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"From the Lighthouse" Newsletter

                                                                                                    May 4, 2009

In This Issue - click choice

Hates Crimes Bill Passes House - Christian Leaders Partly to Blame

Thomas Merton and The Shack

Brian McLaren Wants End Time Believing Christians Robustly Confronted

Time Magazine Names Rick Warren as One of 100 Most Influential in THE WORLD

1st Novel to Expose Contemplative Spirituality - Gone to Press

Contemplative Terms and What They Mean

What the Bible Says About Persecution

Come Meet Corrie ten Boom ... Again

New Feature on From the Lighthouse Blog

New Book by Warren Smith Coming in June - A "Wonderful" Deception

Publishing News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hates Crimes Bill Passes House - Christian Leaders Partly to Blame

Special Note From Lighthouse Trails: We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior. However, we also do not believe that hate crime legislation is necessary or legitimate because there are already laws prohibiting the abuse and/or violence against any person.

"Hate Crimes Bill Passes House - Christian Leaders Partly to Blame"

On Wednesday,
HR 1913 ("Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009") passed in the US House of Representatives with a vote of 249-175. According to one report, "The bill is now headed for the Senate, which Obama urged to work with his administration to 'finalize this bill and to take swift action.'"1

If this legislation is passed by the Senate (and then signed by Obama into law, which he has promised to do quickly), this broadened hate-crime law could ultimately affect Christians who preach, teach, or report that the homosexual lifestyle is prohibited according to Scripture. One report states: "Similar laws have been used to prosecute religious speech in the U.S. and abroad.2 In a WorldNetDaily report, it says that even pedophiles could receive special protection if this bill becomes law.3 According to the text in HR1913, penalties for breaking this law would be severe--from 10 years up to life in prison. While wording in HR1913 is somewhat vague, amendments could be added to strengthen and further define how this law is implemented. Plus, because of its vagueness, Supreme Court judges may be able to further broaden the scope of the law through their own interpretations of it.

Keep in mind that this bill will not only give special rights to homosexuals, it has the potential to bring restrictions to Christians who reject the idea that other religions are valid ways to God.

Ironically, and in an indirect manner, many Christian organizations who are concerned about hate crime legislation have been partly responsible for this current legislation passing. How so? The legislation is passing because of the new administration and a supportive Congress. And as we have stated in previous articles, Lighthouse Trails believes it was the emerging church segment of voters who helped bring in this present White House administration. Now, Christian organizations and leaders who have helped to propel contemplative spirituality (i.e. spiritual formation) have, inadvertently helped to propel the emerging church. When people begin to incorporate mantra-type prayer and other contemplative spiritual disciplines, over time their spiritual affinities change and many become interspiritual, which is what the emerging church is all about. Thus, if someone is promoting contemplative spirituality, they are promoting the emerging model. The two terms are virtually synonymous. So while Christian organizations are alarmed about the hate crime law (which they should be because it is indeed disturbing), they have and continue to fuel the momentum merely by their promotion of contemplative spirituality.

When it comes to the emerging church, Christian leaders seem to lack understanding and discernment. Some books and many articles have now been written about the emerging church, and interestingly, the majority of them lack the most important element--the emerging church is a conduit for mysticism and is heading right into the arms of a universal interfaith church that is panentheistic (God in all) by its very nature.

Many feel that the real problems with the emerging church are centered around methodology (e.g., how much lighting to have, where to hold church services, and what to wear while attending them, etc.). Such distraction from the true concerns is like telling a neighbor that his dog is tearing up the garden when his house is burning down and his children are inside.

The emerging church is fundamentally mystical as can easily be seen by the leaders who feed the emerging movement a steady diet of contemplative spirituality. Leonard Sweet, one of the emerging church movement's most prolific leaders (and a co-worker in ministry with Rick Warren) explains the role of mysticism in the emerging church:  

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center.... In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, "The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing." [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology. (p. 160, A Time of Departing--*see reference below)

If indeed the present administration came into power by picking up the large emerging church sector of voters, then a lot of Christian leaders are responsible for what is taking place today. For instance, Rick Warren, perhaps the most influential Christian leader today, has been and continues to be one of the strongest proponents of the emerging church movement and the contemplative prayer movement as well (see our research site for documentation).

What is needed here is for Christian leaders of ministries, churches, organizations, and schools, to repent for misleading many toward a deceptive spirituality that will not lead them into a relationship with the God of the Bible through faith in Jesus Christ by grace but will instead fulfill Karl Rahner's words that they will be mystics or they will be nothing at all.

