Mennonites Walk Barton’s Bridge

Ruth Haley Barton, founder of The Transforming Centre[1], was trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation which teaches: “This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality … It is no accident that the most active frontier between Christian and Eastern religions today is between contemplative Christian monks and their Eastern equivalents.” —Tilden Edwards, Shalem Founder[2]

Barton, who could not find peace or direction in her Baptist roots or through reading the Bible and praying, found fulfillment through spiritual direction. Now she incorporates a blend of Eastern and Roman Catholic contemplative spirituality and monastic practices in her retreats and books on practicing the presence of God in the silence and sacred rhythms of prayer. Lately she has been very instrumental in leading entire Protestant and Anabaptist church congregations and their leaders into these same practices through spiritual direction and discernment seminars.

This year, the Mennonites have once again[3] brought in Ruth Haley Barton to help them make decisions in the silence regarding some very important upcoming issues that include LGBTQ and anti-Israel BDS resolutions. How tragic to see an entire church delegation over looking all that is necessary in their discernment process (the Bible), thereby shunning to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) in seeking guidance from an apprentice of Thomas Merton and Tilden Edwards. Surely Menno Simons is rolling over in his grave.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

Here are two articles for the remnant to read and pray about…

CLC discerns delegate agenda and offers counsel to Executive Board
Posted on March 30, 2015
NORTH NEWTON, Kan.—“We are here and we’ve been gathered by God, and the truth is gathered, too,” said Chuck Neufeld, conference minister for Illinois Mennonite Conference, during a plenary session at the March 26–28 meeting of Mennonite Church USA’s Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) in North Newton, Kan.
CLC members spent time in prayer and worship; received input from Ruth Haley Barton on tools for discerning God’s will for the church; and offered counsel to the Resolutions Committee and Executive Board (EB) of Mennonite Church USA on churchwide statements to bring before the Delegate Assembly in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.
Neufeld’s reflections, offered after a half hour of silent discernment and prayer, were joined by those of other CLC members who called for mutual forbearance and care across the church in the midst of disagreements on how LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) individuals should be allowed to participate in Mennonite Church USA. Marco Güete, conference minister for Southeast Mennonite Conference, closed the sharing time with observations from his long career in the Mennonite Church, saying, “My reflection to God during this time was, ‘I love your imperfect church. Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of it.’”

More here:
http://mennoniteusa.org/news/clc-discerns-delegate-agenda-and-offers-counsel-to-executive-board/

Discerning spirit
God’s will can be found, even in when we disagree
Apr 13, 2015 by Paul Schrag

The rest of the world makes decisions, but the church discerns. If that were just a choice of words, it wouldn’t be important. But Ruth Haley Barton believes the difference goes much deeper. To discern is to find the will of God.
“Christian leaders have an idea that their decision-making should be somehow different from the rest of the world,” Barton said in a presentation to the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council on March 26 at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. “But sometimes we reduce that to just having a prayer and devotions at the beginning of the meeting.”
Discernment is more than a nod to God.
At a time when MC USA is experiencing conflict over same-sex relationships and church polity, Barton’s message was timely. Though she spoke to leaders dealing with major issues, her ideas apply to every Christian and to all of life.
Barton is a teacher and writer about Christian formation and church leadership at the Transforming Center in Wheaton, Ill., who will speak to delegates at the MC USA convention in Kansas City in July.
She defines discernment as “the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and the activity of God in both the ordinary moments and the larger decisions of our lives.”
Discernment is the habit of noticing where God is at work and how God is speaking. Barton believes it is possible, in any situation, to “have a sense of whether God is at work or the Evil One is at work.” This needs to happen even in the interior world of our own thoughts and motives. 1 John 4:1 advises us to “test the spirits.” Are we willing to test our own spirit?
To do this, we need to listen to God in solitude and silence.
“Many of us are trying to give spiritual leadership without having much of a spiritual life,” Barton said. We must not let our busyness — even our Christian busyness — keep us from being aware of what is going on in our own soul. We need to be quiet and hear the voice of God as distinct from our own voice.
To whom does God give the spiritual gift of discernment? To those who are on a spiritual journey, Barton says. To those who let God transform them into a better version of themselves.

