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Out of My Mindfulness – Part 1

By Lynn Lusby Pratt

ACLJ attorney Jay Sekulow’s bulletin of December 11, 2018 focused on complaints about Buddhist/Eastern meditation being forced on school kids. More from that in a minute.

Various “relaxation” programs have been appearing in the public schools for years. Most parents and teachers didn’t pick up on the religious implications because (1) parents often didn’t even know this was going on; (2) most of us are naïve/uneducated about Eastern religions/the occult/New Age; and (3) the language describing these programs has been deliberately disguised.

Clear back in 1981, Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy) was interviewed by Science of Mind magazine. He described how to blur the terminology to get these practices accepted in the schools: “If we…point out to educators that they have an ‘essence’ that can be invoked through ‘meditation’. . . they’ll be put off by the buzzwords. But if we give them an experience that leaves them feeling better about themselves . . .” (Dec 1981, p 108. Quoted in Ray Yungen’s For Many Shall Come in My Name).

Even before that, The Centering Book: Awareness Activities for Children, Parents and Teachers suggested calling these practices “quiet time” or “relaxation” . . . Click here to continue reading.

(photo from; used with permission)



Out of My Mindfulness – Part 2

By Lynn Lusby Pratt

Part 1 of this series told of the ACLJ’s action against Buddhist meditation being forced on school kids.

The ACLJ’s researchers dug into general (not just school-related) reports on mindfulness/meditation. Turns out that with this current craze, mindfulness being trendy and cool, studies don’t report the negative side effects (or they downplay those). That matches info I’d found recently.

One article gave several specifics (and it’s significant that this is a secular article):

  • A guy said meditation made him become more withdrawn.
  • Some people “describe a loss of emotion beyond what they wanted.”
  • One guy said he felt what I would call a “who cares?” attitude about other people’s problems. But then at some point, he swung the other way and became overly emotional.
  • A person mentioned feelings of having no self.

One psychologist said that “the purpose of mindfulness is not to make you dissociated.”

That may not be any given psychologist’s purpose, but isn’t that exactly Buddhism’s purpose? If you study Buddhism’s goal of detachment, it only follows that mindfulness/meditation amounts to being trained not to feel anything and to become enlightened to the idea that everything is an illusion. Click here to continue reading.

(photo from; used with permission)

Related material:

LT BOOKLET: MINDFULNESS—What You May Not Know and Should Have Been Told


Comments From Our Readers

The following are some of the comments that came in this past two weeks from our readers regarding articles posted on our blog. If you would like to post a comment to one of our articles, you may do so at the blog. You only need to give your first name. We would be grateful to hear from you, and such feedback is helpful for others. You can also post comments on the Lighthouse Trails Research Facebook page:

Grand Canyon University and Christian University Professor: If those books are part of the "selection" in the GCU library, it should be renamed the "New Age/Mysticism" library. It represents near absolute-zero on the Christian discernment scale. The professor should re-visit the Old Testament lesson in 1 Kings 3, where Solomon could ask anything of God (think of that -- what would YOU want??), and of all the things imaginable in this world, he requested a discerning heart: "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil". Guess what? His request pleased God so greatly that Solomon not only received what he asked for, but also good things that he had not requested! Maybe folks at the GCU library should do the same. Every teaching (from a Christian perspective) must be held up to God's Word, examined, and REJECTED if it's at odds with it -- we're commanded by God in numerous places throughout the NT to do exactly that. Maybe it's also time for Christians to stop being lured into the secular world's tricks: that includes the word/label "hate" -- which is nothing more than a psychological tool designed to shut up the opposition. Too often we "play the game" and fall into the trap of conflating "disagreement" with "hate". The two are not synonymous. Lee

Concerned About Lighthouse Trails Upcoming Book Challenging Calvinism: One mistake Calvinists make is looking to man for their doctrine rather than the Word and only the Word. The same can be said of Lutherans, Catholics, etc. I separated from a sister in Christ because any issue was handled according to Lutheran theology rather than just the Word. As Paul said, "I am not of Paul or Apollos..." As for salvation, predestination, etc., we cannot and should not put God into a box . How He saves people is not up to us to decide. How He carries out His justice is not up to us. Just because I didn't follow the Calvinist formula for salvation does not mean I am not saved right now. In fact, trying to assimilate the Calvinist viewpoint into my beliefs has caused me grief and anguish about who I am in Christ. Hillary