For those who are skeptical of the ramifications, consider the words of prolific contemplative author Marcus Borg. At a seminar in which Borg was speaking, he told the audience of a time when he and his wife attended what he thought was an emerging church and in the end of the service the pastor talked about Christ dying on the Cross for man's sins. Borg told the audience that that statement showed him that church was not an emerging church after all.* This is the reason why Brian McLaren (who openly resonates with Borg) loves Alan Jones' book, Reimagining Christianity so much because it's not based on the Gospel but based on panentheism and contemplative prayer.


These are serious and spiritually perilous times in which we live. It would be wise for Christian leaders to reconsider the path on which many of them are now treading.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3

* Quote by Leonard Sweet from Quantum Spirituality, p. 76.
* Ray Yungen and a colleague were attending this seminar by Borg and relayed this story to Lighthouse Trails.

Related Information:

Track HR1913

Time Magazine on Rick Warren's New Global Reformation and His PEACE Coalition

Rick Warren Plays "Catch Me if You Can" While Promoting Mysticism

Spiritual Politics by Warren Smith

Non-Profit Ministries - A view of the future?

The End of the Word . . . As We Know It

Thomas Merton and The Shack

Five million copies of The New York Times Best-Seller, The Shack, have now sold, and the book is still going strong. Considering that the average popular book is passed around to three or four people (by some estimates), there could be as many as fifteen to twenty million readers of The Shack. For those who are familiar with the spirituality of Thomas Merton, you'll know that he was a Catholic monk who had strong spiritual affinities to eastern mysticism. And so what we are about to say may take The Shack followers by surprise. But we believe we can back up the following statement with solid documentation: Thomas Merton could have written The Shack because it reflects his view of God succinctly (i.e., Merton's views on God resonate with the views expressed in The Shack).

First, to understand Merton's view of God, we can read what one of his biographers (and incidentally someone very sympathetic to Merton's view) says that makes this very clear. William Shannon explains:

If one wants to understand Merton's going to the East, it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.1 (from ATOD, pp. 60-61)

Researcher and author Ray Yungen further explains:

Merton expressed views such as, "I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity ... I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.2

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 experience with the Absolute [God].3

In other words, Merton found Buddhist enlightenment in contemplative prayer. (ATOD, p. 77).

One New Age scholar who admired Merton said: "The God he [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment."4

How does this fit in with The Shack, you may be asking. In his book Thomas Merton My Brother, Catholic mystic Basil Pennington relates:

The Spirit enlightened him [Merton] in the true synthesis [unity] of all and in the harmony of that huge chorus of living beings. In the midst of it he lived out a vision of a new world, where all divisions have fallen away and the divine goodness is perceived and enjoyed as present in all and through all.5 (emphasis added, ATOD, p. 138)

In other words, Thomas Merton came to believe (as most long term mystics do) that God is in all things and in all human beings. This is clear to see from the following quote by Merton:

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, ... now I realize what we all are ... If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are. I suppose the big problem would be that we would bow down and worship each other.... At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth....This little point ... is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.6 (ATOD, pp. 58-59)

It is intrinsically obvious that Merton's spirituality is the same as what one finds in The Shack. Listen to William Paul Young's "Jesus":

"I have no desire to make them [people of other religions] Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved." (p.182).

The reason The Shack's "Jesus" doesn't want to make anyone a Christian is illustrated in the following statement by The Shack's father-god, Elouisa: "God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things" (p. 112). In his book, Silence on Fire, William Shannon defines the two pillars of contemplative spirituality: 1. God is the ground of all being; 2. man becoming aware of that reality. So we see here that both The Shack and Thomas Merton come from the exact same spiritual perspective.

The Bible refers to such a perspective as "doctrines of devils" (I Tim. 4:1) because it makes man connected to God without the Cross and without faith in Jesus Christ (i.e, the Cross is not necessary then because man is already part of the divine).

For those who may still be un-persuaded, consider the case of Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees . In the 1990s, Monk Kidd was a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher in small town South Carolina. Someone gave her a book by Thomas Merton, which began her walk on the contemplative path. Eventually, she came out with a book titled The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, in which she reveals that she now worships the Goddess Sophia. Monk Kidd's Sophia offers us the holiness of everything (i.e., panentheism). She explains:

We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth's holiness.... Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity ["ground of all being"]. Earth becomes alive and sacred.... Goddess offers us the holiness of everything. (pp. 162-163)

Now in The Shack, we have God, the Holy Spirit as "Sophia" whom, the book says, shares the same essence as Elouisa, ("Sophia is a personification of Papa's wisdom," p. 171) who says God is "the ground of all being."

