?”

Tessa nodded.

“Then you must know that the ancient Christians who tapped into methods of prayer that the modern church has forgotten also describe many of the same experiences. What if these things, which you say make you fearful, are simply God’s graces and favors being bestowed upon you? Rather than having a fear-based faith, we must open ourselves to God’s voice. We must not shut the door to new forms of God’s communication with us, Tessa. The Bible says, ‘Shout to the Lord a new song!’ We cannot put God in a box.”

He reached behind him and pulled a book from his shelf. The title on the cover said The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila, but Tessa thought this one looked older and thicker than her copy, which was called Selections from the Interior Castle. He pushed up his thick-framed glasses and opened it to a page with a folded corner.

“As St. Teresa of Avila wrote, ‘Our Lord is just as pleased today as He has ever been to reveal favors to his people, and I’m convinced that anyone who will not believe this closes the door to receiving them herself.’ So you see, only those who believe and open the door will be the recipients of His revelations and favors!”

Tessa knew about that. She had written a paper on the Teresian prayer model. “Yes, I understand that concept. But something is not right, I’m telling you. One evening not long ago, I arrived early at our mentoring session, and Ms. Jazz was . . . she was . . .”

“Tessa, Dr. Winters is a very spiritually disciplined person, and a fine role model. She does the fixed hours of prayer several times a day, and some people, when they find out, just don’t understand. It’s a classic case of fearing the unknown. I trust she has been training you to do your prayer exercises as well. May I ask how far you have gone in your quiet prayer time in regard to the inner rooms of the Teresian prayer model?”

“Well, I . . . I could never get past the fourth room,” she said, sniffing. “The castle. It haunts me in my dreams. What I thought was beautiful is turning into a bad dream. It’s just not lining up with . . .” She stopped in mid-sentence and thought about Katy and Gramps, and how they would often say that something was not “lining up with Scripture.” “I guess I just don’t know anymore if the voices I am hearing are from God or . . . I’m just . . . I’m very scared.”

“Dear Tessa, I think I have just answered your own question.” The counselor looked pleased with himself and assured her with a compassionate smile. “Now take a deep breath and listen to me carefully. Close your eyes . . . There, that’s right. Now, do you remember how St. Teresa compared the doubts we have to reptiles? Let me read a little more from the fifth chapter.” The way the counselor read reminded Tessa of the way Ms. Jasmine read—slowly, methodically, pronounced:

In the prayer of quiet in the previous mansion, the soul needs to be very experienced before it can be sure what really happened to it. Did it imagine the whole thing? Was it asleep and dreaming? Did the experience come from God, or from the devil disguised as an angel of light? The mind feels a thousand doubts. And so it ought, for as I said, we can be deceived in these mansions, even by our own nature. It is true that there is little chance of those poisonous creatures entering the Fourth Mansion, but slippery little lizards are small enough to slip in unnoticed. They do no harm, especially if we ignore them, but these little thoughts and fancies thrown out by the imagination can be annoying.

However active those lizards may be, they cannot enter into the Fifth Mansion. Here, neither the imagination, the understanding, or the memory has any power to prevent God’s grace flowing into the soul.

The counselor closed the book and placed it on a stack of Travel Mongolia magazines. His chair creaked as he leaned back and took off his glasses again. “Tessa,” he said, “perhaps you need to enter into the fifth room of the castle and allow God’s grace to flow into your soul. You seem too focused on poisonous, negative thoughts, which you simply must choose to ignore. I suggest you contemplate Scripture more often through your lectio divina exercises.”

Tessa nodded her head, folded the paper, and stood up. Her ears began to ring again. The book he had read from sounded different from the one she had. Why were they always quoting to her out of books? Gramps usually quoted the Bible, and he seemed to know a lot of it by heart. She wasn’t sure if Ms. Jasmine even owned a Bible. If she did, Tessa had never seen it.

