Many Christians discovering meditation

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Nov 25, 2008.

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  1. Revmitchell

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    Like many churchgoers in the Bible Belt, Kristy Robinson teaches Sunday school with her husband and helps prepare communion at their Episcopal church in Franklin, Tenn.
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    She rounds out her church- and prayer-filled life with another spiritual practice that's not quite as familiar: meditation.

    "I'll see a difference in my day if I don't," says Robinson, who opens each day with 20 minutes of absolute silence.

    All the chanting and incense and — yikes — even meditation altars may seem too New Age and mystical for some, but meditation has gone mainstream and been embraced by suburban moms and busy people.

    Younger generations get an introduction in yoga classes, careerists escape on meditation retreats and boomers seek tranquility in meditation gardens. Meditation, it seems, is no longer associated as a counterculture activity made hip by The Beatles and favored by flower children.


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  2. Crabtownboy

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    Our small Baptist church encourages meditation. Every Thursday evening we have a gathered hour of meditation. Sometimes it is at chuch, and sometimes in a members home. It is a time to listen quietly, to listen for that "still, small voice." Meditation has become a meaningful part of our lives.
     
  3. annsni

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  4. Mexdeaf

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    I hope Marcia weighs in on this...
     
  5. donnA

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    Why are churches supporting, encouraging and participating in eastern religions? Why are they mistakenly trying to mix Christ with false religions?
     
  6. mcdirector

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    wow . . . when did we leap from meditating on the Scripture to just meditating?
     
  7. Marcia

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    The crucial issue here is that biblical meditation is not the meditation that is getting popular in churches. I have been following this trend for the past 12 years in the church. I have studied it, read books by its proponents, written on it, and spoken on it. This is from my article on Contemplative Prayer:
    The meditation that is getting popular is listening for God "within" which is not Biblical. We are to meditate on God's word, and use our minds in doing so.

    This mysticism undermines God's word and is very subjective and inner directed. Some are even teaching that one should repeat a word or phrase over and over. This is due to the Eastern influence on the Catholic monks who started this (inspired partly by Thomas Merton). They had Buddhist monks and a TM (Transcendental Meditation) teacher come teach the monks where all this got started.

    I have a few articles addressing this:
    Contemplating Contemplative Prayer: Is It really Prayer?
    http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_ContemplativePrayer1.html

    Meditation and Ps 46.10 (Misuse of Ps 46.10 to support eastern styles of meditation)
    http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_MeditationPsalm.html

    The "Be Still" DVD (promoting this kind of meditation for evangelicals - it originally was started in the Catholic Church by monks Keating, Pennington, and Menninger. Richard Foster imported it to evangelicals)
    http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_BeStillDVD.html
     
    #7 Marcia, Nov 25, 2008
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  8. Marcia

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    Crabtownboy, have you examined the passage that has this phrase, "the still, small voice?" It is not a support for this kind of meditation. For one thing, we are nowhere told to meditate like this, only to meditate on God's word.

    Btw, God did not speak in a "still, small voice." This is the translation in the RSV but other versions and the word itself means more of a sound of "sheer silence," or a "gentle blowing," and it was after this sound that God spoke to Elijah in a regular way. Elijah heard what God had to say in the normal way God spoke to Elijah. We are nowhere told to listen for some kind of "still, small voice" within us.

    This is from my article on the New Age book Eat Pray Love, because the author promotes this type of meditation and tries to use the Bible to support her view.

    Source
    http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_EatPrayLove.html
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    Thanks, Marcia. I have learned to value your opinion on these type of things as our resident "New Age expert".
     
  10. Crabtownboy

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    #10 Crabtownboy, Nov 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2008
  11. Matt Black

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    Marcia, I assume that you don't have any problems with meditative techniques on Scripture such as lectio divina or Ignatian meditation, which help make Scripture 'come alive' to the reader/hearer of the Word?

    [ETA - for the record, I too have problems about any attempt to integrate Hindu or Buddhist meditation into mainstream Christianity. I also have reservations about the likes of Thomas Merton.]
     
