December 10, 2006

Samanthaís Search for Something Tangible

I found another glimpse of the sort of spirituality found among those identifying with the "Emerging Church." I found it on a blog belonging to a pastor I have often reported on, but will leave his name out of this since I donít want it to look like Iím picking on him.

But on his blog, one of his bloggers, Iíll call her Samantha, wrote in of her recent discovery of the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, a dead Catholic saint known for his founding of the Society of Jesus, aka the Jesuits. I would overlook this if not for the sad fact that this is not an isolated case. These so-called exercises of Loyola have made a come-back in emerging circles and it is definitely a step back into spiritual darkness.

Samantha named the thread she started, "Prayers of Ignatius":

"Ignatius of Loyola was a soldier, a contemporary of Martin Luther. The only church at the time was the original Catholic Church so the original Catholic Spiritual Exercises written by Ignatius were written to university students in order to help them find Jesus Christ and their place in Godís world."

"The Exercises had been unavailable to the layperson until about 20 years ago. Father Joseph Tetlow wrote a contemporary and understandable workbook of the Exercises for the layman of today. The Exercises require a 9-month commitment."

"My husband and myself have just begun our 9-month commitment. A group of 10 (10 being the largest number allowed to go through the Exercises together at one time) met for the first time last week in our home. Our groupís religious make up is 5 Catholic, 4 Protestant and 1 Hindu. I only add these label because the integration of denominations excites me. All of us exploring the same focal point Christ at the same time."

"The materials used weekly are a Bible, 3 ring binder, journal and a pencil or pen. It is suggested that we create a sacred space to do our daily study. Let me explain a sacred space. We are to choose the same place everyday, light a candle (optional), be free from distractions, pray the trinity prayer, come to quiet, begin lesson and end with the Lordís prayerÖWe are given 7 scriptures for the week. We may repeat or stay with one passage if we are moved to do so. We are encouraged to read with our heart not with our head and to look for what God is speaking to us. We write our feeling down in our journal. We come to the group prepared to share but it is not a requirement."

"All I can tell you so far is the first week was mind blowing for my husband and I. Who knew Jesus was such a good therapist. The things that God has so graciously revealed to me this week has saved me thousands of dollars, not to mention how much better Iím sleeping. This weekís courtship has really got my attention. Iíll keep you posted on the day-to-day dating."

Samantha sees her time in quiet and scripture as dating. She appears to be looking for a special message from Christ as she compares her revelations with the other Protestants, the Catholics, and of course, the Hindu. I wonder what sort of Christ this Hindu person connects with? Would any real believer ever want to connect their own spirit with such spirits?

And Samantha sees this time as therapy Ė something to make her feel better. It is a very selfish exercise Ė seeking after an experience and some good feelings.

Samanthaís shared her progress in her next blog entry. She gives the scripture she meditated upon and the private message she received from whatever spirits she was trafficking with:

"This was my morning meditation."

"I have to say for years I have been enjoying the benefit of a morning shower. A daily ritual of removing yesterdays dirt. Adding a 5 minute showering of the Holy Spirit to my morning removes yesterdays stress and changes my thought forms for the rest of that day."

Isaiah 54:4-10 --  Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed

"Your finite body changes with time and as the years roll by your flesh deflates and diminishes."

-yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.

"The spiritual content I have placed in you is unchanging, eternal light, unrestricted, weightless."

-nor my covenant of peace be removed,

"My still small voice calls to you now, longs for you to rest your bones in stillness."

-says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

"As you my love relax into the gentleness of the universe I have given you my gift of grace sets all fears aflame."

Well, I sure canít shout "Amen" after that! Her next blog entry continues with her new revelation knowledge:

"Warm yourself with this newfound energy and dare to dream. The universe is limitlessly creative and wants to provide for your happiness. Opening up to the possible is never disappointing."

"I hold all past experiences of joy that you were unready to receive in trust for you. When you are ready to take hold of them for yourself they will multiply before your very eyes and the accrued interest will bring you wealth beyond anything you have ever wished for."

"Your grief has served its purpose. Let it go! The past can only touch you if you allow it to catch up. You are meant to shine."

"I am your partner in life discussing all things with you and together we go where we need to go, we see whom we need to see and we speak the words that must be spoken."

What a selfish, self-centered new agy transmission that was! And also so carnal, sensual, and fleshly Ė nothing about Godís greatness, just Samanthaís.

Her last entry again brings spirituality into carnality. This pitiful girl never truly connects with the God of the Bible, but uses verses in isolation from the context as a jumping off point for sensual impulses.  Samantha was not seeking to find out what the Lord meant by those Scripture passages, but was using them as a point of contact with deceitful and lying spirits that would tell her things she wanted to hear.  And she just might have made a connection.  Remember, even the devil quoted Scripture.  She continued:

"When looking deeply for my Lord I never know what He will come up with next, but when He does show up, and He does show up, he is always creative with his prize and that fascinates me. Consistently he points me away from what I consider to be normal, usual and routine and invites me to explore the exotic."

Then she puts in her own love song to this cosmic force:

"He is a foreigner to me-
tall, dark and handsome it's true-
my mystery date-
my bachelor number one-
my Willy Wonka-
Mr. Zip-id-ee-do-da-

Erroneously he appears not all could be-
fingers crooked-
they cradle-
clutched cane tips a limp.
Center stage master scribbles out pregnant pause-
then dives in.
Headfirst he hits, bend, roll, twist, double turn-
face to face-
eye to eye-
smiling lips squirms.

Magic red carpet-
two feet planted he stands-
with a blink-
no a wink-
he turns up the palm of his hand.
Strange and unusual-
dressed up to the nines-
with a tip of his hat-
he offers me a ride."

"When daring to indulge in his extraordinary tastes Iím left breathless, consumed in satisfying silence. Rhythmically enfolded into swelling stream of dark-chocolate, I trust Him, and only Him to usher me from beginning to end for he has the advantage of knowing his way around thick creamy goodness. I seek to hide myself in the shadow of his love because in the secret place, this sacred space I am a newborn, and my eyes have not yet adjusted to the darkness of sticky-gooey-delight. Internally tickled by unseen fingers there, I often wonder, what is going on here? And I realize, hmm, some things are meant to savor."

This gives some insight into how new age emergents will use Christian terms and concepts such as the new birth and meditating on the Word and twist those things into sensual, psychedelic pleasures. The stars Samantha is chasing are shooting stars that are oh so temporary.

The Christian pastor whose blog this is found on did not respond to Samanthaís revelries. Thatís too bad. This girl needs pastoral guidance to bring her off of the road to destruction that she is heading down. But she just might attend his church and might have been sent down this bad path by the many guest teachers who have planted seeds of heresy over the last couple of years.


Something to Meditate Upon:

Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,  "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?  Therefore speak to them, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols,  that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols." '  "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.  For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself.  I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 14:1-8

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