More here:
http://mennoworld.org/2015/04/13/editorial/discerning-spirit/

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Endnotes:

1] (www.transformingcenter.org)
2] Ruth Haley Barton, Contemplative Prayer, 
and the Spiritual Formation Movement
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/ruthhaleybarton.htm
3] Ruth Haley Barton Trains Mennonites to Discern in The Silence
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/ruth-haley-barton-trains-mennonites-to-discern-in-the-silence/

*** UPDATE JULY 3, 2015

Mennonites delay vote on divesting from Israel for 2 years
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=26609

The Thin Place Trend Continues

The contemplative trend continues to surface in Mennonite publications, as recently shown by a two part article called Moving thinward[1] in the Canadian Mennonite by Troy Watson[2]. It’s about ‘thin places,’ believed by some to be places where we can feel God’s presence more readily because the barrier between the spiritual realm and the material is thinner than in other places. Another article about ‘thin places’ was recently published in the MB Herald, called Find Yourself a Thin Place this Christmas[3].

Could this growing interest in Celtic spirituality and thin places be the fruit of a concern back in 2007 about Lilly Endowment grants that were being given to congregations and their pastors? These grants for pastors to go on sabbaticals with contemplative/emerging overtones have been as recent as 2012.

“. . . according to the Lilly Endowment document that lists the winners of the 2012 grants, pastors will:

. . . seek to regain spiritual vitality through the ancient Christian practice of walking as pilgrims in several countries—the path of Jesus in Israel, the path of the Exodus, some or all of the 500-mile Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) in Spain, the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul in Greece, Turkey and Italy—and making retreats in Benedictine monasteries, walking the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, and living in sacred space on the Isle of Iona and other Celtic spiritual destinations.

Winners represent various denominations including Southern Baptist, Independent, Presbyterian, Reformed, Episcopal, United Methodist, Lutheran, Nazarene, Evangelical Free, and Mennonite.”

SOURCE: Question to the Editor: What’s Up with Lilly Endowment – Funding Pastoral Sabbaticals with a Contemplative Agenda
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=11280

Whether or not Troy Watson’s recent visit to the contemplative community of Iona was due to a grant, he writes that he’s always been drawn to environments that evoke ‘a sense of sacred space.’ In part two of Moving Thinward he says that “…for Abraham, Jacob and their descendants, Bethel was a thin place” and of Mount Sinai, “This mountain was clearly a very thin place.”

Are there such places to be found today? We know from the Bible that the holy place (the temple) was the only place on the entire earth that God dwelt after sin and death entered the word and man was separated from God. Sacrifices ceased in the Temple in Jerusalem when it was destroyed in 70 AD, but access to the Holy of Holies, where God met man, was already no longer available by then because Jesus was the final sacrifice, once and for all, and the veil to the Holy of Holies was torn.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” Hebrews 10:19,20

Because Jesus is the only way to enter God’s presence, any so called sacred space we now make or attempt to find in order to enter that realm is idolatry. There can be no places on earth where the veil between us and God’s presence is ‘thinner.’ Where ever there are efforts to find thin places where God meets man, such as the contemplatives making their sacred spiritual spaces to sense God’s presence, or the practice of the presence of God through prayer techniques – it is idolatry. The God of the universe already made a way to dwell within each believer, by the power of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent after His ascension. Those who believe are now called the temple of the Holy Spirit. No place on earth is worth making the effort to find. He lives in us. Praise the Name of the LORD!

Endnote:

1] This is part one:

Moving thinward (Pt. 1)
By Troy Watson
Feb 25, 2015
Viewpoints
I’ve always been intrigued with “thin places” long before I ever heard the term “thin place.”
Since childhood, I’ve been curiously drawn to old churches, temples, cathedrals, monasteries, ruins, holy sites, natural “wonders,” remote wilderness, solitary night skies—anywhere that evokes a sense of sacred space. Part of the appeal has been the beauty and mystery I so often find in these environments, but occasionally I’ve been so overwhelmed by divine energy in these places it was as if I’d stumbled upon holy ground.
I’m not the only one. Countless people have experienced God in places like these. Sometimes in exactly the same place.
Almost two years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Island of Iona. Iona has long been considered a thin place by people from various religious and spiritual backgrounds. . .
*More here:
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/stories/moving-thinward-pt-1