She was more confused than ever. Everyone here kept telling her to shut out the noises and go within herself. “There you will find your true self,” they’d say. However, her true self was the part of her that was so confused. Gramps always said that God is not the author of confusion. For some reason, Tessa remembered that cold fall day at the retreat when they were instructed to go and find their true selves, and she found the mysterious woodsman instead. What was that verse he read? “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

She had no idea why she remembered that verse today, but how desperately she longed to know truth and have wisdom right now.
“May I go now?” she asked, rubbing her temples. “I . . . I have a really bad headache.”

The counselor nodded and watched her walk to the door….

“Oh and Miss Dawson, one more thing,” he said as she paused with her hand on the knob. “St. Teresa, your namesake, also said that a venomous reptile cannot live in the presence of divine light. If we are to be Christ followers, we must choose not to join the ranks of the spiritually uncivilized who refuse to be enlightened. Please keep this in mind.”

Tessa gave a weak, “OK,” then opened the door and stepped into the hall. The door swung shut behind her with a precise click. She watched as students walked past her to their classes, chatting and laughing happily as though everything was normal and there wasn’t a care in the world. As for herself, she wondered if she was going mad. Nothing made sense anymore.

Back in the office, the counselor glanced at his watch. Thank goodness she’s gone, he thought. It was nearly noon. Time for the Daily Office, the fixed hours of prayer Ms. Jasmine had taught them at their second staff retreat. He found that even five minutes spent centering down helped him get through a stressful day. Lately, more students like Tessa had begun to ask him too many difficult questions. Not to mention that paranoid old Mr. Brown who had been phoning and giving him a hard time.

He was beginning to feel more than a little annoyed.

He locked his office door, put a Taize worship CD into his Sony player and sat down in his chair again. Glancing up at the chart on his wall, he took a deep breath. He nearly had it memorized but wanted to be sure of the steps, so he read them again:

-Be attentive and open
-Sit still
-Sit straight
-Breathe slowly, deeply
-Close your eyes or lower them to the ground

Then he closed his eyes and slowly repeated the verse of the day from the Sacred Meditation website–

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know . . .
that I am God . . .
that I am God . . .
that I am God.
That I am God,
I am God,
I am God,
I am God,
I am,
I am,
I am,
I am . . .

The noise in the hallway soon disappeared as Dr. Frank Johnson … shut out the sounds around him and slipped into a peaceful inner silence.

(This is an excerpt from chapter 19 of Castles in the Sand, the 1st no

Fall is Coming—Is Your Child Going to Christian College? Nine Things You Can Do to Help Your Student Be Aware of Contemplative/Emerging Deception

Concept Of College EducationFall is quickly approaching, and by now, if you have a child or grandchild who is going to attend Christian college this year, he or she is most likely enrolled and ready to go. As Lighthouse Trails has reported over the last several years, the majority of evangelical/Protestant colleges, seminaries, and universities are now, to varying degrees, integrating contemplative spirituality and emerging ideologies into the lives of their students. With this in mind, we believe you should consider doing the following nine things so that you and your child can know what to expect in that school and how to deal with it:

1. First, see if that school is on our contemplative colleges list. Sadly, this list is continually growing.

2. Ask the school for a current textbook list (you may e-mail it to Lighthouse Trails so we can analyze the list for you). Usually textbook lists will also give the authors’ names as well as titles of books.

3. Search your particular college’s website to see if it has spiritual formation programs. You can type words into college website search engines such as: Nouwen, “spiritual formation,” “lectio divina,” Shane Claiborne, “christian formation,” etc.

4. Find out who will be speaking at student chapels.

5. Ask for a syllabus for each class your student is enrolled in.

6. After getting the textbook list, the chapel speaker list, the search engine results, and the class syllabi, refer to our Directory of Authors to see if any names from the school are in that directory.

