Monday, 29 August 2011

Yoga was introduced to the West by the occultists

While talking to my fellow Christians about yoga I have been trying to explain them that yoga IS a spiritual exercise if they like it or not. Apart from its definition that speaks volumes, its crucial to understand how yoga got to the West - KNOW ITS HISTORY!

Its definition says that its a is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India whose goal is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility.The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Sanskrit word yoga has the literal meaning of "yoke", from a root yuj meaning to join, to unite, or to attach. The more technical sense of the term "yoga", describing a system of meditation or contemplation with the aim of the cessation of mental activity and the attaining of a "supreme state" arises with early Buddhism (5th century BC), and is adopted in Vedanta philosophy by the 4th century BC.

But its equally crucial to understand WHO brought yoga to Europe and the United States???

David S. Katz in his great historical account "The occult tradition" writes the following:
"By the early 1890s, then, it was clear that India had taken a central place at the bar of antiquity, and was seen as the mothers of civilization. There is no doubt that all of the current India-centered projects played a part in this development; Max Muller in Oxfrod, Madame Blavatsky in London, and the many writers of contemporary occult texts. Olcott and Blavatsky had begun their work in the United States, and in due course Indomania took root there as well."

Who was Madame Blavatsky? Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (born as Helena von Hahn (12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831 – 8 May 1891) was a self-professed psychic and mystic, and a founder of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society together with Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and others in September 1875. Its initial objective was the "study and elucidation of Occultism, the Cabala etc. In the Theosophical Magazine "Lucifer" issued in 1887-1888 we can read about yoga experiences. 

"The watershed was the "Parliament of Religions" opened on 11 September 1893 as part of the World's Columbia Exhibition, better known as CHICAGO WORLD'S FAIR
H. S. Olcott, Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater
at the international Convention, Adyar,
December 1905
(...) Far more celebrated was the appearance at the "Parliament of Religions" of an Indian monk named VIVEKANANDA (1863-1902) whose performance was a bombshell. Vivekananda was a monastic name of Narendra Nath Datta, a follower of the celebrated Sri Ramakrishna (1836-86). Swami Vivekananda was in the United States from July 1893 to April 1895, and then again from August 1899 to July 1900. (...) Vivekananda wrote what were probably the first books on yoga, now classics. Many of the Swami's American followers came to him through THEOSOPHY, but Vivekanada himself had no illusions about Madame Blavatsky and her theories, as useful as she and they were. (...) Despite Vivekananda's disparaging remarks, Blavatsky's theories did very well in the United States, where an independent Theosophical Society was established in 1895. Back in India, Theosophy continued to thrive, even after the death of Madame Blavatsky in 1891. When Olcott died in 1907, ANNIE BESANT was elected president of the Theosophical Society (Adyar), the post she held until her own demise in 1933. In 1902, she persuaded the Austrian Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) to form a Germanic section of the Theosophical Society, which he did. The loose canon in India was Charles Leadbeater."

Charles Webster Leadbeater was a well-known clairvoyant and theosophist who dedicated his life to the dissemination of Theosophy. He left his position as a clergyman in the Church of England in 1884, traveling with Madame Helena Blavatsky to India to help her in her work for the Theosophical Society. For those interested in more information about him good site with archives.
"(...) In 1909 he disccovered Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986). (...) Leadbeater inaugurated the 'Order of the Star in the East' in Krishnamurti's honor in 1911, proclaiming him to be the 'World Teacher'. Rudolf Steiner was so appalled by this turn of events that he refused membership in his German section to anyone who had anything to do with the Krishnamurti cult, and was expelled from the Theosophical Society for his trouble. Steiner founded his own Anthroposophical Society, which continues to thrive from its headquarters in Dorlach, Switzerland."

"The importance of the Theosophical Society far outstripped the implications of Madame Blavatsky's speculations. One one of the key underlying principles of British colonialism was the notion that only a Christian could be s fully functioning and rational human being, while Hindus were incapable of individual development due to their incapacitating fatalistic pantheism, which promoted ascetic withdrawal from the evil world. Theosophists argued in return, on behalf of the Indians, that it was Christianity that fostered unhealthy individualism, while Hinduism had a more comprehensive view of society, in which people were expected to use their talents for the good of the whole. Even caste was described as social duty (...)"

The emblem of the
Theosophical Society
Broadly, Theosophy attempts to reconcile humanity's scientific, philosophical, and religious disciplines and practices into a unified worldview. As it largely employs a synthesizing approach, it makes extensive use of the vocabulary and concepts of many philosophical and religious traditions. However these, along with all other fields of knowledge, are investigated, amended, and explained within an esoteric or occult framework.
The present-day New Age movement is said to be based to a considerable extent on original Theosophical tenets and ideas. "No single organization or movement has contributed so many components to the New Age Movement as the Theosophical Society. ... It has been the major force in the dissemination of occult literature in the West in the twentieth century." Other organizations loosely based on Theosophical texts and doctrines include the Agni Yoga, and a group of religions based on Theosophy called the Ascended Master Teachings: the "I AM" Activity, The Bridge to Freedom and The Summit Lighthouse, which evolved into the Church Universal and Triumphant. These various offshoots dispute the authenticity of their rivals.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

What Catholic Church says about the magic, divination, sorcery, etc ?

