Sunday, January 10, 2010

Revival of the Labrynth

In the wake of the current Biblical drought facing American churches, we have news of the revival of an ancient practice: walking the labrynth.

The has the article here, and here are a few quotes:

Advocates say walking a labyrinth will quiet the mind, feed spiritual hunger, heal suffering, release the ego, bring order to chaos, amuse, amaze, transform the psyche and give firsthand experience of the divine.

More labyrinths have been built in recent years than at any other time in their known 4,000-year history, labyrinth historian Jeffrey Saward said.

The labyrinth was fashionable again in the 19th century, Saward said, and its use has exploded in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The labyrinth had re-emerged in the early 1980s, here and there, in relatively small circles of geomancers, dowsers and New Age adherents . . .

[Psychotherapist and Episcopal priest Lauren] Artress is largely credited with reviving the ancient spiritual discipline in contemporary Christian experience after it had largely slipped from awareness for some 350 years.

I've been reading about this practice for quite a while now, and it does concern me. This is all part of the growing Emergent Church movement, which is a lot of New Age theology dressed up in Evangelical Christian clothing. Whenever God's people begin seeking "new" ways to experience Him outside of the Scriptures, serious error is not far behind.

It must be understood that we are not priviledged to seek or experience God any way we want. We are invited to come to Him freely, but on His terms alone.

How can we be so blind as to accept these practices that find equal acceptance in New Age thought, neo-paganism, and the church?

Once again, I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of today's pastors. Solid biblical instruction has been replaced by man-centered psychology, leaving the congregation bereft of discernment. Vapid preaching leads to an emptiness of the soul, and the people will seek out other means to find spiritual fulfillment.


Watcher said...

Kip, the labrynth is, I agree, just another sign of church-craziness. I've seen it used by regular evangelical Christians as the latest 'new' thing to aid spirituality, but this is spirituality by an Eastern or New Age definition, not that of the Bible. I think of Schaeffer's book 'True Spirituality' in this context, and agree that better 'teaching' is required, but I would say, not from the pulpit, but in a broad discipling path. So often we 'throw' new Christians into the life of faith and anticipate that a diet of sermons and home prayer groups will suffice, with Bible school only for people seeking to be paid-to-be-Christians. Rather we were all encouraged to seriously undertake study of our faith.

Pastor Kip said...

Watcher, I agree we need more focus on discipleship in these areas. I still think that it all begins in the pulpit, though.

The pastors have to begin identifying these things and exposing their deleterious effect on the congregation.