Navigators and Jesuit Prayer Practice: I also am saddened by the ignorance and apostasy of these organizations that were once so solid. My sister and her husband met in the Navigators in the 70's. This link with the R. Catholic Church will usually lead to anti-semitism and hatred towards Jews and Israel. That is a bi-product of spiritual formation. Elizabeth

Navigators and Jesuit Prayer Practice: When I was in the Air Force (1973 - 74) I was ministered to by local Navigator home of young men who had dedicated their life to reaching the military. They asked me to move back on Base into the barracks so I would be their 'in' to evangelize the Base. Which I did, and we did go through barracks after barracks over a period of a year. At the time, the Navigators was so solid. I am deeply saddened that they have moved so far to the left. My wife and I can hardly believe what is happening on the contemporary religious scene. I am so stunned my ears tingle, I Sam 3:11, Jer 19:3. How have the mighty fallen! "Lord, help your people." David

Is “New City Catechism” by Gospel Coalition OK?: Thank you for your research on the contributors. I could tell from going through all the questions that there was a reformed bent to the catechism. The question on ordinances included "sacrament" as an alternative, baptism omitted "choice or submission" leaving to the door open for infant baptism, "elect" was used several times and there were other nuances to tip off a discerning bible student. The only clear and complete catechism is the entire word of God (2 Tim 3:16, 17 2 Pet 1:3, etc) Jesus was clear in Jn 8:31,32 "if ye continue in my word" not in a catechism. Victor

Chuck Swindoll and Contemplative Prayer: I was shocked and dismayed to learn of this and immediately prayed to God to enlighten Chuck Swindoll Thank you lighthouse trails for keeping us abreast on the latest developments There is so much deception out there - your website has been an invaluable resource I am in the process of writing my first book and this type of information is critical as the author’s works I cite will have an impact on my work and reputation I am removing the one book coauthored by Chuck Swindoll which was in my bibliography and double checking the associated work I always check everything against Scripture no matter who wrote it so I should be ok But this should remind us all that we must never become complacent. Susan

Navigators and Jesuit Prayer Practices: I was at Vancouver MissionFest Jan.20 2019 They had a booth with Jesuits of Vancouver offering meditation and spiritual exercises by Ignatius Loyola. I picked up the brochures and have 3 copies, also could send you a photo If interested. I worked a prophency conference with Roger Oakland and Ray Yungen. Frieda

Navigators and Jesuit Prayer Practices: I also heard of someone who got saved through that group a long time ago. Sadly all these organizations that once used to be Biblical have slipped down the slippery slope into apostasy. Mysticism leads not only to the RCC but the one world religion and pantheism and thus 'oneness' under antichrist. Lillie

Sue Monk Kidd's Spirituality: I really enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd's articles in a quasi-Christian magazine when I was young (I didn't know any better then than to read it). Years later when I learned that she had become a famous writer, it was like finding an old friend; I was so excited. So I read her autobiographical trilogy (the book mentioned in your article below is part of that). The first one seemed okay; there were Scripture references at the beginning of each chapter. But the story she told was troubling (she blamed Christians/the church for the way some hateful guys treated her daughter -- yet there was no connection). This was cited as her reason for rejecting the God of the Bible! As I read the next two books, it became painfully obvious that she had been horribly and grievously deceived. In the second book, there were quotes from New Agey quasi-Christian leaders at the beginning of each chapter, and the third book was so bad, so bizarre, even relating some downright demonic occurrences in her life (which she saw as good), I just scanned it; I felt constrained by the Holy Spirit not to read every word. Oh, the sadness and grief I felt for her (and her family)! I pray she (and they) will be delivered out of that horrible darkness into the marvelous Light of Jesus Christ! CW

Is “New City Catechism” by Gospel Coalition OK?: Biblical election has to do with God fulfilling His purposes through His Son Jesus and His chosen people, Israel. It has nothing to do with God, at some point in eternity past through an eternal decree, choosing or electing certain people to salvation Jesus is God’s Elect Isaiah 42 1. Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. - compare with – Matthew 12 15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 16. And charged them that they should not make him known: 17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.20 Craig

Is “New City Catechism” by Gospel Coalition OK?: Thank you for another solidly sourced and valuable research piece made available to those who pray to be discerning according to God's will, but find it very challenging. I pray for many blessings upon your ministry as you continue to shine a beacon of light into the darkness of the world; may it draw many to the Way, the Truth and the Life of Christ in all His abundance, until He comes! Laura



Editor's Note: An excellent article on discernment is one we posted in May by Dr. Shelton Smith titled "Spiritual Discernment What It Is and How to Get It."


