Menno Simons Centre, Inter-Mennonites, and Buddhism

The Menno Simons Centre (“the Centre”), is a student residence located near the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Regent College in Vancouver, B.C.. The facility, which opened in 1986, was purchased from a Catholic convent and is owned and operated by a non-profit Inter-Mennonite society (Pacific Centre for Discipleship Association). The purposes of the Centre, besides providing a Christian support community for university and college students, are as follows.

• To promote Christian faith and discipleship:
• To foster Christian community and fellowship:
• To support Christian scholarship:
• To facilitate the study of the Anabaptist Mennonite Heritage:
• To assist in the integration of faith and contemporary life style;

http://www.mennosimonscentre.com/about.htm

The Centre’s chapel is regularly used by the Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship (“PGIMF” also known as “the Fellowship”) on Sunday mornings and other special events which “the Centre’s” residents are encouraged to participate in. Point Grey’s conference affiliations include the BC Conference of MB Churches, The Canadian Conference of MB Churches (and the MB Forum), Mennonite Church Canada, the Mennonite Church of British Columbia, MB Mission (formerly Mennonite Brethren Missions & Services).

This past weekend, the Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship had a retreat:

May 27 – 29 – Church retreat at Camp Luther (Hatzic Lake, no service in the MSC chapel), on the theme of telling our stories. Download the retreat information package (2-page PDF) and send in your registration form (right-click to save the 1-page fillable PDF).
http://www.pgimf.org/

Here was the theme for this retreat:

Theme
Our theme for this year is “Telling our Stories”. We are a historic people, yet often our stories today do not adequately reflect our history. We will explore barriers in communication between generations, review stories old and new, engage in the practice of being mindful or ‘stilling’ our noisy minds so we can let the words that need to be said come out.

-page 1, PGIMF Annual Retreat 2011 Information
http://www.pgimf.org/archive/2011 PGIMF Annual Retreat Information.pdf

The ‘mindfulness’ part of the Program was on the schedule for Saturday:

…10:00-10:50 Session 1 – The Practice of Mindfulness

-page 2, PGIMF Annual Retreat 2011 Information

What exactly is ‘Mindfulness’, or ‘stilling of the mind’?

“Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept and practice, the seventh step of the Eightfold Path. Mindfulness is more than a meditative practice; it is an outlook on life and reality that ideally results from a type of meditation designed to cultivate detachment. Detachment in Buddhism is necessary, because Buddhism teaches that attachment to this world, to your thinking, to your identity as an individual self, and other attachments, such as desires, keep you in the cycle of rebirth.”

*Quote from Mindfulness: No-Mind Over Matter
By Marcia Montenegro
http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_Mindfulness.html

Who would have ever thought that the Mennonites would be practicing Buddhist mindfulness meditation?!

Further indication that the Menno Simons Centre and the Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship may have wandered away from biblical truth is Point Grey’s sermon blog, as seen by this recent entry:

Sun. May 8, 2011 (Karl Brown)
Last Sunday, Karl Brown asked us, “What if we’re all wrong?” Our lectionary readings for the day retold the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2), how we are therefore to live (1 Peter 1), and that if we do those things we will go to heaven (Luke 24). However, the Koran tells its readers to do certain righteous works and they too will go to heaven. But what if everybody is wrong?

http://blog.pgimf.org/

Also advertised in Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship’s May 22, 2011 bulletin (which can be viewed on their website) is: “Green Fair. Mother Earth News is sponsoring a “Green Fair” in Puyallup, Washington, on the weekend of June 4-5.” The link provided directs church goers to the Mother Earth News Fair (www.motherearthnews.com/fair/home.aspx) where they can learn about sustainability, self-suffiency and earth care.

Are any of these things in keeping with the Menno Simons Centre goals to promote Christian faith and discipleship, and facilitate the study of the Anabaptist Mennonite Heritage? Is the road traveled by these Inter-Mennonites interwoven with the inter-faith road? How many more examples are there going to be until Mennonites wake up and see the folly of their worldly and spiritual compromise?