Interestingly, on the best-seller list of a New Age bookstore in Portland, Oregon, The Shack is number four. Note that this store is strictly a New Age bookstore, even offering regular classes on metaphysics subjects such Taro Card reading, Shamanism, Astrology, etc. Ironically, this bookstore has a whole section devoted to Thomas Merton. Would The Shack be at the top of the best seller list of a prominent New Age bookstore if it had a biblical message of the Gospel that rejects the notion that all paths lead to God? Definitely not. At that same New Age bookstore, Sue Monk Kidd's book, When the Heart Waits (a contemplative book) has also been on their best-seller list!

In this serious matter, where so many proclaiming Christians are resonating with the spirituality of both Thomas Merton and The Shack, let us soberly bear in mind the words of the Apostle Paul, when he said: "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils (I Corinthians 10:21). And also: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (II Corinthians 6:17). This is the essence of Christianity - we are in the world but not to be embracing it's belief systems. This does not mean we are to be hateful to those who do not adhere to biblical truth, but we are no longer tied into nor resonate with the world's spiritual understanding after being born-again. There's no way around this for the true believer.

We pray that those who have read The Shack and are impressed with it will give this article serious and prayer consideration.

Notes:
1. William Shannon, Silent Lamp, The Thomas Merton Story (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), p. 281.
2. David Steindl-Rast, "Recollection of Thomas Merton's Last Days in the West" (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
3. Raymond Bailey, Thomas Merton on Mysticism (Image Books, 1987), p. 191.
4. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing, 1996), p. 76.
5. M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Merton, My Brother (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1996), pp. 199-200.
6. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander ((Garden City, NY: Doubleday Publishers, 1989), pp. 157-158

Click here for more information on The Shack.

 

Brian McLaren Wants End Time Believing Christians Robustly Confronted

[B]eloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? II Peter 3:1-4

If you are a Christian who believes that the Bible is God's inspired Word and believe that Jesus Christ will be coming again, you are being marginalized. And you might not even know it. It may surprise you to know where this marginalization is coming from. We're not speaking of the world today . . . we are talking about people who say they are Christians and who happen to be very influential. In fact, one of them, Rick Warren, was just named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the entire world.1

In an April 2009 article in Sojourner's magazine by emerging church leader, Brian McLaren, McLaren clearly has targeted Christians. But not just any Christians. McLaren is talking about Christians who believe Jesus Christ is coming back again, suggesting that these type of Christians are the reason there is no peace in the Middle East. He says what these end-time believing Christians are doing is "terrible," "deadly," and "distorted."

McLaren says that he grew up with a dispensational view (the belief that Jesus Christ will return and establish his kingdom on earth) but has come to realize this view is "morally and ethically harmful." He likens this belief system to racism in the 50s and 60s and says:

These doctrinal formulations often use a bogus end-of-the-world scenario to create a kind of death-wish for World War III, which--unless it is confronted more robustly by the rest of us--could too easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyone who is familiar with the writings of occultist Alice Bailey or New Age author and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard knows that they believe this very thing. In fact, McLaren is sounding more and more like them all the time, and his article in Soujourners is further proof of that.

It isn't just Bible-believing Christians who McLaren is upset with - he's also angry about Israel and the very idea that she is a special nation in the eyes of God. This is why he names Christian Zionists and Dispensationalists in particularly, because they tend to be two groups who hold fast to the belief that Israel is indeed a special nation to the Lord.

It is ironic that just a week ago, the House of Representatives passed the HR1913 hate crimes bill, which is supposed to deter hateful behavior toward others. Here, McLaren, who was chosen to be an advisor to Obama (a strong proponent of hate crime legislation), is speaking so hatefully about those who hold to biblical beliefs saying they must be robustly confronted by "the rest of us" [all human beings except the biblical ones].

Others have joined McLaren in this effort to silence and marginalize biblical Christians. Rick Warren's chief apologist (and we were told, a staff member at Saddleback) recently posted an article on the Internet that said ministries that defend the faith (he referenced Lighthouse Trails) were like mentally unstable cultists, "who are not normal people, average complainers, critics and typical dissidents who are generally unhappy about life itself . . . they are deadly." (Please contact Saddleback Church if you wish to verify this: (949) 609-8000.)

Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, says that "'rigid' Christians who believe in the possibility of Jesus' soon return" are "the real problem for the whole world." According to Campolo, they are to blame for wars, and a host of other evils in the world. This is what Alice Bailey and Barbara Marx Hubbard believe--and their obvious hostility towards believers shouts out from the pages of their writings.