Out of My Mindfulness – Part 1
Out of My Mindfulness – Part 2
Comments From Our Readers

Navigators Welcomes 2019 With Their Contemplative Trend By Promoting Jesuit Prayer Practice

Out of My Mindfulness – Final Part
Understanding the Spirituality of Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees)
Letter to the Editor: LT Wrong to Warn About Walk to Emmaus
New! Free Online Booklet from SRN: Striking Similarities Between God Calling and the Jesus Calling Series
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Navigators Welcomes 2019 With Their Contemplative Trend By Promoting Jesuit Prayer Practice

Navigators is a Christian organization, founded in 1933 by a young man named Dawson Trotman, that eventually became a household name in the evangelical church.* The Navigators motto is, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.” However, Navigators and its publishing arm NavPress have been on a contemplative trend for over 15 years, and in the January 2019 issue of the Navigator’s newsletter, “Worldwide,” it is evident that the stakes have become much higher.

Navigators History of Promoting Contemplative Prayer

In 2005, Lighthouse Trails posted a news brief titled, “NavPress – Whatever Happened to Navigators?” that stated, “Today, NavPress has become a leading publisher for contemplative spirituality books.” Some of the authors NavPress publishes include Brennan Manning, Jan Johnson, Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, and Bruce Demerest. NavPress is also publishing Eugene Peterson’s The Message (which is a key product for NavPress).

In 2009, a reader sent a letter to the Lighthouse Trails editors asking if we were aware that Navigators was promoting contemplative spirituality. She wrote:

This all hits hard. I was saved through the Navigators in 1973. They used The Word, Prayer, Scripture memory, time with the Lord back then. They had us witness and spend time in fellowship.

In 2011, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled, “NavPress (Navigators) Continues Push for Contemplative Prayer . . . for Kids Too!” The LT article stated:

The April issue of Pray!shows solid signs that NavPress is still advocating contemplative spirituality. For example, there is an article by contemplative Tricia Rhodes. Rhodes’ book, The Soul at Rest, “introduces a step-by-step journey of learning contemplative prayer.”1 In that book, Rhodes says:

“Take deep breaths, concentrating on relaxing your body. Establish a slow, rhythmic pattern. Breathe in God’s peace, and breathe out your stresses, distractions, and fears. Breathe in God’s love, forgiveness, and compassion, and breathe out your sins, failures, and frustrations. Make every effort to “stop the flow of talking going on within you—to slow it down until it comes to a halt.” (p. 28) (also see our research on “breath prayers.”)

In this quote, Rhodes is quoting Episcopalian priest and mystic Morton Kelsey. To “stop the flow of talking going on within you” is classic mystical prayer. This inner stillness of the mind that is sought by the mystic is different than an outer quietness, such as sitting by a stream or turning off the television and radio. One cannot naturally turn off thoughts, and since thoughts are the enemy of mysticism, so to speak, they must be turned off. 

It was in that 2011 article that Lighthouse Trails showed how NavPress was now attempting to advance the contemplative prayer movement into the lives of Christian children. Our article explained:

[D]on’t be mistaken in thinking that NavPress doesn’t push contemplative for kids too. They also publish a magazine called PrayKids!. Issue #25 titled “Contemplative Prayer” states:

“Contemplative prayer is a form of meditative prayer that focuses on communing with God.  Although sometimes confused with its Eastern (and non-Christian) counterpart, true Christian meditation has been practiced since Bible times.

