Beware of ‘Lection Divina’ at ‘Summer Madness’

One of those who will be contributing to the upcoming Summer Madness event is Shane Tucker. This is how the reference to him on the ‘Seminars – sneak preview ‘07’ is worded –

Shane Tucker will be introducing us to an ancient form of meditation on the Bible with ‘Lectio Divina’

Just this evening I received this urgent email from Lighthouse Trails Publishing in America –

If you have a child in either a public or private school, please contact the school immediately and find out if your child is being introduced to any type of meditation exercise (this includes lectio divina and breath prayers). Tell the school you do not want your child participating in any of these activities. This would include Rob Bell’s popular Nooma films and his book Velvet Elvis, which are both being used in Christian junior high and high schools.

The following June 16th news story from The New York Times illustrates how serious this matter is. The New Age is overtaking our society. Children are the newest target! This is not only affecting children in public schools. Through the contemplative prayer movement (i.e., spiritual formation) and the emerging church, children and teens in Christian schools are also being introduced to meditation. A whole generation is being taught how to enter dangerous demonic realms through practicing mantra meditation

See our links below for more information on children and meditation.

The New York Times

“Focus on Quieting the Mind”
by Patricia Leigh Brown

OAKLAND, California, June 12 –  

The lesson began with the striking of a Tibetan singing bowl to induce mindful awareness.  With the sound of their new school bell, the fifth graders at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School here closed their eyes and focused on their breathing, as they tried to imagine “loving kindness” on the playground. 

“I was losing at baseball and I was about to throw a bat,” Alex Menton, 11, reported to his classmates the next day. “The mindfulness really helped.”

As summer looms, students at dozens of schools across the country are trying hard to be in the present moment. This is what is known as mindfulness training, in which stress-reducing techniques drawn from Buddhist meditation are wedged between reading and spelling tests. Click here to read the rest of this news article.

Related Research:

Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey – Promoting Contemplative?

Yoga for children (in public school, that is)

Christianity Today: Contemplative for Children

Jesus Camp, Film Reveals the Mystical and the Militant, Not Biblical Christianity

NOTICE TO PARENTS: Christian Schools Introducing Teens to Mysticism Proponent

Ancient Wisdom for Babies

For more information on how the New Age is coming into schools, read For Many Shall Come in My Name. If you know a school administrator or teacher that would be willing to read this book, contact us, and we will send him or her a free copy.

From the Editors at Lighthouse Trails Research Project

This link will take you to an article by former New Age/Occultic practitioner, but now Christian, Brian Flynn and this is what he wrote about Lectio Divina in his book  ‘Running Against The Wind’

‘The modern day contemplative prayer movement stems from the monastic period of Christianity (early middle ages), which was a time of experimentation and mystical practices. One of the practices, lectio divina, meaning sacred reading, involved taking a page of Scripture and reading it over and over again.

However, Friar Luke Dysinger, a present-day monk at Saint Andrews Abbey, describes lectio divina in a different way:

“Choose a text of the Scriptures … Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a beloved ‘prayer word’ or ‘prayer phrase’ they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as ‘centering prayer’ makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina….

Then turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savour each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the ‘still, small voice’ of a word or phrase that somehow says, ‘I am for you today …’

Next take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas.

Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.” 1

This practice has become extremely popular in today’s Christian youth organizations and programs. Youth Specialties, a world renowned Christian organization, instructs young people and youth workers to incorporate lectio divina into their prayer lives. In their magazine, Youth Worker Journal, they describe lectio divina this way:

“This is a fancy Latin term for ‘sacred reading’ and has also been called ‘meditation on the Word.’ Sacred reading is the practice of reading scripture slowly in a spirit of contemplation. The goal isn’t exegesis or analysis, but allowing God to speak to us through the word. Christians often refer to the Bible as God’s love letter to mankind, and when we take the time to read it as such, we are practicing sacred reading.” 2

The article then exhorts readers to:

“Take a short passage and repeat it over and over again aloud. With each repetition, remove extraneous words until you’ve broken the passage down to one thought. An obvious example is John 14:27, which could easily be broken down to the word ‘peace.'” 3

The concept of allowing God to speak through His Word is perfectly legitimate. I experience that when I read or meditate on the Bible. However, in the context of this article the purpose is not to contemplate the meaning of a Bible verse by thinking about it but is rather meant to gain an experience from it.

There is a difference between reading the Word and understanding its meaning versus a method of focusing on a single word to gain a mystical experience. Through Youth Specialties and many other youth-oriented organizations, our youth are being taught to treat the Bible as a meditative vehicle rather than a source of knowledge to further our understanding of God.

Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project (created by San Francisco Theological Seminary, in partnership with Youth Specialties and Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church) embraces the contemplative life and teaches children and teens the basics of lectio divina. Please note that the steps below, while giving no direct instruction to repeat a mantra in order to enter the silence, closely parallel those of contemplative meditators. Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project presents a softened and subtle description, which will make the unfamiliar reader unaware of what is really being introduced. In short, the young participant is being groomed so as to make future instruction on mystical meditation more palatable. Read these steps and see how frightfully clever they really are:

“Reading (lectio) – Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savours each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.

“Reflecting (meditatio) – Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.

“Expressing (oratio) – When you feel ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise.

“Resting (contemplatio) – Allow yourself to simply rest silently with God for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words.” 4

Why is it necessary to do this at all? For two thousand years, since Christ’s ascension, His followers have been able to gain assurance of God’s presence in their lives through the knowledge that He has risen and now dwells in their hearts. For the early church, there was no written word in wide circulation to “resonate,” “attract”‘ or “disturb” them. Throughout the centuries, faithful believers focused on the Word [who] became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) rather than trying to find assurance through a single written word circulating through their minds.

By taking passages of Scripture, which have an intended meaning, and breaking them down into smaller, separate segments, often for the purpose of chanting over and over, the true meaning of the passages are lost. Rather a form of occult mysticism is practiced—with the hope and intention of gaining a mystical experience that God never intended when He gave the inspired words to His servants’.

(From Running Against the Wind by Brian Flynn, pp. 133-137.)

1. Saint Andrews Abbey
2. Mike Perschon, “Contemplative Prayer Practices” (Youth Worker Magazine)
3. Ibid.
4. Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project

Summer Madness has prepared a smorgasbord of events introducing young people to many scripture-denying and scripture-twisting speakers and to unscriptural and positively dangerous occultic meditation ‘vehicles’ such as Lectio Divina’.  Truly we are living in days of “seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” [1st Timothy 4:1]

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 19 June 2007