There are others too who speak in derogatory language about Christians who believe Titus 2:13, which is: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." In Mark Driscoll's book Vintage Jesus, he ridicules Christians who believe there will be an Armageddon and a rapture (pp. 44, 157).

Perhaps one of the more serious attacks on Christians waiting for Christ's return (serious primarily because of his huge influence) comes from Rick Warren where he states in The Purpose Driven Life that those who study Bible prophecy are not fit for the kingdom of God. Most readers may have missed this because of the way the passage is organized, but if one studies this carefully, with a Bible by their side, it is not difficult to see. Roger Oakland explains:

Warren tells readers to think about something other than Bible prophecy: "If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy."

Warren ends this section of his book by stating that Satan would have you "sidetracked from your mission" and by quoting Jesus out of context, Warren says, "Anyone who lets himself be distracted [by studying Bible prophecy] from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God" (Living Bible). But Jesus was not referring to His return when He made that statement, which in the King James Version says: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). The Purpose Driven kingdom of God leaves no room for Bible prophecy, and in fact, condemns those who study it. The apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had a different view. He writes: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." (II Peter 1:19)

Christians are called to witness and be watchmen. No Scripture exists that tells us to ignore the events that have been pointed out as signposts indicating the return of Jesus. If we do, we might be like the foolish virgins who fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).(from Faith Undone, pp. 154-157)

In Warren Smith's book, Reinventing Jesus Christ, Smith discusses something Barbara Marx Hubbard calls the Selection Process. This is a process that New Agers believe in which Armageddon will only have to happen if those who believe in it (biblical Christians) remain on the earth for thus there would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. She believes, as does Alice Bailey (the woman who coined the term New Age), that the world cannot evolve, and there cannot be peace until it is rid of these kind of people. If it is, then there can be what is termed an Alternative to Armageddon. Sound far-fetched? Just keep in mind that Barbara Marx Hubbard is a respected author--in fact, she was instrumental in the early stages of what is now the lobbying group for the soon-to-be Department of Peace that over 60 Congressmen are supporting.

We believe that this effort to put labels like cultist on believers will only grow. Another example is emerging church writer Thomas Hohstadt, who asked in a recent article: How Do We Know We Are Not in a Cult? He answered this question by basically saying that you are a cult if you believe you have all the answers and if you believe truth can be contained or absolutely defined. You see, in emerging spirituality doubt and uncertainty are exhalted, and the opposite "virtues,"--certainty and faith--are condemned. Incredible as it seems, those who stand on the Word of God will, in the end, be called evil, deadly, and cultish.

The growing hostility against Bible-believing Christians continues. And yet, in Matthew 24:6, Jesus comforts us with these words: "[S]ee that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Let us remember and take heed to the words Jesus told his disciples: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). As believers we will stand for the truth, but we will continue to love those who persecute. We are inspired by the many saints who have gone before and courageously, by His grace and strength, stood. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast." (II Thessalonians 2:15)

Related:
Bible Prophecy on Trial

Brian McLaren, Rethinking the Second Coming of Christ

Will the Evangelical Church Help Usher in the "Age of Enlightenment" and the Coming False One?

Is the Emerging Church Right? "There is no second coming of Jesus Christ." by Larry DeBruyn

 

Time Magazine Names Rick Warren as One of 100 Most Influential in THE WORLD


The May 11th issue of Time magazine has posted their The 2009 Time 100 ("The Most Influential People in the World"), which has named Rick Warren as one of the world's top 100 most influential people. Listing Warren under "Heroes and Icons," the article is accompanied by an unusual drawing of Warren framed in a stained-glass looking border, done by illustrator Anita Kunz. Click here to read Time article.


 

1st Novel to Expose Contemplative Spirituality - Gone to Press


A compelling and thought-provoking look at the true nature behind contemplative spirituality, which has impacted Christian churches, colleges, seminaries, and universities across the globe.

Castles in the Sand, the first 2009 release by Lighthouse Trails Publishing, has gone to press. This is Carolyn Greene's debut book, and to our knowledge, it is the first novel ever written that is specifically focused on exposing contemplative spirituality. Below is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis as well as other information about this book. If you have loved ones being exposed to the contemplative prayer or the emerging church movement, this book may help them in a powerful but non-threatening way because of its fictional format.