Here is part two:

Moving thinward (Pt. 2)
By Troy Watson
Mar 25, 2015
(Volume 19 Issue 7 Canadian Mennonite):
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/stories/moving-thinward-pt-2

2] Troy Watson is pastor of Avon Mennonite Church (www.avonmennonite.com/troywatson.htm) in Stratford, Ontario. He is the founder of the Quest Christian Community (www.questchristiancommunity.ca), an alternative faith community in St. Catharines, ON. (a Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada affiliated initiative) whose aim is ‘Christ Consciousness.’ Pastor Watson recently reviewed The Naked Now, a book by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr that explores the lost tradition of mystical Christianity. Of this book, Watson said “I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been reading spiritual authors such as Eckhart Tolle.” (See: http://www.mcec.ca/content/naked-now-richard-rohr)

3] Find Yourself a Thin Place this Christmas
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/should-you-find-yourself-a-thin-place-this-christmas/

*Photo of Altar in The Chapel The Chapel at Iona Abbey by James Denham

What does meditation, Jungian psychology and the labyrinth have to do with the Mennonite Brethren?

Can nice people who create beautiful music be sincerely deceived and lead other well meaning people astray? When reading about the following retreat which is taking place today, keep in mind that this ‘Christian mystic’ is one of the retreat leaders at the Mark Centre which is affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Conference of BC.

Saturday, March 28 Soul Care Day Retreat
Soul Care Day Retreat – with a theme of Receiving Forgiveness for self and Extending Forgiveness to others
When we can receive love and forgiveness in greater measure for ourselves,we are able to extend that in greater measures to those around us. Aligning with Love is a way to guide us into a deeper journey of forgiveness in our lives. Forgiveness is a key to bring greater transformation in all our relationships.
A full day of care for the soul – for 12 women.
Our day will be a flow of group time and personal time, including lunch and snacks.
Group times will include music meditation, stories, forgiveness teaching and meditation, poetry and sharing together.
In your free time you can choose to rest, do journaling meditations that will be available for you, walk the outdoor labyrinth, or sit at an art/icon station.
$85 for the day. If finances are a difficulty, please indicate what you are able to afford on your registration. Please pay $25 registration down below to reserve your spot and the remainding $60 upon arrival by check/cash/credit.
 Cathy AJ Hardy is a Christian mystic and the retreat will hold elements of Jungian psychology, Celtic Christianity, poetry, and art. Cathy has been leading retreats with the Mark Centre in Abbotsford, MCC in Abbotsford, and at the Westminster Abbey in Mission. She also leads day retreats through her home. She is a singer-songwriter, poet, and retreat facilitator.
(cathyajhardy.com/events/saturday-march-28-soul-care-day-retreat/)

What does Christian mysticism, meditation, Jungian psychology and the labyrinth have to do with the Mennonite Brethren? Biblically and theologically, these have absolutely no place in any Christian ministry. This information has been posted simply to create awareness in the hearts of the remnant of believers within the Mennonite Brethren denomination. Pray for those who have taken the contemplative path. The teachings of contemplative spirituality seem inviting, but are leading many astray.

Note: The goal and strategy of the (Mennonite Brethren affiliated) Mark Centre is serve thousands who will inspire millions to embrace a lifestyle of contemplative listening to God. Those who want to learn more about the Mark Centre or the labyrinth may use the search box on this blog to find previous posts.

RELATED:

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

What is Jungian analytic psychology, and is it biblical?
http://www.gotquestions.org/Jungian-analytic-psychology.html

Carl G. Jung
 Man of Science or Modern Shaman?
http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/nathan/jung.htm

LABYRINTHS, Prayer Paths That Promote the Occult
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/labyrinth.htm

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

Mennonite Brethren still okay with Brian McLaren

It appears that the Mennonites are still praising the false teachings and ‘beautifully poetic moving’ ideas of Brian McLaren. In the Cross Currents section of the February 2015 issue of the MB Herald is a book review of the newest Brian McLaren book called We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation and Activation. The review is written by Brad Sumner, regular writer for the MB Herald and pastor at a Mennonite Brethren church plant (Jericho Ridge, B.C. Canada). A mixture of light criticism and praise, the review leans toward applause and affirmation of the book’s commendable emphasis on spiritual formation among many other things – McLaren’s approach to scripture, emphasis on justice and nonresistance that resonates with the Mennonite Brethren, caring for creation, and enough ‘skillfully phrased’ family/child inclusive questions to sustain conversations for a year. The following excerpt is from the review:

