We received the following e-mail this week: “Are you familiar with Northwestern College in Iowa? (I was told it is a Christian college). How can I find out if they are a biblically sound Christian Christian college or if they are open to emergent beliefs?” This is our answer:
Northwestern College, located in Orange City, Iowa, a Reformed (Calvinist) college, is promoting contemplative spirituality and spiritual formation, and in no small way. Just as one example, on their home page, they list upcoming chapel services. On October 20th, they will be holding one titled “Centering Prayer.” On their “Discipleship” page, they talk about centering prayer as well, stating: “You’ll be able to explore new ways to pray by walking our prayerlabyrinth or participating in Centering Prayer or 24-hour prayer vigils.” Speaking of labyrinths, while we couldn’t find the photo of their labyrinth, we did see this picture of one on their college newspaper, The Beacon: http://beacon.nwciowa.edu/2010/10/quiz-in-the-corner-2/. It appears that much of the contemplative emphasis at the school is entering through their “Campus Ministry” department. It is sad when you read one Beacon issue from October 2010 where students are being led in “spiritual disciplines” and encouraged to use labyrinths. We wonder if these young students’ parents know what their children are learning at Northwestern College. Needless to say, Lighthouse Trails has added Northwestern College to our list of Christian schools that are promoting spiritual formation/contemplative prayer.
Update: Thank you M., a Lighthouse Trails reader who sent us the following link after reading the post above. This link is to the February 27, 2009 issue of The Beacon where an article on labyrinths is included (see page 5): http://library.nwciowa.edu/collections/archives/beacon/Feb27_2009.pdf
Labyrinth: A Road to Rome? by Roger Oakland
Labyrinths: A Walk to Life or a Walk to Death by Steve Muse