Note: See Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship’s Easter and Rogation Sunday photos HERE. (‘Rogation’ originates from Robigalia, an ancient Roman religious festival of dog sacrifice to protect crops from disease.)

Related:

Agenda 21
The U.N. Plan for Your “Sustainable” Community

http://www.crossroad.to/text/articles/la21_198.html

Mindfulness: No-Mind Over Matter
By Marcia Montenegro
http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_Mindfulness.html

What is Buddhism and what do Buddhists believe?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Buddhism.html

What is Christian meditation?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-meditation.html

The Altered State of Silence – Promoted by Both New Agers and Christian Leaders
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/thesilence.htm

MB youth hear controversial Claiborne – UPDATED

All five U.S. MB conferences were represented at this year’s Mennonite Brethren youth convention in San Antonio, Texas, where dwindling attendance was blamed on the economy, concerns about Claiborne and declining denominational loyalty. The total number of attendees was 918, compared to 1,075 in 2007 and 1,406 in 2003. While participants were reminded through the weekend that they are part of a national Mennonite Brethren family with distinctive values, they were not informed that they were also witnessing the apostasy of the church as a whole as they were exposed to the social gospel and the new monasticism.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Shane Claiborne and Paula Simpson-Parry posed a dramatic yet effective contrast as keynote speakers at the U.S. Mennonite Brethren national youth convention…

When the much-anticipated, much-debated Claiborne took the stage, he challenged students to take their faith to new depths. Despite significant controversy before the event surrounding Claiborne’s selection as a speaker, he was well received.

Two groups took advantage of the convention organizers’ offer to provide a meeting place for youth who chose not to hear Claiborne.

Claiborne began his address April 18 with the story of his own faith journey.

“I’m still recovering from my conversion,” he said, adding that following Christ turned his life upside down.

Claiborne told stories of working with lepers in Calcutta, India, learning from a poor child what it means to share, throwing a “kingdom party” in Philadelphia and getting arrested for feeding the homeless.

Christians, he said, should be “holy troublemakers” who are not content with the world as it is but dare to imagine the world as it should be…..

More here:

MB youth hear controversial Claiborne
By Connie Faber and Myra Holmes Christian Leader
http://www.mennoweekly.org/2011/6/6/mb-youth-hear-controversial-claiborne/

RELATED:

Youth convention speaker raises eyebrows
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/youth-convention-speaker-raises-eyebrows/

Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne and Progressive Christianity
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/jim-wallis-shane-claiborne-and-progressive-christianity/

================================================================

UPDATES: ***NEW***

See new reports, reviews, details and commentaries on the controversial New Monastic Shane Claiborne at the MB youth convention here:

NATIONAL YOUTH
http://www.usmb.org/national-youth

Simpson-Parry And Claiborne Challenge, Inspire
http://www.usmb.org/simpson-parry-and-claiborne-challenge-inspire

The Claiborne Clamor
http://www.usmb.org/the-claiborne-clamor

Tuesday Morning Closing Session
http://www.usmb.org/monday-morning-closing-session

Day 3 Evening Session
Taking it deeper

http://www.usmb.org/day-3-evening-session

Contentious convention charges up youth
http://www.mbconf.ca/home/products_and_services/resources/publications/mb_herald/june_2011/pe/convention/

Mennonites and World Peace

This June, the Canadian School of Peacebuilding will be taking place at Canadian Mennonite University.

The goal?

“We want to create a space where people from different backgrounds and perspectives can connect in positive and respectful ways,” said Valerie Smith, co-director of CSOP.”

A microcosm of peace under one roof
Canadian School of Peacebuilding to be held at CMU in June

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/metro/A-microcosm-of-peace-under-one-roof–119718319.html

One of the trainers for this peace building summer school is Michelle LeBaron, a Professor of Law from the University of British Columbia. According to LeBaron’s bio, she is interested in the role dialogue plays in bridging worldviews, connecting multiple ways of knowing, and relating to spirituality and creativity. She has facilitated many dialogue projects and taught dialogic approaches around the world, and has authored several books, including Bridging Troubled Waters, Conflict Resolution from the Heart and Bridging Cultural Conflicts and Conflict Across Cultures: A Unique Approach for Bridging Differences.