Concerning reorientation toward the Bible

What will likely create some tension, however, is the elasticity with which McLaren treats the Bible itself. For him, Scripture seems to be an allegory of possibilities where factual truth and actual truth become interchangeable and sometimes intermingled.
McLaren has a tendency to denigrate biblical authority to make a contemporary point. For example, when discussing violence in the Old Testament, he indicates that “in the minds of the originators of these stories, God as they understood God did indeed command these things.” He goes on to suggest that what is truly important is how we understand God, not necessarily how the original writers or hearers heard or understood him…
As Mennonite Brethren, we have a very different outlook, as expressed in Article 2 of our CCMBC Confession of Faith: “We accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the authoritative guide for faith and practice.”

Community emphasis on activation

For those with an already firm view of biblical authority, the book holds wonderful benefit for personal contemplative reading…I could see the material being used as a post-Alpha learning circle that meets weekly to journey deeper into the themes of Scripture.
…on the whole, the book is pithy and full of vitality and worthwhile topics for conversation along the road.

Source:
http://mbherald.com/we-make-road-walking/

Why recommend ANY teacher who does not submit to the Bible as the inspired Word of God? Why promote the ‘skillfully phrased’ (some might say “hissed”) questions of a false teacher as a good source for teaching children and new Christians?

This review by Pastor Sumner, an avid reader and prolific blogger, is also posted at his blog Leadership Confessions, where admiration for Brian McLaren, whom Sumner calls “a sometimes controversial author and public theologian,” is expressed more than once. Previous book reviews and author promotions on his blog include (among many others) many such “controversial” authors. Such as Danny Silk of Bethel Church, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, George Fox, Kathleen Norris, Ann Voskamp, Leonard Sweet, Gary Thomas, and Larry Crabb. Sumner also refers to “The Emotionally Healthy Church”, by Peter Scazzero, and Shane Claiborne’s “Common Prayer – A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals” as ‘helpful’ books. Also included among his many postings is a quote from Understanding the Ennegram (“Psychology without spirituality is arid and ultimately meaningless, while spirituality without grounding in psychological work leads to vanity and illusions”). Many of these are authors are leaders in the emerging church and contemplative spirituality movements. The Ennegram, which quite a few of them also promote, is an occult tool.

There is an old quote by Oscar Wilde, whose life turned out to be a tragic mess, that goes like this: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Sadly, many of today’s pastors and Christian leaders read more books off the shelf than they do the books of the Bible.

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12

It is time to weep and pray for the pastors.

“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

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Related:

*Find out more about Mennonites and McLaren’s book here:

McLaren’s New Book – A New Kind of Year Long Church Curriculum
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/mclarens-new-book-a-new-kind-of-year-long-church-curriculum/

*Learn more about McLaren’s Bible interpretation methods and plans to influence children, here:

Muddy Emerging Convergence in Sunday School Curriculum
https://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/muddy-emerging-convergence-in-sunday-school-curriculum/

Note: to read previous articles on this blog about Mennonite and their enchantment with Brian McLaren, enter his name in the search box.

Mennonites and the Eco-Gospel

A new collaboration of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University called the CommonWord Book Store and Resource Center[1] just opened at the beginning of this year. On their website they state that they are “passionate about Anabaptist resources for the home and congregation,” however, what can be found there is a plethora of spirituality, from earth worship and indigenous peoples resources to contemplative spiritual formation curriculum and resources by emergent church leaders. Within the virtual walls of this library are enough non-anabaptist resources to make Menno Simons roll over in his grave. For example, the closest Brian McLaren (whose materials fill their web pages) comes to “anabaptist” is his Plymouth Brethren roots.

Shortly after opening, the top ten most popular resources[2] at CommonWord included Heaven is for Real: Based on the incredible True Story DVD[3], Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together[4], Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal by April Yamasaki[5], and Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Curriculum) by Richard Rohr[6].