Description: When the horse-loving, day-dreaming Tessa Dawson enters a Christian college, she is introduced to the writings of 16
th century Teresa of Avila by her spiritual formation professor. Soon Tessa's life is dramatically affected as she delves into "Christian mysticism." As she ventures deeper into this form of spirituality, God prepares her concerned grandfather and a mysterious young man as they set out to reach her. But will they be able to help her before it's too late?

Two lives are changed forever through spiritual practices they each encounter--lectio divina . . . contemplative prayer . . . visualization . . . centering . . . sacred space . . . desert fathers . . . kundalini . . . labyrinths . . . spiritual formation . . . the silence

Book Information:
ISBN 978-0-9791315-4-7
Retail - $12.95
Softbound 224 Pages
Illustrated/Photos
Click here to see large cover.
Table of Contents and Chapter One

More information or TO ORDER
Street Date: May 28, 2009

Chapter by Chapter Synopsis:

1/Run
March 2009: College freshman, Tessa Dawson, is in trouble. The book begins at the end of the story, where Tessa is running to escape the darkness that has finally caught up with her. The slightly-built girl got more than she bargained for, and now she is fleeing the scene.

2/ Another Teresa
Spain, circa 1533: Teresa of Avila was born in 1515. When she was eighteen, she laid ill in a convent boarding house. Her father comes to take her home. Delirious, her mind drifts back to a troubled youth and a scene where she is trying to escape with her younger brother.

3/ Bus Ride
Early September 2008: The story backtracks now to Tessa Dawson's bus ride to the college she has promised her foster grandparents to attend, much to her chagrin. Tessa has been living in a daydream world, hoping to find relief from the pain she bears deep inside. She resents the old couple for talking her into going, but now that she has waved good-bye to them, she misses them and feels guilty for her attitude. She daydreams of her horse on the farm, recalls some of her troubled past, and ponders on her future at Flat Plains Bible College. Her faith is shaky, and she asks whether God is even there?

4/A Book from Uncle
Castellanos, Spain, 1538: Teresa of Avila, still ill and in her late teens, has been given a book called The Third Spiritual Alphabet from her uncle. Sick, with little else to do, the once vivacious, beautiful Teresa turns to this book of contemplative prayer practices.

5/First Day of College
September 2008: It is only the first day of college, and Tessa Dawson is ready to call it quits. She learns that her roommate is a highly talkative, bubbly homeschool girl, who also happens to have lost her birth parents as Tessa has. All Tessa wants is some peace and quiet, and she realizes that isn't going to happen while rooming with Katy (Katrina) Buckler. "I'd rather be back home mucking out Sassy's stall, she muses," as she follows the campus map and finally finds her way to her next class, Spiritual Formation 101.

6/Teresa Meets Teresa
In Tessa Dawson's spiritual formation class, she is introduced to the writings of 16th century Teresa of Avila, and instantly she takes an interest in this young woman of another time period. Tessa's new spiritual director at Flat Plains, a woman who goes by the name of Ms. Jasmine, sees Tessa's interest in the ancient nun, and she takes an interest in Tessa. It turns out that Teresa and Tessa have something in common--their hope to escape the pain within. When Tessa and Katy have a disagreement, Tessa is drawn into finding "the sacred space" she was told about in class.

7/The Fall Retreat at Quiet Waters Lodge
November 2008: Tessa and her spiritual formation class are at a retreat at the contemplative Quiet Waters Lodge. While there, on a walk in a nearby woods alone, Tessa meets a mysterious stranger on a bridge near the lodge. Later at the retreat, she manages to do a listening/imagination exercise in which she has a conversation with "Jesus" on the beach. She is excited to tell Ms. Jasmine about her success with the exercise, but her excitement is somewhat dampened as she remembers the woodsman's words to her.

8/ Gift of Tears
Spain, mid-16th Century: Teresa of Avila is in agony. She recalls, with tears, when she was on trial for six years and was judged severely by people because of her visions. "Oh! My soul is plunged into darkness!" she cries out. "How I long to be alone . . . oh, when will this life ever become more than a never-ending dark night for my soul! I hear them coming even now demanding answers to unanswerable questions."

9/The Lecture
Winter Term 2008: During a lecture in Ms. Jasmine's class, just before Christmas break, the students at Flat Plains learn some unusual things about the ancient mystics. Ms. Jasmine also warns the class that now that they are coming into an understanding of the "deeper" spiritual matters and have experienced God in a new way, their parents and family members back at home may look at them negatively and oddly. She assures them it is those with traditional views who have the problem, not them.

