WARNING! Rant alert!
Why do we Christians keep doing this to one another? I just learned of a "ministry" that is entirely devoted to exposing the "dangers" of Christian contemplative spirituality and spiritual formation. I was blown away, because according to their own stated purpose, these old, stable, time-proven methods of growing in Christ are falsely believed to espouse "all paths lead to God." These misguided souls have laid a totally false foundation, and thus are "exposing" something that's not even there!
This is not to say that there are non-Christian contemplative traditions even older than Christianity itself. I'm not talking about those, and supposedly neither are they (the Dombrowskis). Yet what they describe as pertaining to specific Christian movements are not even recognizable, I suspect because they keep reading into them what they mistakenly believe must be there because that's what "contemplative" and "spiritual formation" MUST be about.
Sorry, but casting aspersions on practices such as contemplative prayer and spiritual formation simply because one couple's own spin on Scripture doesn't leave room for them, is highly damaging to the body of Christ. They're throwing the baby out with the bathwater! That's what reactionaries have always done. Take something you personally disagree with, find a little support for your POV, and declare war. Never mind that some of the most beautiful and profound writings of Christians across the centuries came about as fruit from contemplative prayer. Never mind that ANY Christian who is discipled by a more mature brother or sister, is engaged in spiritual formation. Never mind that the church has been enriched for nearly two thousand years by those who undertake such spiritual disciplines. We're to oppose everything to do with the Alpha Course, Rick Warren and the "Purpose Driven" principles, the Emerging Church movement, respected Christian authors such as Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton, most Christian publishers, many Christian seminaries, and practices such as lectio divina and breath prayer, all because these people insist that these avenues lead inevitably to "far eastern spirituality." Oh, and while we're at it, let's stand against the "Global Peace Plan." (What, and pray for global war instead?)
This rubbish about fearing anything remotely resembling prayer and meditation techniques that some non-Christian traditions may also employ, is a huge stumbling block to people and is totally unnecessary. If you need to hedge your own faith because you fear it, go for it! But don't build a ministry designed to spread your fear to as many as you can get to swallow it. We're not supposed to have a spirit of fear. And techniques that slow down our world-frantic lives so that we can listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit teaching us, are nothing to fear. If you're praying to the true and living God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF, ANYWAY?
Granted, not all types of prayer are helpful for everyone. Some people have to keep it entirely cerebral, while that style is intimidating for others who are "wired" by God to pray more intuitively or emotionally. And I, too, believe that Christians need to be clear that our focus is always to be Jesus Christ, our Way to God. But I'm not about to be taken in by charlatans who monger fear of what they neither practice nor understand. I can't take seriously anyone who claims that deliberate, systematic reading of Christian texts (aka "lectio divina") is a path to Buddha. Hello?! Read Christian books to follow Buddha?? I don't think so!
I find it telling that on their Master List (books and authors they warn you about), they categorize Hildegard of Bingen as "new age," Henri Nouwen as a homosexual writer, and yet apparently don't find any problem with the false teachings of the manhood/womanhood movement and its Grudem/Piper/Mouser proponents or the blatantly it's-all-about-sexuality T. D. Jakes of "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" infame. Just be sure to never read anything by Teresa of Avila, Brother Lawrence, Scott Peck (yeah, it occurs to me they might not want anyone to read "People of the Lie," especially), Jack Canfield (yeah, too much "Chicken Soup" could be bad for you), or Mike Yacconelli (of Youth Specialties), plus a score of others whose books' worst crime is that the Dombrowskis are afraid of something in them or something they think might be true about the authors themselves.
And for the Dombrowskis' information, Merton remained a faithful Christian, for all the time he spent actually getting to know and understand Buddhists. Funny how respecting other people and their faith traditions actually works at getting them to know and understand and respect Christians in return.
We Christians ought to spend more time and energy promoting what we stand FOR, rather than discrediting perfectly legitimate Christian practices in order to invent something to rail AGAINST. Trust the Holy Spirit to use even practices you yourself don't understand or appreciate, to grow the faith of your brothers and sisters. God knows better than you or I do!
And no, I'm not posting a link. I don't want anyone thinking I support them in any way. You can find the poisonous "Lighthouse Trails 'Research' Project" pages on your own, if you really want to wade through all their false witness. Ugh! I feel dirty just from reading this trash!