What Will Ears Hear in The Mark Centre’s New Book?

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

A new training resource offered by the Mark Centre (affiliated with the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches) is a book written by directors 

Steve and Evy Klassen called Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God. The title of this workbook is four words taken from Isaiah 30:21 that are said to be the ‘watchwords’ of the Mark Centre.

The description of this book, which was written to assist people as they listen to God, informs readers that it:

“…has already received praise from international authors like Paul Hawker[1], who claims ‘Your Ears Will Hear’ offers a smorgasbord of stories and practices for seekers to draw from as they pursue their quest to hear God’s voice. In his foreword, Loren Cunningham[2], founder of Youth With A Mission[3], promises ‘You will enjoy recognizing and listening to the voice of God while working through this book.’

SOURCE: http://markcentre.org/ListeningTools/YourEarsWillHearJournal.html

However, is it the praises of international authors, smorgasbords of stories, and practices that we should seek when listening for the voice of our MOST HOLY GOD? Does the Mark Centre’s book measure up to the words of scripture which they say are their ‘watchwords’?

In the beginning pages of Your Ears Will Hear: A Journal for Listening to God in a chapter called A God Who Speaks there are references to many sources other than His Word. There are quotes from authors like Quaker mystic Thomas Kelly (A Testament to Devotion) who, we are told, “understood something about God’s initiating and active presence.” There is also a quote from Eugene Peterson’s version of the Holy Bible called The Message. We are also informed in this same chapter of other “certain people who have caught a glimpse of a refreshing and wild God whose kingdom is at work everywhere and all the time,” such as Richard Rohr[4] (Catholic priest and director of The Center of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico). The Mark Centre’s book includes a quote from Rohr’s book called The Naked Now Learning to See as the Mystics See. Another person the Mark Centre’s book points to who has ‘caught a glimpse of God’ is Barbara Brown Taylor[5], author of Alter in the World: A Geography of Faith, a book which not only opens the way to contemplative spirituality and the labyrinth but is endorsed by contemplative emergents Lauren Winner, Phyllis Tickle, Tony Jones, and Marcus Borg (of the heretical Jesus Seminar).

The Mark Centre’s book also describes 5 ways to hear God’s voice, one of which includes their ‘favourite’ approach to Scripture, Lectio Divina. (As major emphasis is placed on this method not only in their book but in Mark Centre’s retreats, please read Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice.)

Also quoted in Your Ears Will Hear are Eugene Peterson’s The Message (p 8), Brennan Manning‘s Ruthless Trust the Ragamuffins Path to God (p 84), quaker Thomas Kelly, and Mother Teresa (“The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.” Your Ears Will Hear, p 16). It was Mother Teresa who saidWe all belong to the same family. Hindus, Muslims and all peoples are our brothers and sisters. They too are the children of God.” (p.35, Mother Teresa, Words to Love By)

Are these the ways that God has told us in His Word to walk in? Will the terms and people named in this book offered by the Mark Centre cause some to miss the mark? If so, how many Christians will be led off course? Hopefully those who have ears to hear will listen to what the Lord is saying to His church and not what the emergent, contemplative and possibly even heretical voices are saying.

Endnotes:

[1] Paul Hawker is an author whose inspirations for his book Soul Quest include Henri Nouwen and M. Scott Peck. This book opens with a telling quote in the Preface by Seng Tan 606 AD: “Don’t search for the truth, Just let go your opinions.” Hawker has also written Secret Affairs of the Soul and Soul Survivor.

[2] See: Loren Cunningham, YWAM and False Prophesy
http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/cunningham.html

[3] See: Will You Entrust Your Youth To YWAM
http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/youthwithamission.html
Articles on YWAM
http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/youthwithamission.html
What is Wrong with YWAM? Evangelism or Ecumenism – You Decide http://letusreason.org/ecumen30.htm

[4] See: Richard Rohr
http://apprising.org/2008/05/10/who-is-richard-rohr/

Brian McLaren’s good friend Richard Rohr
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/brian-mclarens-good-friend-richard-rohr/

[5] According to former Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor’s book called Leaving the Church : A Memoir of Faith (HarperCollins 2007), since leaving her leadership position af Grace-Calvary Church (Atlanta), she feels more open to the Lakota spiritual practices that have long attracted her husband and admires the element of real risk in the Native American’s focus on direct encounters with God (chapter 15, Reader’s Guide). Barbara Brown Taylor was also listed as one of 10 SPIRITUAL SAGES
 TO WATCH IN 2009 along with ROB BELL and SHANE CLAIBORNE on David Crumm’s Read the Spirit, a new kind of media network of religion and spirituality (which also has a ‘Sharing Islam‘ section).