10/The Farmhouse
January 2009: Back on the farm, Tessa's foster grandfather, Jacob Brown, begins to worry about Tessa after he receives some peculiar text messages from her. Tessa keeps mentioning a name that "Gramps" had heard before. In an old wooden chest, he stumbles upon a biography by an ancient mystic, Teresa of Avila. The book had been left at the farm many years ago by another troubled foster girl. Gramps and Gran (Margaret) pray for Teresa.

11/Mortifications
Spain, circa 1555: A glimpse into the life (mortifications and self-abuse) of an older St. Teresa of Avila through the eyes of her sisters at the convent. "Teresa had taken to inflicting tortures and mortifications upon herself. She was just one of many nuns who drew blood in self-flagellation."

12/Spiritual Direction Session
January 9, 2009: The relationship between Tessa and Ms. Jasmine deepens as Tessa comes to see her professor as her spiritual mentor, but Tessa is feeling some apprehension regarding some of the experiences she is having during her contemplative sessions. Yet she trusts her professor and continues on this path. After all, it is a unique opportunity to be mentored by someone of Ms. Jasmine's caliber.

13/Angels and Voices
Spain, 1565: Teresa of Avila has been ordered to write down her experiences and visions. Her inquisitioners are reviewing her case for possible heresy. But there were some things she could never tell them. They would never understand.

14/Jacob Searches for Answers
February 2009-One Evening: Back at the farmhouse, Jacob has a heated phone confrontation with the president, Frank Johnson, of Flat Plains Bible College regarding the spiritual formation practices being taught at the school. Later that evening, Jacob researches into the late hours of the night. The more he reads, the more he realizes Tessa is in trouble. And while he can't pinpoint it, he feels certain that Frank Johnson is hiding something.

15/Symptoms
March 12: In a conversation with the knowledgeable Katy, Tessa is shocked to discover that the strange symptoms she has been having sound exactly like the rising of kundalini serpent power. Katy tells Tessa about an acquaintance named Nathan, who had gotten involved with New Age mysticism. After a frightening experience, Nathan repented and turned to the Lord. But Tessa grows angry at Katy and storms out of the room. Later that night, she has a terrible nightmare about a serpent that is strangling her.

16/Teresa Writes The Interior Castle
Spain, 1577: Through much difficulty due to physical symptoms and head noise, St. Teresa has written The Interior Castle as ordered by her superiors. She writes about the seven interior castles of the soul, which can be accessed, she says through contemplative prayer.

17/A Growing Concern
March 14: The Browns grow more concerned as they begin to put some pieces of the puzzle together. Margaret (Gran) has seen Jacob troubled before, such as when someone had stolen ten head of his prized cattle. But she had never seen him like this.

18/New York
March 23: On her way back from a missions trip to Argentina, Katy e-mails her parents from New York due to a flight mix up.

19/Bad Counsel
March 23: Without telling Ms. Jasmine, Tessa makes an appointment with one of the school's counselors. But she is shocked to learn that he is part of the effort to change the school into a contemplative college. In fact, his advice to her leaves her shaken. She leaves his office even more confused.

20/Teresa's Travels
Spain 1579: During one of St. Teresa's last difficult journeys to start another new convent, we learn more about her trances and her levitation experiences.

21/A Difficult Phone Call
March 23-Monday Night: Tessa arranges to meet a contact of Katy's, Nathan, who can explain more to her about kundalini and the symptoms she and her friends in the spiritual formation class have been having.

22/The Light That Was Dark
March 24-Tuesday Afternoon: During a conversation between Frank Johnson (the college president) and Ms. Jasmine, their plans to further develop the spiritual formation program at the school are discussed. However, Frank is unnerved at his colleague's brazen approach. Her role of usurper becomes evident to him. Meanwhile Tessa meets Nathan. He helps her into his jeep and speeds off. After buying her some hot chocolate (for it was a cold and blustery day in this northern region), Nathan takes Tessa to the local library. There he shows her some books and tells her that the practices she has become involved with are dangerous. Still, she is not convinced.

23/Seattle
March 24: Flat Plains missions team stops over in Seattle, and by chance Katy happens to see Ms. Jasmine being interviewed on television. Her New Age leanings are revealed not only to Katy, but to Jacob and Margaret who happen to see the same show at the farm. The truth is plain to see . . . But that's not the only thing Jacob and Margaret learn that day . . . suddenly they realize they have met Ms. Jasmine before, a long time ago.

24/Deja vu
March 24: Just before their spiritual direction session, Ms. Jasmine prevents Tessa from learning the truth by secretly tampering with her cell phone in a rage. Tessa attempts to share the concerns she has since her meeting Nathan earlier that afternoon, but Ms. Jasmine tries to convince her otherwise and calm her fears. Tessa tries to find her imaginary castle in the silence, but this time it isn't working.

