LTRP Note: The following letter to the editor is in regard to our article:
Walk to Emmaus and Tres Dias – A Walk to Deception.
To Lighthouse Trails:
There are NO MANTRAS in the Walk to Emmaus or any other cursillo movement. We follow a strict Bible centered curriculum covered with prayer and praise. I am not sure what you are talking about in this website, but you are doing a major disservice to the ministry that has given thousands of Christians renewal. I suggest you print this so people will go to the official websites of these weekends and learn for themselves.
Thank you for your interest in posting comments to our blog. While we do not question your sincerity, we very strongly disagree with your approval of the Walk to Emmaus. Let us explain:
Upper Room Ministries (the creators and promoters of Walk to Emmaus with its roots in the United Methodist Church) has been a strong advocate and teacher of contemplative prayer (a practice based on an interspiritual panentheistic mantric-style meditation) for many years and incorporates this wherever they can, including into the Walk to Emmaus. We are glad you have not run into this yourself, but we hope you will do some further research.
While you personally may not have performed contemplative or centering prayer while doing the Walk, the Walk is designed so that participants can engage in contemplative prayer during the walk; and not only “can” but “should” to gain the full “benefits” of the Walk (from Upper Room’s perspective).
The problem with combining truth with error (as they have done at Upper Room) is that the error is disguised and often undiscovered; yet, the damage from it is still done. In the case of Upper Room, the ratio between truth and error is continually changing (in the favor of error) as they move further and further away from biblical Christianity.
In addition to the push for contemplative prayer, Upper Room is an ecumenical organization in the most dangerous sense of the word.
Lest you think that the goals and mission of Walk to Emmaus is somehow separated or different than Upper Room’s goals and mission, consider the following statement taken from the Upper Room Handbook on Emmaus:
Emmaus is offered only with the permission and under the guidelines of The Upper Room. This ensures a proven format and a common experience that should be trustworthy from weekend to weekend wherever Emmaus is being offered. (source; emphasis added)
Here are a few examples of where Upper Room promotes contemplative spirituality and ecumenism:
https://urelearning.upperroom.org/p/mandalas (Mandala coloring by Upper Room used as a vehicle to meditate) (see our research on this: https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=28760).
Upper Room publishes many books. Their book, Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices, teaches readers a mantric prayer telling them to repeat their special word or phrase over and over in order to prepare them to hear the voice of God. This book is just one of many that Upper Room publishes that teaches and/or promotes contemplative prayer.
The Upper Room E-Learning “school” is packed with contemplative teachings, many of which are interfaith, interspiritual, ecumenical, and mystical. Just one of many examples of how Upper Room’s E-Learning is ecumenical (meaning basically moving toward the Catholic Church) is their course on “Protestant Prayer Beads” (developed to mimic Catholic rosary beads): https://urelearning.upperroom.org/p/praying-with-protestant-prayer-beads.
Upper Room – Labyrinths: https://www.upperroom.org/resources/walking-prayer.
Another book, A Guide to Prayer, published by Upper Room contains the teachings of Henri Nouwen (Catholic mystic) and Sue Monk Kidd (Christian-turned-goddess-worshipper). Their Guide to Prayer for All People includes the teachings of panentheistic, Buddhist-sympathizing monk Thomas Merton.
Upper Room also brings their philosophy to youth through their magazine Devozine. As just one example, Devozine encourages young people to practice lectio divina.
And our last example is taken from The Living Prayer Center (a ministry of Upper Room) where it instructs participants to engage in mindfulness meditation:
You might sometimes want to find your balance by trying mindfulness as a practice to become more comfortable in stillness and silence. (source)
The above is just a sampling of dozens and dozens more examples that can be found on the Upper Room and Walk to Emmaus websites.
Jan, if you would like some basic information on the contemplative prayer movement, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would be happy to mail you some well-documented material that may help explain our concerns.