Mega-church leader,Willow Creek Association, is sending a clear message through their 2007 Fall Resource Catalog – contemplative spirituality and emergent theology are the way to go. The 58 page catalog is filled with heavy hitters in both camps. Those listed include meditation promoter Jim Collins, contemplative proponents John Ortberg, and Rick Warren, along with Erwin McManus. The Be Still DVD, featuring many who promote contemplative (Beth Moore, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, and Calvin Miller) is being offered in the catalog as well. This DVD is an infomercial for contemplative prayer (see our Be Still research). Another strong contemplative author in the catalog is Keri Wyatt Kent, author of several books and popular with young mothers.
Taking a broad step closer to the emerging church, the Willow Creek catalog announces the Ancient Future Community Group Life Conference (September 2007) with several emerging church leaders including Scot McKnight (see Faith Undone) and Alan Hirsch. One workshop will be presented by the “creators of Be Still” titled “Practicing Contemplative Prayer in Your Small Group.” Calling these speakers “expert speakers,” there is no doubt about it, Willow Creek is running full speed ahead towards an emergent church. Thus including globalist Jimmy Carter in the catalog makes sense.
But in case all of this isn’t enough to convince the skeptic or the Willow Creek follower, on page 50 of the catalog is a section for Rob Bell’s Noomas. The Noomas are a Trojan horse that is allowing the spirituality of mysticism guru Ken Wilber (admired fondly by Rob Bell) into many Christian settings, including Christian high schools and junior high schools (see Velvet Elvis: A Doorway to the New Age). Ken Wilber (who Bell calls “mind blowing”) is into yoga, Zen, centering prayer, kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), TM, tantra (Hindu-based sexuality), and kundalini yoga.
The bitter icing on this cake can be found on page 52 of the catalog, where a teaching kit by John Ortberg and Ruth Haley Barton is listed. Barton was trained at the pantheistic Shalem Institute in Washington DC and is a strong advocate and trainer of spiritual direction (another term for teaching contemplative prayer – see A Time of Departing).
When we stop to ponder the implications of Willow Creek’s massive influence throughout the world, it is pretty clear to see that mystic Karl Rahner’s words may very well come true in mainstream Christianity: “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic … or he will be nothing” (ATOD, p. 160). And certainly Willow Creek will play a large role in bringing this about.