25/The Debriefing
March 26-Thursday Evening: At their debriefing evening with other mission groups, Katy and her mission's team are shocked to find that they are about to be led in a contemplative prayer exercise. Katy and her teacher, Sam Goldsmith, boldly speak out before they are threatened with arrest and forced to leave. But the reaction of the students is not what the leaders had expected or wanted.

Later that evening, Sam Goldsmith has a very important question for Katy--if he can get her to stop talking long enough to ask it. When he does ask, for the first time in Katrina Buckler's life, she is left speechless.

26/Friday Morning
March 27:Margaret and her ladies group pray for Jacob who has just left for Flat Plains Bible College. He has two purposes for the trip: first to confront Frank Johnson and Ms. Jasmine head-on, second, to rescue Tessa and bring her home.

27/The Woodsman
March 27-Late Afternoon: The story briefly returns to the woodsman whom Tessa met months earlier at the Quiet Waters retreat. He thinks about the pretty, but confused girl he met in the woods and wonders if she recognized him when he met her for a second time.

28/Ekstasis Night
March 27-Friday Evening: While Margaret is praying back at the farm house, it is the night of the climactic Ekstasis worship night where Tessa fights her biggest spiritual storm and realizes her "castle" is crumbling. She has been dabbling with mystical practices that have brought a terrible darkness and oppression upon her. It is this night that she realizes she must escape its grip, but will she be able to do it with Ms. Jasmine watching her every move?

29/In Like a Lion, Out Like A . . .
March 27-Evening: Unbeknownst to Tessa, Gramps is in Frank Johnson's office during a violent thunder storm the evening of Ekstasis Night. He is demanding Frank to tell him where his granddaughter is. When Gramps gets an urgent text message from Tessa, he reminds her about the mysterious package he gave her the day she left for college. Open the package, he tells her--it is your lifeline.

30/The Elders
The elders from Flat Plains church show up (as pre-arranged by Jacob) and are shocked to see what is going on at the Ekstasis Night. They had no idea. Jacob was right! But Ms. Jasmine is determined to protect her project.

31/Rescued
Tessa is hiding in her dorm room, terrified at the presence she senses is in there with her. She feels she is going crazy. She realizes what she has been doing is wrong, so very wrong, but is it too late? And then--a frantic knock on the door.

32/Soaked
Frank Johnson and Ms. Jasmine go on a tirade to find Tessa, blaming her for what has turned out to be a disastrous Ekstasis Night. When Ms. Jasmine finally finds her, and tries to physically stop her, she is in for the surprise of her life. Just when she is about to flail in on Tessa, someone from behind grabs her arm and stops her. She turns and looks up into steel-blue eyes she had never expected to see again.

33/Finding Home
Conclusion

Book Information:
ISBN 978-0-9791315-4-7
Retail - $12.95
Softbound 224 Pages
Illustrated/Photos
Click here to see large cover.
Table of Contents and Chapter One

More information or TO ORDER
Street Date: May 28, 2009

 

Contemplative Terms and What They Mean

We've posted this before, but for those who have never read it, we are posting it again.

by Ray Yungen

In order to help others who might be involved with some form of mysticism, it is important to be aware of these terms and understand their basic meanings:

Altered State of Consciousness
A meditative or drug induced non-ordinary state of mind.

Ancient Wisdom
The supposed laws of the Universe that, when mastered, enable one to see one's own divinity--another word for metaphysics or occultism.

Aquarius/Aquarian Age
Sign of the Zodiac represented by the water carrier, Earth Age, associated with this astrological sign. The term New Age refers to the coming Aquarian age which is in the process of replacing the Pisces age. According to astrologers, every 2,000 years constitutes an age. New Agers predict this Aquarian age will be a time of utopia.

Centering/Centering Prayer
Another term for contemplative meditation (going deep within your center). A type of meditation being promoted in many mainline churches under the guise of prayer.

Chakras
Believed by New Agers to be the seven energy centers in man which open up during the kundalini effect in meditation.

Christ consciousness
Taught by New Agers to be the state of awareness, reached in meditation, in which one realizes that one is divine and one with God and thereby becoming a Christ or an enlightened being.

Contemplative Prayer
Going beyond thought by the use of repeated words or phrases.

Creative Visualization
Imaging in the mind, during meditation, what you want to occur and then expecting it to happen. In simple terms, you are creating your own reality.

