CCN (Church Communication Network) is sending out notices about their upcoming Lead Like Jesus Revolution conference, which will take place on October 17th. The event will be broadcast to various locations across North America. Advertisement states that this one-day event features “the nation’s most influential Christian leaders.” Two of those “influential” leaders are Ken Blanchard and John Ortberg (who are also the hosts of the event). Both men are two of the strongest and most influential proponents of the contemplative prayer movement.
Ken Blanchard has been the topic of many Lighthouse Trails reports. Best known for his One Minute Manager top seller, Blanchard professes to have become a Christian in the late 1980s. However, he has been promoting and endorsing books, authors, practices, and organizations which have an eastern religion emphasis consistently for over twenty years. Often, he has written the forewords to books that outwardly teach New Age meditation practices and books that are Buddhist or Hindu in nature. A recent example is a book titled Little Wave and Old Swell (2007 edition) (see our report), in which the author of the book says it is “inspired by Hindu swami Paramahansa Yogananada.” Blanchard also sits on the board of advisors for a New Age group called The Hoffman Institute. The Institute takes its name from a method called The Hoffman Quadrinity Process. The book The Hoffman Process (written by Tim Laurence) is a primer in eastern-style meditation and New Age spirituality. Here are a few quotes from that book:
“I asked my friends up above. They always have the right answer,” he replied, referring to his spirit guides that, as a psychic healer, he often consulted.-Tim Laurence, speaking about the Hoffman Process founder, Bob Hoffman, p.15.
Many traditions around the world focus on the breath as a link to the divine. — Indeed, it is used as the focus of the Buddhist practice called Vipassana, or “insight meditation.”
You can use a short meditation to remind yourself of this connection to all others in this world of ours.–As you breathe, feel that breath coming from your core essence. p. 207.
When you are open to life, you start noticing the divine in everything. p. 209.
Of the Hoffman Process, Blanchard says:
The Hoffman Process brings forth spiritual leadership in a person. It made my spirituality come alive. Through the Hoffman Process I actually brought my faith into my daily actions. (from the Hoffman Institute website)
Another book Blanchard wrote the foreword to is Jim Ballard’s book, Mind Like Water. In the book, Ballard states:
I signed up for the yoga meditation lessons … founded by Paramahansa Yogananda….I had evidently reached a level of consciousness beyond the usual … I continue to consider meditation far and away the most important thing I do. (p. 77,78)
In this book, Ballard instructs on breath prayer, visualization, mantra meditation, and a number of other practices to enter the altered state of consciousness. Blanchard, who spoke at Saddleback last year and who currently sits on the New York Leadership Center’s advisory board with Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, says in the foreword of Ballard’s book:
Jim Ballard’s wonderful book, Mind Like Water … I hope that you and countless other readers will find in Mind Like Water some ways to calm your mind and uplift your consciousness.
Blanchard, who will be co-hosting the CCN Lead Like Jesus event with John Ortberg, another contemplative proponent, is considered a leading influencer in today’s Christian world at large.
Ortberg’s 2005 book, God is Closer Than You Think has a who’s who of mystic proponents, some of which include Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways), Brother Lawrence (who danced violently like a mad man when he practiced the “presence”), interspiritualists Tilden Edwards (Shalem Institute), Thomas Kelly (Divine Center in all), Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frederick Buechner, Meister Eckhart, Dallas Willard and Thomas Merton. Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted has many of these names as well. Ortberg and contemplative promoter Ruth Haley Barton Barton co-authored Ordinary Day With Jesus, which clearly instructs readers in mystical prayer practices. Both helped to develop Willow Creek’s Spiritual Formation program.
CCN represents most of today’s popular Christian figures: Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Max Lucado, Philip Yancey, James Dobson, Gary Thomas, Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Erwin McManus. A large percentage of the 80+ CCN speakers promote both contemplative spirituality and the emerging church.
For more research on Ken Blanchard, click here.