To Lighthouse Trails:
I’ve been noticing a new trend – adult coloring books. The little research I have done links these books with Buddhism. Do you have any information on this new trend?
I just stay away from things like this, but the reason I’m asking is because my 13 year old daughter was introduced to them at Sunday School today. Thankfully I had already warned her about these books, so she knew enough to bring it to my attention. I would like to warn this Sunday School teacher . . . who is already using these books at her school to calm the “bad” kids down.
As far as I’m concerned it’s just another way for the evil one to come into the church. I am really afraid for people; no one seems to question anything these days.
Thanks for any insight that you can give.
Much of this idea has been propagated by Sybil MacBeth’s Praying in Color book series. While there is certainly nothing harmful about adults coloring, in and of itself, the idea behind MacBeth’s praying through coloring does have a contemplative spirituality premise. On MacBeth’s website, she gives 8 reasons to color while praying:
1) You want to pray but words escape you.
2) Sitting still and staying focused in prayer are a challenge.
3) Your body wants to be part of your prayer.
4) You want to just hang out with God but don’t know how.
5) Listening to God feels like an impossible task .
6) Your mind wanders and your body complains.
7) You want a visual, concrete way to pray.
8) You Need a new way to pray.
In Sybil MacBeth’s book, Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God, the book is endorsed on the back cover by emergent writer Phyllis Tickle (a colleague of Brian McLaren). In that book, MacBeth speaks frequently about the contemplative practice called lectio divina, a meditative practice. With Tickle’s endorsement and the promotion of contemplative practices, we must question what MacBeth’s “new path” to God is. A look at the endnotes in the book may provide an answer to that question. She cites Thomas Merton (panentheistic contemplative Catholic monk), Parker Palmer (New Age sympathizer), and Tony Jones (contemplative emergent leader).
In a 2015 Religious News Service article titled “Coloring books for grown-ups: Calming — but a spiritual practice?,” it states:
Alison Gary used to go to church on Sunday mornings, but lately she’s embraced a different ritual: staying home and coloring with her 6-year-old daughter, Emerson. . . . “Emerson and I color almost every Sunday morning,” Gary said, while her husband, a yoga teacher, cooks and listens to music. “I let my mind let go, and I feel more connected to the world, more centered. . . . Gary is not the only grown-up rediscovering the contemplative joys of what once was considered a childish pastime. . . . Many books feature circular mandalas and Zen patterns, as well as mystical peacocks. . . . While adult coloring is mostly being marketed as a balm for the stress of modern life, many fans, like Gary, also describe it in spiritual terms.
Which raises the obvious question: Can coloring seriously be considered a spiritual practice? Some may scoff, but “it can become more than just coloring, if you want it to,” said Sybil MacBeth, author of the 2007 book “Praying in Color.” . . . MacBeth shares techniques to “incorporate the intention of prayer into coloring,” by doodling names of people or events, and intercessory requests such as healing and peace. MacBeth, a “dancer, doodler and former community college math professor” married to a retired Episcopal priest, believes coloring and doodling can be powerful prayer practices — a revelation she stumbled upon by accident. (source)
Praying in color or adult coloring books is another deceptive scheme of the enemy to get people to enter the dangerous contemplative silence that is rooted in New Age style meditation.