While there may be some biblical resources to be found at CommonWord, more commonly there appears to be a lack of materials that teach the power of God and His Word. For example, Becoming an Energy Saint is a video that was promoted this January on CommonWord’s New Resources page[7]).

Is this environmental message of eco-theology truly what some Mennonites want in their church congregations as a teaching resource?

Carl Teichrib, researcher and writer, confirms that the interfaith green gospel has not only invaded Mennonite organizations, but many church denominations.

“Today’s Christian community is rife with green social and political messages, eco-theology, and interfaith action on the environment. Examples abound, such as the G8 World Religious Summit of 2010, a major interfaith meeting with strong representation from across the Protestant/evangelical spectrum, working in cooperation with world religions to push global green governance and a form of eco-spirituality.
Another example is the commissioned Mennonite Central Committee report, Earth Trek: Celebrating and Sustaining God’s Creation. In it we discover a combination of questionable theology, pantheistic-based messages, troubling political and social activism, mystical meditations and texts on the sacredness of Earth, the promotion of family planning through the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (part of the global abortion industry), favorable connections to The Earth Charter Foundation and Friends of the Earth – and at the end of the book we find this suggestion; “this week, make an offering to the earth, in the form of a prayer or some other gift.” (bold in original)
In Canada, the United Church sings “O Beautiful Gaia” – a song to the Greek goddess of Earth – as found in their More Voices hymnal. Across North America congregations hold Earth Day services, hear sermons on global warming, and engage in environmental campaigns. Example after example could be given. It’s like we’re facing a tsunami of green.”

SOURCE: Bridging Faith and Earth
By Carl Teichrib (www.forcingchange.org)
https://forcingchange.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/bridging-faith-and-earth/

Have some Christians, perhaps in name only, gone so far from their roots that they don’t know who they truly are in Christ? One can only pray that such souls will turn away from the earthy green gospel and turn their hearts to the Maker of heaven and earth.
_____

Endnotes:

[1] http://www.commonword.ca/Home
[2] http://www.commonword.ca/MostPopularResources
[3] Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment
http://www.thebereancall.org/content/heaven-real-real-exercise-discernment-0
[4] http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/2/16064
[5] See: Pausing to Examine Sacred Pauses https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/pausing-to-examine-sacred-pauses/
[6] This book by Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr is endorsed by Dr Mehmet Oz, Brian McLaren, Cynthia Bourgeault
http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Upward-Spirituality-Halves-Life/dp/0470907754
[7] http://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/48/17430

Mennonite College Dedicates New Prayer Labyrinth

A student walks the college’s new prayer labyrinth.

Hesston College dedicates prayer labyrinth

Hesston (Kan.) College and the local community now have a new place to go for quiet contemplation or prayer with the completion of Hesston College’s prayer labyrinth.
With candles lighting the path, the labyrinth was dedicated Oct. 30. Bible and ministry faculty member Michele Hershberger led participants through the labyrinth in prayer while local musician Ben Regier set the mood with guitar and mandolin music.
“The labyrinth provides a place to let go of resentments, worries and emotional hurts while walking towards the center of the labyrinth and then to receive God’s love and peace while walking away from the center,” said Hershberger.
Prayer labyrinths offer a way of praying that brings a person’s whole body into the prayer. Individuals walk toward the center of the labyrinth and back out – a physical action that serves as a reminder of the spiritual action they are taking.
“Our physical bodies and spiritual beings are interconnected,” said Clay Stauffer, Hesston College exercise science faculty and labyrinth committee member. “The labyrinth, with its walking and praying, activates this interconnectedness.”
The idea for a prayer labyrinth on the Hesston College campus started in 2002 when former physical education instructor Jen LeFevre returned from a sabbatical where she experienced a prayer labyrinth and thought it would fit well with campus values. LeFevre taught a physical education class called prayer walking where students walked around the campus and town focusing on contemplation, meditation and prayer.

Read more here:
https://themennonite.org/daily-news/hesston-college-dedicates-prayer-labyrinth/

[The Mennonite provides Anabaptist content and is a publication of Mennonite Church USA. The mission of The Mennonite is to help readers glorify God, grow in faith and become agents of healing and hope in our world.]