NOTE: Read the Spirit lists Ten 21st-Century Principles of Religious Publishing, Principle 1 being:
“It’s about the Voice, not the book.
This religious truth cuts across spiritual traditions. Our Scriptures talk about Voice, Message and Word. And, today, this principle remains profoundly true. In this new century, power lies in the message, not the specific packages, which are constantly evolving.”

*MENNO-LITE EDITOR COMMENT: Is it any coincidence that this is the interfaith message which the emerging church has recently joined with in ‘The Voice,’ a new Bible version which the MB Herald recently promoted and recommended for children?

RELATED POSTS:

Mennonites Reading and Quoting Thomas Kelly
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/reading-and-quoting-thomas-kelly/

Richard Rohr Impacts the Mark Centre
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/richard-rohr-impacts-the-mark-centre/

St. Ignatius of Loyola & St. Teresa of Avila and Agnes Sanford at a Mennonite Retreat Centre?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/st-ignatius-of-loyola-st-teresa-of-avila-and-agnes-sanford-at-a-mennonite-retreat-centre/

MB Herald Promotes Contemplative Centre, Again
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/mb-herald-promotes-contemplative-centre-again/

B.C. Mennonite Church Allowing Contemplative Spirituality to be Taught
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/b-c-mennonite-church-allowing-contemplative-spirituality-to-be-taught/

The Mark Centre and Lectio Divina
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/the-mark-centre-and-lectio-divina/

The Mark Centre and Silent Prayer – Strategy to Affect Millions
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/the-mark-centre-and-silent-prayer/

Why are Mennonite pastors, students and missionaries being taught to sit comfortably repeating a word quietly for 20 minutes?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/why-are-mennonite-pastors-students-and-missionaries-being-taught-to-sit-comfortably-repeating-a-word-quietly-for-20-minutes/

Mennonite Students go to Benedictine Monastery to Sit in Silence
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/mennonite-trekkers-go-to-benedictine-monastery-to-sit-in-silence/

* PLEASE NOTE: About following “Matthew 18” and first going to the authors and/or leaders of magazines or books critiqued, see THE BEREAN CALL.

__________________________________

UPDATE

Mennonite churches near the Mark Centre where this book and it’s contemplative practices have recently been introduced include:

Bakerview Church
http://www.bakerview.org/Ministries/Adults/Women.html

Coast Hills Community Church
http://www.coasthillschurch.com/series/ancient-practices-to-change-your-life/sermons

Cedar Park Church
http://cedarparkchurch.org/cpt_sermons/your-ears-will-hear/

Mountain Park Community Church
http://www.mpcc.ca/sermons/your-ears-will-hear/

McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brehtren Church
http://www.mcivorchurch.com/sermons/sept09nov2512/sept09nov2512.html

South Abbotsford Church
southabbotsford.com/podcast/july-8-2012/

Central Heights Church
http://www.centralheightschurch.com/resources/sermon-archive/

UPDATE: A new women’s retreat centre influenced by the Mark Centre and this book:

http://www.womenrefreshed.com/

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6 thoughts on “What Will Ears Hear in The Mark Centre’s New Book?

  1. Pingback: Richard Rohr Impacts the Mark Centre « Menno-lite

  2. Pingback: Reading and Quoting Thomas Kelly « Menno-lite

  3. Pingback: Mennonites Reading and Quoting Thomas Kelly « Menno-lite

  4. Pingback: Mennonite Students go to Benedictine Monastery to Sit in Silence « Menno-lite

  5. Pingback: Mennonite Missions TREK to the Labyrinth and the Silence « Menno-lite

  6. Pingback: Can Stepping out of the Traffic lead to Idolatry? | Menno-lite

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