“This issue of PrayKids!® helps kids learn to slow down their fast-paced lives long enough to experience a meaningful relational encounter with their Heavenly Father.” (source)

The 2011 Lighthouse Trails article offered some interesting insights:

There is a reason that contemplatives often give a disclaimer that contemplative prayer isn’t the same as eastern meditation – it’s because it is done the very same way. Their reasoning is that if the intent is good then it doesn’t matter about the method. But as Ray Yungen points out, if you jump off a building and say fly,fly, fly, you are going to get the same results as if you said fall, fall, fall. (ATOD, p. 86). Good intentions isn’t a safeguard against deception. Mantra-type meditation brings about an induced altered state that leads the practitioner into demonic realms . . .  regardless of the word that is repeated.

January 2019 “Worldwide” Newsletter Backs Up Contemplative History

In January 2019, a Lighthouse Trails reader sent our editors a copy of the January 2019 issue of Navigator’s newsletter “Worldwide.” The cover article is titled “An Ancient and Enduring Discipline” written by David Lyons, an International Vice President of Navigators who serves a staff of 5,000 in over 100 countries “by coaching leaders and leading change.” (source) Lyons’ article starts with:

Will The Navigators last 500 years? If so, it will be because we really do live our motto: To Know Christ, to Make Him Known and to Help Others Do the Same.

The Navigators is similar to another Christian organization—the Jesuits—that has lasted nearly 500 years. Although we are fundamentally different than the Jesuits in important ways, we share a passion for spending daily time alone with God.

Lyons explains he became “fascinated” with the “connection” between the Navigators and the Jesuits’ “passion for spending time alone with God” when he read a book called Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year Old Company that Changed the World, written by Jesuit-school graduate and Catholic Church leader Chris Lowney.

Ignatius of LoyolaIgnatius of Loyola in military outfit (Public Domain: taken from Wikimedia Commons)

The 450-year old “company” Lowney is referring to is the Jesuit Order of the Catholic Church, and the practices he is talking about are the mystical prayer rituals that the Jesuits practiced called The Daily Examen (or the Ignatius Exercises named after Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order).

While the five steps of The Daily Examen (Ignatius Exercises) do not specifically instruct on contemplative prayer, they present a framework where contemplative prayer can be practiced. For instance, step one is “Become aware of God’s presence.” This is an essential element of contemplative prayer. For example, the contemplative believes it is very important to “feel” God’s presence and thus the need for a meditative prayer practice. Never mind that the born-again believer has God’s presence (the Holy Spirit) in him whether he “feels” it or not and knows it is not necessary to feel a presence in order to be assured that He is with/in us. Not so with the contemplative practitioner – he often doesn’t have that assurance (possibly because he is not born of the Spirit or he does not know that God’s Word promises us He will live in us; thus he seeks out a substitute (i.e., contemplative prayer) so that he may “feel” God’s presence.

Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership describes the “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius” as helping one to find “self-awareness” and aiding the “soul to rid itself of all its disordered affections.” (chapter 6, pp. 113-114) Lowney also describes what is known in contemplative circles as “spiritual directors”:

An experienced, impartial “director” guides each participant, not by teaching but by helping each recruit interpret his own experiences. (p. 114)

Contemplatives teach that spiritual directors are needed because of the esoteric experiences that take place with these mystical practices, and the director can help “discern” what these experiences mean. Contemplative pioneer, Richard Foster (author of Celebration of Discipline) takes it a step further and suggests that special prayers of protection are needed before engaging in such prayer practices because of the possibility of encountering demonic activity. (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Foster, pp. 156-157; also see here.)

Heroic Leadership, which influenced David Lyons (and now Navigators through Lyons promotion), is an info-mercial for the Jesuit Order and the Jesuit rituals and practices (including guided imagery exercises – p. 115); for instance, the word Jesuit is used 500 times in the book, and the “Suggestions for Further Reading” at the back of the book is five pages of resources that emphasize the Jesuit Order and the Jesuit practices. Of course, that would make sense that a Jesuit-school graduate would promote the Jesuits. But the Navigators? How does that make sense?

The Jesuits

For those who do not know much about the Jesuits (and their being the founders and igniters of the counter-reformation movement to stop the Reformation), read Roger Oakland’s booklet titled The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church. It may send shivers up your spine when you realize just what the Jesuit Order is all about (basically, to end the resistance against the Catholic Church and to bring the “lost brethren” back into the fold of the “Mother Church.” One may ask, how have the Jesuits planned to do this? The answer to that is through contemplative prayer. Roger Oakland explains:

[I]f the methods of converting lost or prodigal souls back to Rome have changed, what is the method to accomplish these goals today? It is largely through what is called Jesuit Spirituality. A 2002 book titled Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way reveals how the Jesuit order has had and continues to have a “great influence” in people around the world. It attributes this “vitality” to “its spirituality” which has also “evoked fierce loyalty and fierce opposition.”

