Dateline: Berkeley, California
An analysis by Jackie Alnor
Dateline: Berkeley, California: a hotbed for new ideas reminiscent of the Mars Hill that confronted the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts. On a recent visit to Telegraph Avenue, I could sense the spiritual darkness enveloping the place. Many of the characters that roam that street are literally bound in chains of sin. Madness is rampant – you can see it in their eyes – aging hippies with long thinning gray hair and deep lines in their faces that seem to immortalize hard lives of drug addiction and perversions.
We watched from our car window at raggedy street musicians playing their instruments and welcoming coins tossed into their guitar cases. Other beggars on the corners, including a man with no legs, were panhandling money from passers by. A witch walked past wearing a designer pointed black hat – all she was missing was a broom. One man held a sign that read, "Why Lie? I Want Beer," and a lady dropped spare change into his bucket.
As we were stopped at a red light, we noticed one bum (sorry, that’s not politically correct – I meant to say, one economically challenged person), asleep on the sidewalk, propped up against a building. Next to him was his beggar’s hat with money he had collected inside it. From the safety of our Dodge Caravan my husband and our three teenagers and I watched in disgust as another scraggly fellow crouched down sneaking toward him and then in one quick move snatched his hat and took off running. The sleeping victim didn’t move a muscle. It’s a real bum-eat-bum world on Telegraph Avenue.
There was one lone voice crying out in that wilderness – a long-haired bearded man stood preaching on a make-shift pulpit on the corner with a big sign that read: "Love God; Hate Sin." As people walked past he handed out Bible tracts and reasoned with those who would stop to listen. I could almost see an encampment of angels surrounding him with their swords drawn.
We were in town that day looking for a section of U. C. Berkeley known as "Holy Hill," overlooking the campus. Nine theological seminaries form a coalition called the Graduate Theological Union where they share a common library and promote a similar agenda of ecumenism under the banner of tolerance for all ideologies.
The biggest of the Protestant seminaries is Pacific School of Religion that boasts in their literature to be "a multidenominational Christian seminary. . . preparing bold leaders for historic and energizing faith communities since 1866." The "progressive Christianity" their literature describes is one that accepts all religions, despises any religious certainties, promotes meditation and mysticism and disparages "the dominant Christian force in this country." Their dean calls their people "this-worldly Christians " who "conceive of God in different ways."
Their neighbor on the Hill is the Jesuit School of Theology. They use all the same buzz words as their Protestant ally. This Catholic seminary is also part of what they all refer to as the "Emerging Church." This new church has no divisions – Catholics and Protestants join together with any and all spiritual traditions. The Jesuit seminary’s brochure plays up their association with the rest of Holy Hill. It reads: "Our students can study with people of other denominations through the nine schools of the Graduate Theological Union, where they can take classes with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and mainstream Protestants."
Another Catholic school in the Union is the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, founded in 1932. Students can sign up for courses in Icons; Religious Symbolism, Chant, and Catholic Theology of Thomas Aquinas. One mini course called "Icon: Sacred Image" "examines the history, theology, spirituality and tradition of icons as sacred Eastern Christian images, established on the doctrine of the Incarnation. It will demonstrate that iconography is a sacred craft and prayer form."
What the Incarnation of God in human flesh has to do with man making graven images to aid him in prayer is a mystery to me. And a one-week course at the cost of $290.00 is out of my budget, so I guess I’ll never know. Unfortunately, there is a revival of "icon prayer" being introduced into Evangelicalism by Emerging Church interlopers (see my report of Calvary Chapel Capo Beach link).
FROM SEMINARY TO SOCIETY
The Protestant seminary gives their students the opportunity to serve in various churches surrounding U. C. Berkeley. Students can earn credits interning at one of those who have a stake in the Union. The list of "churches" participating in the final indoctrination of these young people is a who’s who of left-wing liberal apostates. (For the entire list see: http://www.psr.edu/page.cfm?l=206 ) They include a Metropolitan Community Church (gay church), a Swedenborgian Church (a non-Christian cult), Roman Catholic, along with various renegade denominations such as United Methodist, United Church of Christ (UCC), American Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
I noticed that most of the churches listed had female pastors and when checking the links found pictures of many of these women and could not find a single one that had predominant feminine features in their faces. (In a future article, I’ll document the new matriarchy elements of the Emerging Church.) In every link I followed the "churches" offered weddings and commitment services to accommodate the gay population of the Bay Area.
One link was to Lake Merritt United Methodist Church in nearby Oakland and featured sermons given by its pastor Rev. Mary Elyn Bahlert. The sermon was entitled: "A Psalm to Shaddai" taken "from ‘Woman Wisdom: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter,’ written by Miriam Therese Winter, a Medical Missionary Sister who writes and teaches liturgy."
Her sermon concluded with a call back to Mary as a Goddess worship. She said in part, "Mary in the Catholic tradition is the feminine aspect of God. . . She is the nurturing side of us all, the one who loves with her whole being. She is the one who listens, who cares, who sings to us. She is powerful and wonderful, waiting to be acknowledged. . . .Can you see her? Can you speak to her? What is she saying to you now, at this point in your life? What is she singing to you? What is her song? An image from an African spiritual, ‘Wasn't That a Wonder,’ describes her as ‘the woman clothed with the sun, moon under her feet.’ We need her, this Mary, this Mother, this Holy One, this Goddess, this Singer, this Lover. The world needs her, now more then ever." (See entire sermon at: http://www.lakemerrittumc.org/sermon3.htm )
It is very evident that the evil spirits haunting Telegraph Avenue are one and the same that are using a different approach on Holy Hill. And Holy Hill exports these doctrines of demons around the globe in an effort to use the Emerging Church to submerge the truth of Scripture. These are certainly perilous times we live in.