Another trainer is Mark Burch, former lecturer at the University of Winnipeg, former director of their Campus Sustainability Office, and former Co-Director of the Simplicity Practice and Resource Centre (SPARC), which:

“catalyzes the transformation of individuals, communities, and Canadian society, through research, educational programs, and resources that promote the values and practices of voluntary simplicity and sustainable livelihood…

… We envision a world where equity and diversity are cherished, and where the interdependence of people, the Earth, and all living things is reflected in moral and responsible institutions.

We look forward to a world that encourages critical examination of society and dialogue about visions of the good life. We hope to fashion a peaceful, happy, and just way of life rooted in mindfulness and simple living.

We envision development that progressively increases quality of life and equitable distribution of benefits, while progressively reducing material consumption and environmental degradation.

We imagine this world as a home to persons who cultivate self-reliance and material sufficiency through the continuous evolution of a culture of simple and sustainable living.

Burch recently taught the following sustainability re-visioning workshop at St. Benedict’s Retreat and Conference Centre, where the MB Conference’s very own Rachel Twigg Boyce received her spiritual direction training (see here).

Re-Visioning: Evolving Toward Simplicity and Sustainability
Friday, December 3, 7:30pm to Sunday, December 5, 2010, 1:00 PM (No session Saturday evening).
> Our society faces major challenges in the years ahead. We sense that our way of life must change. Is there a positive way forward or will the way forward be more difficult for our children? How can we mobilize creativity-in-community to fashion lives of simplicity and sustainability for the future? How might we reach deep into the co-creative power we share with Spirit to serve live and love?

Facilitator: Mark Burch

St. Benedict’s Retreat and Conference Centre
225 Masters Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R4A 2A1
204-339-1705
stbenscentre@mts.net
http://www.stbens.ca

http://www.simplicitycentre.org/workshops/schedule/schedule.html

(Also promoted here: http://www.stbens.ca/programs/burch.htm)

Here are the guiding spiritual principles behind Burch’s organization:

Guiding Principles

Spirituality
Our visions of simple living and our mission to promote it are grounded in, and express, a variety of spiritual sensibilities. We prize a diversity of spiritual traditions, beliefs and practices, even as we take up a common work to promote simple, sustainable, and peaceable ways of living. Our practice of simplicity is the deliberate organization of our lives to manifest in the world what we understand to be highest and best in human experience.

http://www.simplicitycentre.org/principles/principles.html

It appears that the spiritual, environmental and sustainability goals of the Canadian School of Peacebuilding and their training methods do not seem to be in conflict with the millennium goals of the United Nations (see Two UN Summits – One Millennium Goal: Conforming Humanity to Socialist Solidarity). It’s unfortunate that the Mennonites at CMU may once again be allowing their foundation to be shaped by the world’s view, through the dialectic process, and not from the guiding principles of God’s Word.

[NOTE: the MB Herald regularly advertises and promotes CMU.]

Related:

Is the MB Conference Knowingly Condoning Ecumencial Inter-spiritual Practices?

https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/is-the-mb-conference-knowingly-condoning-ecumencial-inter-spiritual-practices/

WHY IS THE MB HERALD FEATURING “A RADICAL PRAYER GATHERING” LED BY RACHEL TWIGG-BOYCE?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/why-is-the-mb-herald-featuring-a-radical-prayer-gathering-led-by-rachel-twigg-boyce/

MB Herald Promotes Brian McLaren (at CMU)
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/mb-herald-promotes-brian-mclaren/

CMU Student found Refreshing Winds very cool
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/cmu-student-found-refreshing-winds-very-cool/

Two UN Summits – One Millennium Goal:
Conforming Humanity to Socialist Solidarity

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/TwoSummits.htm

Deceived by the Dialectic Process
http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/brainwashing/dialectic.htm

What is the Hegelian Dialectic?
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/dialectic.htm