What is the spirituality of the Jesuits that was so controversial? By their very roots, Jesuits are proponents of mystical prayer practices. The founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, created “spiritual exercises” that incorporated mysticism, including lectio divina. Today, millions of people worldwide practice the “Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.”

One Jesuit priest who resonates with the mystical spiritual outlook is Anthony De Mello (d. 1987), author of Sadhana: A Way to God. De Mello is often quoted today by contemplative and emerging authors and embraced the mysticism of Hinduism. He stated:

“To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on.” – Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28 (cited from A Time of Departing, by Ray Yungen, p. 75).

Tony Campolo, a popular figure in the evangelical church, reveals something quite interesting in his book, Letters to a Young Evangelical. In his book, he explains the role [Jesuit] mysticism had in him becoming a Christian. He explains:

“I learned about this way of having a born-again experience from reading Catholic mystics, especially The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.” (p. 30, see “Coming to Christ Through Mysticism,” Oakland )

For skeptics who may need further evidence that Jesuit Spirituality has come into the evangelical/Protestant church, consider this: In 2006, Baker Books, one of evangelicalism’s top book publishers, released a book titled Sacred Listening: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola written by James Wakefield. A publisher description of the book states:

“Central to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the Spiritual Exercises is a manual used to direct a month-long spiritual retreat. Now adapting these time-honored Exercises specifically for Protestant Christians, James L. Wakefield encourages readers to integrate their secular goals with their religious beliefs and helps them reflect on the life of Jesus as a model for their own discipleship.”

Wakefield’s book, devoted to the Jesuits and Ignatian Exercises, should be proof enough that the Jesuit Agenda has entered the Christian church and that mysticism is the tool by which the Jesuit Agenda is largely being brought into the lives of countless evangelicals and Protestants. . . .

. . . the “Jesuit Spirituality” has come into the Protestant church; thus this new modern (post-modern) mystical method to accomplish the goals of the papacy is working.

If Protestants and evangelicals can be convinced to practice mysticism (i.e., contemplative), this conditions them to begin embracing Rome and even all religions. It’s important to understand that mysticism is the bridge that unites all the religions of the world. In order to unite them, there would need to be a uniting, common denominator, so to speak. That common uniting medium is mysticism. . . .

Maybe it’s the years of promoting and practicing contemplative prayer ala Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Jan Johnson, Brennan Manning, et. al, and reading Peterson’s The Message that has entranced the Navigators to see nothing wrong with promoting the Jesuit Order and The Daily Examen. It’s probably too late to get the organization to change its mind, but hopefully there will be discerning Christians who will think twice before following its advice. 

*Navigators continues today to have a significant influence in evangelical Christianity. The ministry is active in over 160 colleges, in the military aiding chaplains, “in communities all over the United States,” in church settings, conducting hundreds of conferences each year, doing mission work in 102 countries, and having outreach to young millennials. Sadly, this means that there is the potential for millions to be introduced to contemplative spiritualty through Navigators and NavPress.

Out of My Mindfulness – Final Part

By Lynn Lusby Pratt

Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series lead in to this foundational question: Is mindfulness/meditation an Eastern religion practice or not? With its use in schools, businesses, and psychologists’ offices, it tends to be billed as neutral. Sometimes, though, the Eastern-ness is cheered, and (it had to happen!) you also sometimes hear of “Christian mindfulness.”

This Huffington Post article insists that all Eastern-ness has been removed for us here in the West. But this Wisdom Publications piece hints that the real power in the practice is its Eastern religion basis. . . .

There’s a big difference between a practice that’s completely neutral/nonreligious (like working a puzzle or watching the hummingbirds) and one that IS religious. What concerns me are the pagan practices that we are naïve about…and even try to sanitize into Christian practices. This, instead of starting with the Lord’s practices in Scripture. Click here to continue reading.

