On page 34 of the December 2010 MB Herald is an ad for a book by Arthur Boers called Day by Day These Things We Pray – Uncovering Ancient Rhythms of Prayer (Herald Press 2010). This book is a revision and expansion of an earlier book by Boers called The Rhythm of God’s Grace: Uncovering Morning and Evening Hours of Prayer.
Arthur Paul Boers (D.Min., Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of pastoral theology at Tyndale Seminary (Toronto). He is an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church USA and a Benedictine oblate at St. Gregory’s Abbey (Three Rivers, Michigan). [Oblates affiliate themselves with a monastery and vow to live according to monastic priorities].
In this book he writes about the monastic prayer disciplines (fixed hours of prayer, the daily office, etc.) which he first learned of while in university when he found a book in a discard bin by Jesuit priest and activist Daniel Berrigan that made him realize he had much to learn from other traditions.
On the back of Day by Day These Things We Pray is an endorsement by Eugene Peterson, author of the Message, who says “This could well be the most important teaching on prayer you will ever get.” (Peterson has also written the foreword in another book book by Boers, page 9.)
Can we conclude that by his endorsements, the author of the popular paraphrase The Message (which was written by a man, not the Holy Spirit) believes there is nothing wrong with a Mennonite converting to the contemplative spirituality of the Desert Fathers and St. Benedict? Peterson himself is a promoter of contemplative/mystical spirituality as we can see in the evidence of his own writings and endorsements of other contemplative authors so this is no surprise. But why is the MB Herald advertising a book by a Mennonite oblate who practices the Benedictine rules of prayer?
Boers is also an editor of Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book, which is also promoted in the MB Herald on page 34 beside Day by Day These Things We Pray.
Note: While one of the main missions of the MB Herald is to “teach and equip for ministry by reflecting MB theology, values and heritage and by sharing the good news,” they have included a disclaimer in fine print that says “Advertising and inserts should not be considered to carry editorial endorsement.” As this magazine is distributed to the Mennonite flock, the sheep will just have to be discerning enough to know what is spiritually safe and and unsafe. Reader beware.