7. Make sure your child is educated on what  contemplative prayer, spiritual formation, and emerging church really mean. They should read at least one of the following LT books: A Time of Departing, Faith Undone, Castles in the Sand. You as a parent or grandparent should read An Epidemic of Apostasy – How Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited as well. If you do not have one of those books on hand or if you or your child or grandchild cannot afford to buy one of them, please let us know, and we will send a copy to your child complimentary.

8. Contact the school chaplain and ask some good questions. It is often the school chaplain or campus pastor who decides who is going to be invited to speak at chapels and also is often in charge of Spiritual Formation activities outside of class.

9. Find out which church your child will be attending while in school. Many, many times, the majority of students of a particular college go to the same church, and many, many times, that church is pro-contemplative, pro-emerging.

If your child or grandchild is not yet enrolled in a college, then this list will put you  in a better position to help him or her make a decision on where to attend. If your child or grandchild is already enrolled for this fall, then this list will help you help your child be better equipped and prepared for the road ahead.

Here is our growing list of Christian schools that ARE promoting contemplative and/or emerging: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/Colleges.htm. And here is a small list we have put together of schools that are thus far NOT going in that direction: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/collegesgood.htm.

Note: For many years, we had Faith Baptist Bible College in Iowa on our “good” list. But after several communications with the school over concerning textbooks and also books by Brennan Manning and Jesus Calling in their bookstore, we removed the school from that list. They were a good choice for a 4-year degree school; and while they do carry Faith Undone and A Time of Departing on their bookstore website (but not in their classes), their current textbook list continues having a number pro-contemplative, pro-emerging authors (e.g., Boyd, Burns, Fields, Devries). We saw this same thing happen to Corban University (formally Western Baptist) in Oregon; and even though Lighthouse Trails communicated with the school on the direction they started going (and in fact, for a number of years, one class used A Time of Departing), they proceeded down that road, and today, they are on our contemplative college list.

Some of our past articles on Christian colleges:

Baylor University Professors Using Meditation and Mantras to “Help” Students

Letter to the Editor: Liberty University Offering Yoga Classes . . . AGAIN!

“Christian Palestinianism” & Emergents Lynn Hybels and Jim Wallis Come to Multnomah University For “Justice” Conference

Faith Baptist Bible College & Seminary “Crossed Off” “Good” College List – Hopefully Temporarily

Letter to the Editor: Saddened by Christian & Missionary Alliance and Ambrose University Continuing Plunge into Contemplative

The “New” Emerging Theology Breeds Atheism in a Generation of Young People

In Need of a Pastor for Your Church? Try Looking at NON-Contemplative Colleges

Teresa of Avila Comes to Christian College

More articles in our Contemplative Colleges category.

Madeleine L’Engle’s foundation awards grant to LGBT group at Wheaton College

Wheaton College

Wheaton College

LTRP Note: The following story is posted for informational and research purposes only and not as an endorsement of the content or the source.

By Jonathan Merritt
Religion News Service

The foundation of Madeleine L’Engle, the late National Book Award-winning author of “A Wrinkle in Time,” has awarded OneWheaton, an independent community of LGBT students and alumni from Wheaton College, a $5,000 grant.

OneWheaton is committed to affirming LGBT students but is not officially recognized by the prominent evangelical school, which can expel students caught in homosexual behaviors.

The group plans to use the money to fund public discussions and forums about LGBT issues and evangelical culture.

“We couldn’t be happier to receive this grant from L’Engle’s Crosswicks Foundation,” said Paul Canaday-Elliott, a OneWheaton board member.

“Wheaton tells a very one-sided narrative about LGBT persons without making room for dialogue,” he added. “So this will help us continue to supply something that the college isn’t.” Click here to continue reading.

Related Articles:

Wheaton College Defends Decision to Allow Homosexual Student Group on Campus

Concerns Over NAIITS and Wheaton College’s Symposium on Indigenous Mission and Theology

Wheaton College “Dialogue” Evening – Exploring “Common Ground” with Catholicism in “A Conversation on Unity”

Contemplative Wheaton College Receives Special Honor From Tony Blair’s Interfaith Movement

 


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