The Dialectic & Praxis
DIAPRAX and the End of the Ages

http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/brainwashing/dialectic-gotcher.htm

Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan & the UN Millennium Goals
http://www.crossroad.to/charts/millennium-goals-peace.htm

Lucifer Emerging (Updated)

In light of the recent promotion of Brian McLaren in the MB Herald and his subsequent lecture series at Canadian Mennonite University, an interesting and important development regarding Brian McLaren and the extent of what is emerging from his end of the emergent swamp has come into view. Please see the sobering truth, here:

Connecting the “Dots” on Brian McLaren
http://moriel.org/MorielArchive/index.php/uncategorized/connecting-the-dots-on-brian-mclaren

We are certainly living in an age of lies.

Also see:

The Mennonites, Brian McLaren and the Neopagan Gospel Unite
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/the-mennonites-and-brian-mclaren-and-the-neopagan-gospel-unite/

Brian Mclaren and Fellow Visionaries
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/brian-mclaren-and-fellow-visionaries/

*NOTE: Here is an interesting lecture which the emerging swamp creature would not want Mennonites who were captivated by McLaren’s recent lecture series to read. It mentions not only McLaren but also his accomplice Ken Wilber (as well as other important information pertaining to the above “Connecting the Dots” documentation). Find it here:

Confronting Neopaganism in the Culture and the Church
http://s119074.gridserver.com/lectures/2011/04/12/confronting-neopaganism-in-the-culture-and-the-church/

It is time for all Christians who have fallen asleep, not just those who call themselves Mennonites, to WAKE UP!

UPDATE:

******NEW (July 2011):

Although some are surprised, this is no new surprise, but it’s good that others are finally understanding and warning about the extreme seriousness of what is actually behind Brian McLaren’s spirituality.

Surprise, Surprise…Brian Mclaren Aligns (openly) with New Age Leaders
http://www.ericbarger.com/mclaren.NA.htm

Brian McLaren Finally Comes Out of the Closet as a New Ager
http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2011/07/brian-mclaren-finally-comes-out-of.html

Mennonite Doctrine on everlasting Hell agrees with Rob Bell?

Is Mennonite doctrine on hell on the same page with Rob Bell? This is what the following article from mennoweekly.org appears to suggest. Is there really a general acceptance of the ‘Christian universalism’ theology in Rob Bell’s latest book, Love Wins, among the Mennonites?

“…On the topic of hell, Anabaptist writers have presented similar ideas recently. Last year, in Razing Hell: Rethink­ing Every­thing You’ve Been Taught About God’s Wrath and Judgment, Messiah College professor Sharon L. Baker claimed that traditional views of hell have damaged our understanding of a loving God.

In 2001, Randy Klassen, a pastor raised in the Mennonite Breth­ren church, wrote in What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell? that “consequences of rejecting God’s grace are fearful, but the picture of sinners being roasted over an open flame for all ages belongs in the caricature section of local tabloids, not the doctrinal statements of Christian churches.”

The writers of recent Mennonite doctrinal documents ap­pear to agree with that. Hell as never-ending torture is absent from Mennonite Church USA’s 1995 Confession of Faith, the Inter­national Com­munity of Mennonite Brethren’s 2004 confession, and Mennonite World Confer­ence’s 2006 Shared Convictions.

The MB confession says “those who have rejected Christ will face eternal condemnation,” and the MC USA confession says the unrighteous will face “hell and separation from God,” but neither describe fire and brimstone…”

An exploration of how love wins by Paul Schrag
page one:
http://www.mennoweekly.org/2011/5/2/exploration-how-love-wins/?page=1
page 2:
http://www.mennoweekly.org/2011/5/2/exploration-how-love-wins/?page=2

Related:

Rob Bell’s book reviewed in MB Herald

Also see:

UNBELIEVABLE: DEBATE BETWEEN ROB BELL AND ADRIAN WARNOCK:
Heaven, Hell and Rob Bell – a Face to Face Debate about Love Wins
http://adrianwarnock.com/category/series/heaven-hell-and-rob-bell/

Rob Bell’s Unbelief in His own Words
http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110418