Also see the announcement at the Hesston College website, here:

PRAYER LABYRINTH DEDICATED AS A CAMPUS SACRED SPACE
http://www.hesston.edu/2014/11/prayer-labyrinth-dedicated-campus-sacred-space/

[Hesston College is a Christ-centered community where each student is educated and nurtured academically, socially and spiritually. As a two-year liberal arts college, we believe that your first two years should be treated as more than something to get out of the way. They should be seen as an opportunity to lay a solid foundation for the rest of your life.
Hesston College is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA and connects to the denomination through Mennonite Education Agency. The president of Hesston College is a member of the Council of Mennonite Colleges, an organization composed of the presidents of Mennonite colleges in the United States and Canada.]

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NOTE: To see other posts on Menno-lite regarding Mennonites and the Labyrinth, click HERE.

Mennonites ask ‘What is Truth?’

Recently, a reader e-mailed Menno-lite with concerns about Mennonite Church Canada. One of these included a portion of an article in The Canadian Mennonite[1] (called What is Truth?) that deals with contemplative spirituality in a positive light. The reader commented that . . .

“It is interesting that the MC Canada writer confirms what your blog has said all along, that contemplative spirituality leads to an interspiritual “religion”. This is not new, see Ezekiel 8 for the description of the first “interfaith worship center” that the temple was turned into.”

The following is a quote from The Canadian Mennonite article called “What is Truth?”:

“It has become clear that there is a need to have some truths upon which many can agree, and it has become clear that there are different ways of finding truth. These ways are not the old ways of an individual studying and developing truth, nor of an individual prophet receiving a revealed truth that all must obey.

Historians like Karen Armstrong have come to the conclusion that there is truth to be found by studying the wide experience of many people over time and space. In her book A History of God, Armstrong proposes that mystics past and present, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and beyond, have come to truths through lives of contemplation. These truths include:

• There is a god/God who can be approached, found and communicated with through contemplative prayer.
• This god/God works to change people from the inside out into empathic and love-driven workers for change in society.

Because she finds this in many religions, she does not depend on outside influences like religious texts and practice, or hierarchies, to influence people. Instead, god/God works from the inside out to influence and change people no matter which religion nurtured and matured them. The Golden Rule—“Do to others what you want them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12)—is an example of this. Jesus’ two great commandments—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ ” (Luke 10:25-28)—is a Jewish/Christian summary of the same.

At the Mennonite Church Canada biennial assembly in Winnipeg this summer, Betty Pries called on participants to turn to contemplative life, surrendering to God all of their lives; abiding in Christ, allowing God to free them from their attachments to anything other than God; and to incarnate Christ in their lives. This directly parallels Armstrong’s findings from her study of the Abrahamic faiths.”

SOURCE-“What is truth?”
By Dave Rogalsky
Eastern Canada Correspondent
Posted Oct. 22, 2014
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/“what-truth”

What is truth?

Jesus said, in his high priestly prayer to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). Jesus is the Word; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), “and his name is called The Word of God.” (Rev 19:13)

Jesus also said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”(John 14:6) But the article in The Canadian Mennonite says it has become clear that there are different ways of finding truth. Are there?

Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. (Hos 4:1).

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessl 2:13

The article says the ways to find truth are not the old ways, as an individual prophet receiving a revealed truth that all must obey. Is this true?

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Ex. 31:18

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

The article says that people need not depend on outside influences like religious texts and practice, or hierarchies, to influence them. Does God work from the inside out? Don’t we need the Bible to know truth?

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Psa 138:2

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Rev 22:19

In summary, truth is not found from contemplating within. God gave us a written record for us to read, by which we can know truth. His Word has been preserved through the ages for our benefit. Martyrs have died for it. Our entire Juedo-Christian system of Law is based on it. In it we find truth, because Jesus is the Word, and He is the truth. We cannot trust any other source that claims to be.

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[1] The Canadian Mennonite Mission statement: To educate, inspire, inform, and foster dialogue on issues facing Mennonites in Canada as it shares the good news of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective. We do this through a print publication (published 24 times a year) and through other media, working with our church partners. Canadian Mennonite serves primarily the people and churches of Mennonite Church Canada.