LTRP Note: The following from Berit Kjos is from her book A Twist of Faith, which identifies and warns against “goddess spirituality.” Keep in mind that The Shack and Sue Monk Kidd’s book, The Secret Life of Bees (recently made into a movie) carry the “goddess spirituality” theme within their pages through the Black Madonna figure.
We should not underestimate the impact these books (and their spiritual overtones) are having on millions of people. It can be subtle at first, but remember what happened to Sue Monk Kidd: she started out as a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher. After she was introduced to the writings of Thomas Merton, her spiritual outlook began to change. Eventually, she came to believe that the God of the Bible was not the true God and that a feminine goddess (one which dwelt in all things – even graffetti on a wall) was. Is it any wonder that Lighthouse Trails became alarmed to see David Jeremiah favorably talking about Sue Monk Kidd in his book Life Open Wide and saying that she was one of a handful of people who had learned the secret to a “passionate” life.
If you have not read some of our material regarding Sue Monk Kidd, The Shack, and David Jeremiah’s book, we urge you to do so. The spiritual welfare of your loved ones may be at stake. (see links at bottom of this post)
“Our Father in Heaven or Our Mother on Earth?”
by Berit Kjos
This first chapter summarizes our concern for women and the church today. Please take a look at the massive cultural movement that is enticing God’s people to twist His Word and to trust feelings and experience rather than on His unchanging truth. The result is deception, disappointment, depression, and despair. But God shows us the way back to His peace and protection.
Peggy’s struggles seemed endless. She wanted to be close to God, but she rarely felt His presence. She wanted her teenage son to love Him, but the occult posters in his room became daily reminders of unanswered prayer. She joined a Christian ministry, but satisfying fellowship with God kept eluding her. Eventually she left the ministry to return to college.
She called me a few years later. She had begun to find herself, she said. Her search had led her beyond the familiar voices that had provided “pat answers” to her spiritual questions. The Biblical God no longer seemed either relevant or benevolent, but a college teacher had been helpful in her journey toward self-discovery. This teacher-counselor called herself a witch — one who believes in the power of magic formulas and rituals to invoke power from spiritual forces.
Some years passed. When Peggy called again, she had left her husband and moved away. “I had to find me,” she explained. “My spiritual journey has opened my eyes to a whole new paradigm . . . .”
“A new paradigm?”
“Yes. A brand new way of seeing God and myself — and everything else. It’s like being born again.”
“Who is Jesus Christ to you now?” I asked.
“He is a symbol of redemption,” she answered. “But I haven’t rejected the Bible. I’m only trying to make my spiritual experience my own. I have to hear my own voice and not let someone else choose for me. Meanwhile, I’m willing to live with confusion and mystery. I feel like I’m in God’s hands whether God is He, She, or It.”
Can you identify with Peggy? Or do you have friends on similar journeys? Like millions of other seekers, Peggy longs for practical spirituality, a sense of identity, a community of like-minded seekers, and a God she can feel. She remembers meaningful Bible verses, but they have lost their appeal as guidelines. Somehow the Bible no longer fits her thinking or her personal wants.
She wonders why God isn’t more tolerant and broad-minded. After all, He is the God of love, isn’t He? Maybe a feminine deity would be more compassionate, understanding, and relevant to women. Perhaps it’s time to move beyond the old boundaries of Biblical truth into the boundless realms of dreams, visions, and self-discovery?
Multitudes have. What used to be sparsely traveled sideroads to New Age experiences have become cultural freeways to self-made spirituality. Masses of church women drift onto these mystical superhighways where they adapt their former beliefs to today’s more “inclusive” views. After all, they are told, peace in a pluralistic world demands a more open-minded look at all religions and cultures.
Those who agree can find countless paths to self-discovery and personal empowerment through books, magazines, and new kinds of women’s group. They meet at the YWCA, in bookstores, in traditional churches, at retreat centers, living rooms . . . anywhere. Here, strange new words and practices such as “enneagrams,” labyrinths, Sophia Circles, and “critical mass” — offer modern formulas for spiritual transformation. Therapists, facilitators and spiritual directors promise “safe places” where seekers can discover their own truth, learn new rituals, affirm each other’s experiences, and free themselves from old “boxes” and boundaries.
Perhaps you are part of such a group. You may have friends or relatives who are exploring these new paths. Or you may be among those who wonder how those weird, mystical activities could possibly touch your life. Unlike the women seeking truth in pagan circles, you may know your destination and feel no need for spiritual alternatives. You’re safe in your family, in your church, and among your personal friends.
Are you sure? This new spiritual movement is transforming our churches as well as our culture. It touches every family that reads newspapers, watches television, and sends children to community schools. It is fast driving our society beyond Christianity, beyond humanism — even beyond relativism — toward new global beliefs and values. No one is immune to its subtle pressures and silent promptings. That it parallels other social changes and global movements only speeds the transformation. Yet, most Christians — like the proverbial frog — have barely noticed.
This feminist movement demands new deities or, at least, a rethinking of the old ones. So the search for a “more relevant” religion calls for new visions of God: images that trade holiness for tolerance, the heavenly for the earthly, and the God who is above us for a god who is us.
The most seductive images are feminine. They may look like postcard angels, fairy godmothers, Greek earth goddesses, radiant New Age priestesses, or even a mythical Mary, but they all promise unconditional love, peace, power and personal transcendence. To many, they seem too good to refuse. To continue …
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