  12. Crabtownboy

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    Marcia, in my OP I said:

    If you read my quote carefully I did not say the "still small voice" inside ourselves, but the "still small voice" of God ... guess I was not clear. But as you said, "utter silence."
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    Double posting
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    Whats up with the Latin? I think everytime someone uses Latin it sounds more mysterious than it is. I'm teaching my kids Latin to help them understand english word better and one of them wants to be a doctor so I thought here's a good head start. However, Lectio Divina just means Divine Reading or reading the scriptures. However, is it reading the scriptures? Or is it many hours of mindless repeatition of scriptures until enlightenment comes? It it is the Later how is it any different then the Budhist repeating their verses or saying Um over and over. I don't think God wants us to engage mindlessly. David Says he Meditates on Gods word (because it fills him with hope and shows the character of God.) not some esoteric enlightened state. Just some thoughts.
     
  15. annsni

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    Crabtownboy - Just to be sure we're speaking of the same thing using the terminology, can you explain what you mean by "meditation"? Can you describe what your church has taught on how to do it? What exactly do you do when you meditate each week? I think that will be very helpful to this conversation. We've seen from Marcia that the term "meditate" can have multiple meanings so I want to be sure we're using the same meaning.
     
  16. Matt Black

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    Lectio divina means that you read a passage of Scripture slowly twice, and then think or speak out one or two words or phrases which leap out at you. You then read it a third time, asking yourself the question, "What is God saying to me in this passage?" You read it a final time, asking yourself the question, "What should my response to God from this passage be?" So, no, not mindless repetition. (Even if it was, it's Scripture, not some Vedic mantra, so what's wrong with that? If nothing else, it's a good way of memorising chunks of the Bible.)

    [reply to Thinkingstuff]
     
  17. Crabtownboy

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    Yes ... it varies a bit from week to week depending on who is leading the meditation.

    We gather together and ask for prayer requests or celebrations.

    Then we usually read a short scripture and almost always listen to a piece of music. Often, but not always, it is a hymn from the Northumbria Community. We so not sing along. The music chosen is always a quiet piece of Christian music that helps us quiet the voices in our heads.

    Then we sit quietly for 30 to 40 minutes listening and/or praying ... actially I consider listening also a form of prayer. I am sure different folk approach it differently from week to week depending on what is going on in their lives.

    We then finish with spoken prayer. Anyone can pray who feels led to pray.

    Then we quietly leave.
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    Sounds like biblical teretts syndrom. Just kidding. Why speak something that jumps out at you? And those questions go with all quiet time devotions reading of the scripture as well I don't see the difference so why put a latin term to it. Quiet time or devotions seem sufficient. I don't think God wants us just to repeat scripture unless it is to remember it. I'm thinking specifically of the mystical Jews Cabalist. They seem to have issues.
     
  19. Matt Black

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    You don't have to speak it out loud necessarily, just note what happens to stand out for you on the first two readings. Lectio is a bit different from what I understand most evangelicals mean by the term 'quiet time', in that it is a specific discipline or method of reading Scripture, usually based on the Church's lectionary. It's neither just opening the Bible at random and reading it in the hope that the Holy Spirit will speak to us*, nor is it a 'Bible study' involving Bible-reading notes, both of which in my experience tend to be meant when evangelicals use the phrase 'quiet time'.

    *Not that I'm saying or implying that the Holy Spirit doesn't speak to us by this method - He does - just that that isn't lectio.

    [ETA - BTW, it's Tourette's syndrome!]
     
    #19 Matt Black, Nov 26, 2008
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  20. Thinkingstuff

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    I was considering the questions that you state you're asking yourself which I do every quiet time. I don't read the bible randomly but purposefully depending on what area's of my life are currently affected so I guess thats different than the Lectio (based off the liturgical year selected readings). However, the questions are the same. And protestants have the ability to step outside the liturgical year readings which is nice.
     
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