Related Reading:

“Mindfulness Meditation in Public Schools: Side-Stepping Supreme Court Religion Rulings”

Popular Christian Magazine – RELEVANT – Tells Millennials to Practice Breath Prayers and Mindfulness Meditation

Warning to Parents: Mind Yeti: The Committee for Children’s Mesmerizing Mindfulness Program

(photo from; used with permission)


Understanding the Spirituality of Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees)

By Ray Yungen
Sue Monk Kidd’s spirituality is spelled out clearly in her book When the Heart Waits. She explains:

There’s a bulb of truth buried in the human soul [not just Christian] that’s “only God” … the soul is more than something to win or save. It’s the seat and repository of the inner Divine, the God-image, the truest part of us. (emphasis mine)1

Sue Monk Kidd, an introspective woman, gives a revealing description of her spiritual transformation in her book God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved. She shares how she suffered a deep hollowness and spiritual hunger for many years even though she was very active in her Baptist church.2 She sums up her feelings:

Maybe we sense we-re disconnected from God somehow. He becomes superfluous to the business at hand. He lives on the periphery so long we begin to think that is where He belongs. Anything else seems unsophisticated or fanatical.3

Ironically, a Sunday school co-worker handed her a book by Thomas Merton, telling her she needed to read it. Once Monk Kidd read it, her life changed dramatically.

What happened next completely reoriented Sue Monk Kidd’s worldview and belief system. She started down the contemplative prayer road with bliss, reading numerous books and repeating the sacred word methods taught in her readings.4 She ultimately came to the mystical realization that:

I am speaking of recognizing the hidden truth that we are one with all people. We are part of them and they are part of us … When we encounter another person, … we should walk as if we were upon holy ground. We should respond as if God dwells there.5

One could come to Monk Kidd’s defense by saying she is just referring to Christians and non-Christians sharing a common humanity and the need to treat all people well. Yet, while respecting humanity is important, she fails to distinguish between Christians and non-Christians thereby negating Christ’s imperative, “You must be born again” (John 3:7), as the prerequisite for the indwelling of God. Her mystical universalism is apparent when she quotes someone who advises that the Hindu greeting namaste, which translates, I honor the god in you, should be used by Christians.6

Monk Kidd, like Thomas Merton, did not join a metaphysical church such as the Unity Church or a Religious Science church. She found her spirituality within the comfortable and familiar confines of a Baptist church!

Moreover, when Monk Kidd found her universal spirituality she was no teenager. She was a sophisticated, mature family woman. This illustrates the susceptibility of the millions like her who are seeking seemingly novel, positive approaches to Christian spiritual growth. Those who lack discernment are at great risk. What looks godly or spiritually benign on the surface may have principles behind it that are in dire conflict with Christianity.

Since the original edition of A Time of Departing came out, two major discoveries have come to my attention. First, Sue Monk Kidd has become a widely known author. She has written a bestselling book titled The Secret Life of Bees, which has sold millions of copies [and now is made into a feature film]. Her latest book, The Mermaid Chair, is also on the bestseller list. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I found even more profound evidence that my conclusions about her worldview were right. It seems that just a few years after she had written the book I’ve quoted, she wrote another book on spirituality. This one was titled The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. If ever there was a book confirming my message in A Time of Departing, this book is it.

In her first and second books, Monk Kidd was writing from a Christian perspective. That is why the back cover of God’s Joyful Surprise was endorsed by Virtue, Today’s Christian Woman, and (really proving my point) Moody Monthly. But with her third and fourth book, Monk Kidd had made the full transition to a spiritual view more in tune with Wicca than with Christianity. Now she worships the Goddess Sophia rather than Jesus Christ:

We also need Goddess consciousness to reveal earth’s holiness…. Matter becomes inspirited; it breathes divinity. Earth becomes alive and sacred…. Goddess offers us the holiness of everything.7

There is one portion in Monk Kidd’s book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter that, for me, stands out and speaks right to the heart of this issue. I want my readers to grasp what she is conveying in the following account. No one can lightly dismiss or ignore the powers behind contemplative prayer after reading this narrative:

The minister was preaching. He was holding up a Bible. It was open, perched atop his raised hand as if a blackbird had landed there. He was saying that the Bible was the sole and ultimate authority of the Christian’s life. The sole and ultimate authority.