Desert Fathers

Monks who lived as hermits beginning around the third century who first taught the practice of contemplative prayer.

Ecstasy (or Bliss)
The hoped for outcome of contemplative prayer or mediation

False Self
The false self is the ego or personality that is observable by others. One rids oneself of the false self to find the true self through mantra-meditation. New Agers would consider people like Buddha, Ghandi, and even Jesus Christ as examples of people who found their true self.

Higher Self
Supposed God-self within that New Agers seek to connect with through meditation. Also called the Christ-self or True-self.

Interspirituality
The view that all the world's religions are identical at the mystical level and therefore there should be solidarity among them.

Jesus Prayer
A popular version of this prayer is Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, often abreviated to Jesus.

Kundalini
Powerful energy that is brought on through meditation, associated with the Chakras.

Lectio Divina
Means sacred reading. In today's contemplative movement, it often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over again.

Mantra
Word or words repeated either silently or verbally to induce an altered state of consciousness.

Metaphysical
Beyond the physical realm or pertaining to the supernatural.

Mysticism
A direct experience of the supernatural realm.

New Age
The Age of Aquarius, supposedly the Golden Age, when man becomes aware of his power and divinity.

New Thought
A movement that tries to merge classic occult concepts with Christian terminology.

Occult/Occultism
Kept secret or hidden; the practice of metaphysics throughout history.

Pantheism
God is all things. The universe and all life are connected in a sum. This sum is the total reality of God. Thus, man, animals, plants, and all physical matter are seen as equal. The assumption is all is one, therefore all is deity.

Panentheism
God is in all things. In panentheism God is both personal and is also in all of creation. It is a universal view that believes God is in all people and that someday all of God's creation will be saved and be one with Him.

Reiki
Spiritual energy that is channeled by one attuned to the Reiki power. Literally translated God energy.

Sacred Space
Either a physical spot where one goes to engage in a mystical practice or the actual silence or the state of being during the mystical experience.

Spiritual Formation
The teaching and application of the spiritual disciplines; a vehicle for contemplative prayer

The silence
Absence of normal thought.

Spiritual Director
One who promotes or trains people in the spiritual disciplines including the silence.

Universalism
The belief that all humanity has or will ultimately have a positive connection and relationship with God.

(From the Glossary in
A Time of Departing)

For more terms, click here.

 

What the Bible Says About Persecution

by Berit Kjos

 

Reason for Persecution: the Cross separates us from the world

 

John 15:18-21

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you... because they do not know Him who sent Me."

 

John 16:1-4

"These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues [today it might be from churches]; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them."

 

John 17:14-18

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one."

 

Galatians 5:11

"And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased."


Click here to read this entire article.

 

Come Meet Corrie ten Boom ... Again

The Hiding Place: A listening adventure
A dramatic audio presentation adapted from The Hiding Place, the story of Corrie ten Boom 

Come and meet Corrie ten Boom again. This special 3CD set is something that will captivate the whole family. The narrator, Susie Sandager sounds just like Corrie - and when you listen to her, you will suddenly feel like you are actually listening to Corrie. The Hiding Place is the story of a Christian family in Holland, who hid many Jews during WWII. Eventually the ten Boom family was arrested. This is their story.

 

New Feature on From the Lighthouse Blog

We have added a new feature to the From the Lighthouse blog. At the end of each article, you will see a little icon that says "Share," which when clicked will open up a menu and give several options, such as "email," "print," Facebook, "Google," etc. This feature allows you to do a number of different things with our articles including emailing them to friends or putting them up on your Facebook account. We hope this feature will make it easier for you to share our articles with others. Our thanks to Brad B. for letting us know about this feature.

 

New Book by Warren Smith Coming in June

 "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so." Jeremiah 5:30-31

COMING JUNE 2009
A "Wonderful" Deception
by Warren Smith

Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age implications of the Purpose Driven Church and Reinventing Jesus ChristReinventing Jesus Christ is a free online book that you can download and print or read from your computer.

More information on A "Wonderful" Deception coming soon ...

Book Information
242 pages
Softbound, $14.95
PRE-ORDER TODAY

Some articles by Warren Smith

 

Publishing News

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BOOKSTORES MAY ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS OR FROM INGRAM OR SPRINGARBOR.

LIBRARIES MAY ORDER DIRECTLY FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS OR FROM BAKER & TAYLOR.

SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS BOOKS:

Lighthouse Trails Publishing now has sample chapters available online for most of the books we publish. We believe you will find each of these books to be well-written, carefully documented, and worthwhile. Click here to read some of the chapters.

 

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