04 August 2009

Review of the Concerned Nazarenes DVD (Part 2)

This is the second post in a five part series. This post is a continuation of the review of the Concerned Nazarene's DVD. The first post can be found here.
by Ryan Scott
Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is an interview with Ray Yungen (books by this author on Amazon.com)who is an author skeptical of contemplative prayer and meditation, specifically the movement birthed by Thomas Merton and the writings of Richard Foster. There was extensive discussion of mantras, chanting, and the influence of eastern mystical religions upon Christian meditation and contemplative prayer.

Yungen, like Gilley, presents a relatively professional and kind demeanor in his presentation. He points out many of the extreme positions and conclusions one can legitimately reach from unabashed adherence to some of these practices. I’ve never been a big fan of such emotionally driven contemplative prayer, especially in the extreme form characterized here, so I resonated quite thoroughly with the cautions provided. There are dangers in taking any practice to an extreme conclusion.

Also like Gilley, very little attention was paid to moderate positions or the very real influence of our Christian past on current contemplative practices. Here he seemed to be throwing out tradition as a source of interpretation and understanding. I think he rightly points out that one can lose a spiritual center when experience and emotion play too large a role in one’s life, yet at the same time, comparing the rosary to Hindu chanting seems a step too far.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is an interview with Johanna Michaelsen (Books by this author on Amazon.com), who was formerly involved in New Age practices and was converted to Christianity from that lifestyle. She’s written extensively on the dangers of New Age teaching. This interview dealt specifically with the occult and how spiritual warfare is engaged through these practices. I am not all that big on demons and such, even as I recognize the reality and depth of other people’s experiences on the matter. I am not in a position to comment on this section either way.

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