I remember a feeling rising up from a place about two inches below my navel. It was a passionate, determined feeling, and it spread out from the core of me like a current so that my skin vibrated with it. If feelings could be translated into English, this feeling would have roughly been the word no!

It was the purest inner knowing I had experienced, and it was shouting in me no, no, no! The ultimate authority of my life is not the Bible; it is not confined between the covers of a book. It is not something written by men and frozen in time. It is not from a source outside myself. My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul. Period.8

This is an excerpt from A Time of Departing, chapter 7, “Seducing Spirits.”)


1. Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1990), pp. 47-48.
2. Sue Monk Kidd, God’s Joyful Surprise (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1987), p. 55.
3. Ibid., p. 56.
4. Ibid., p. 198.
5. Ibid., pp. 233, 228.
6. Ibid., pp. 228-229.
7. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1996), pp. 162-163.
8. Ibid., p. 76.

See also: Film Warning: The Secret Life of Bees May Leave Dangerous Sting


Letter to the Editor: LT Wrong to Warn About Walk to Emmaus

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.

Jan O.

Dear Jan:

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: (Mandala coloring by Upper Room used as a vehicle to meditate) (see our research on this:

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):

Upper Room – Labyrinths:

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, and we would be happy to mail you some well-documented material that may help explain our concerns.


New! Free Online Booklet from SRN: Striking Similarities Between God Calling and the Jesus Calling Series

Chris Lawson of Spiritual Research Network has posted a compelling online booklet titled Striking Similarities Between God Calling and the Jesus Calling Series. If you have friends or family members who are reading Jesus Calling, this project presented by SRN may be very helpful in pointing out to Jesus Calling readers that Jesus Calling has many similarities to the occultic book, God Calling. Here is the introduction to this online booklet (you can download the entire booklet free from SRN's website):


Sarah Young’s best-selling 2004 book Jesus Calling and its sequels appear to be sound, biblical devotionals because of their familiar Christian language, occasional orthodox statements, and abundant scripture references. However, a detailed study reveals remarkable parallels with the best-selling 1935 devotional God Calling, a book “replete with denials of biblical teaching.” 

A few similarities are apparent at first glance:  the text is written as if “Jesus” is speaking directly to the reader, the narrative voice is soothing and reassuring, and the messages are sprinkled with scripture fragments. But beyond the structural parallels, there are considerable overlaps in content—¬ the books share distinctive word choice, phrasing, and ideas throughout.

To establish how closely God Calling and the Jesus Calling series are linked, a detailed comparison is presented here. This booklet is a collection of 270 quotations from eight of Young’s devotionals compared with quotations from God Calling. The quantity and detail of the similarities suggest that God Calling substantially influenced the writing of the Jesus Calling series.

In fact, the original introduction to Jesus Calling explicitly acknowledged an inspirational influence from God Calling. While this acknowledgement was redacted in later editions, the influence remains. The original introduction is presented along with the revised version in Appendix A. Click here to continue reading or to download the entire booklet.

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You may not know that Lighthouse Trails has, in addition to this free e-newsletter, a low-priced subscription-based journal that is mailed out to homes, offices, and churches. While this free e-newsletter you are reading comes out two-three times a month, the Lighthouse Trails Research Journal comes out six times a year. Each journal is 36-pages long and is packed with numerous articles. The Journal also contains letters to the editor, book and booklet excerpts, information on our latest resources, and more. The cost for a U.S. subscription is $15 a year (no extra shipping costs). Canada is $29 a year, and other international is $42 a year (sorry for those high international costs - it's because of the extremely high international shipping rates).

The Journal contains the most important articles from the previous two months. We have had a lot of feedback about the Journal, and our readers are telling us that they love the Journal.

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Shepherd's Bible Verse Tea - Sampler BoxIn 2010, Lighthouse Trails began a small organic tea division as a way to help support the ministry of Lighthouse Trails. Thus the creation of Shepherd's Bible Verse Tea. Each tea bag has a string with a tag, and on each tag is a KJV Bible verse (95 verses used). Since the tea division began, we have had many people tell us how much they love our tea. We hope you will consider getting a box and trying it out. It is a wonderful gift too and helps to remind people about God's wonderful Word.

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