The Catholic Church teaches that the first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself, for example, in the introduction to the Ten Commandments:

“I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.” Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. . . . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ‘Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.' (Isaiah 45:22-24, see also Philippians 2:10-11)”

Because God’s identity and transcendent character are described in Scripture as unique, the teaching of the Catholic Church proscribes superstition as well as irreligion and explains the commandment is broken by having images to which divine power is ascribed as well as in divinizing anything that is not God. 

“Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons … power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc.” The Catechism commends those who refuse even to simulate such worship in a cultural context and states that “the duty to offer God authentic worship concerns man both as an individual and as a social being.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that this commandment is recalled many times throughout the Bible and quotes passages describing temporal consequences for those who place trust elsewhere than in God:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 3 Life in Christ, Section 2


2110 The first commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion.

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.

2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God, however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."

Divination and magic
2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. 

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible.
often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

Quite clear all that, isnt it ???

An Interview With Fr Gabriele Amorth - The Church's Leading Exorcist

On the bumpy flight to Rome I read The Bible all the way. The passenger on my left - a wiry businesswoman from Wisconsin - found this disconcerting. As the turbulence worsened and I moved from Jude to Revelation, she hissed at me, "Do you have to?" "It's only background reading," I murmured. She grimaced. "What for?" I turned to her and whispered: "I'm going to meet the exorcist." "Oh Christ," she gasped, as the plane lurched and hot coffee spilled over us.

Father Gabriele Amorth is indeed the exorcist, the most senior and respected member of his calling. A priest for 50 years, he is the undisputed leader of the city's six exorcists (appointed by the cardinal to whom the Pope delegates the office of Vicar of Rome) and honorary president-for-life of the International Association of Exorcists
. He is 75, small, spry, humorous, and wonderfully direct.

"I speak with the Devil every day," he says, grinning like a benevolent gargoyle. "I talk to him in Latin. He answers in Italian. I have been wrestling with him, day in day out, for 14 years."

On cue (God is not worried by clichés) a shaft of October sunlight falls across Father Amorth's pale, round face. We are sitting at a table by the window in a small high-ceilinged meeting room at his Rome headquarters, the offices of the Society of St Paul. Father Amorth has come to exorcism late in life, but with impressive credentials. Born in 1925 in Modena, northern Italy, the son and grandson of lawyers (his brother is a judge), Gabriele Amorth, in his late teens, joined the Italian resistance.

Immediately after the war, he became a member of the fledgling Christian Democratic Party. Giulo Andreotti was president of the Young Christian Democrats, Amorth was his deputy. Andreotti went into politics and was seven times prime minister. Amorth, having studied law at university, went into the Church.

"From the age of 15," be says, "I knew it was my true vocation. My speciality was the Madonna. For many years I edited the magazine Madre di Deo
(Mother of God). When I hear people say, 'You Catholics honour Mary too much,' I reply, 'We are never able to honour her enough.'

"I knew nothing of exorcism - I had given it no thought - until June 6, 1986 when Cardinal Poletti, the then Vicar of Rome, asked to see me. There was a famous exorcist in Rome then, the only one, Father Candido, but he was not well, and Cardinal Poletti told me I was to be his assistant. I learnt everything from Father Candido. He was my great master. Quickly I realised how much work there was to be done and how few exorcists there were to do it. From that day, I dropped everything and dedicated myself entirely to exorcism."

Father Amorth smiles continually as he tells his story. His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious and engaging. "Jesus performed exorcisms. He cast out demons. He freed souls from demonic possession and from Him the Church has received the power and office of exorcism. A simple exorcism is performed at every baptism, but major exorcism can be performed only by a priest licensed by the bishop. I have performed over 50,000 exorcisms. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes many hours. It is hard work multo duro

How does he recognise someone possessed by evil spirits? "It is not easy. There are many grades of possession. The Devil does not like to be seen, so there are people who are possessed who manage to conceal it. There are other cases where the person possessed is in acute physical pain, such agony that they cannot move.
"It is essential not to confuse demonic possession with ordinary illness. The symptoms of possession often include violent headaches and stomach cramps, but you must always go to the doctor before you go to the exorcist. I have people come to me who are not possessed at all. They are suffering from epilepsy or schizophrenia or other mental problems. Of the thousands of patients I have seen, only a hundred or so have been truly possessed."

"How can you tell?"

"By their aversion to the sacrament and all things sacred. If blessed they become furious. If confronted with the crucifix, they are subdued." "But couldn't an hysteric imitate the symptoms?"

"We can sort out the phoney ones. We look into their eyes. As part of the exorcism, at specific times during the prayers, holding two fingers on the patient's eyes we raise the eyelids. Almost always, in cases of evil presence, the eyes look completely white. Even with the help of both hands, we can barely discern whether the pupils are towards the top or the bottom of the eye. If the pupils are looking up, the demons in possession are scorpions. If looking down, they are serpents."

As I report this now, it sounds absurd. As Father Amorth told it to me, it felt entirely credible.

I had gone to Rome expecting - hoping, even - for a chilling encounter, but instead of a sinister bug-eyed obsessive lurking in the shadows of a Hammer Horror film set, here I was sitting in an airy room facing a kindly old man with an uncanny knack for making the truly bizarre seem wholly rational. He has God on his side and customers at his door. The demand for exorcism is growing as never before. Fifteen years ago there were 20 church-appointed exorcists in Italy. Now there are 300.

I ask Father Amorph to describe the ritual of exorcism.

"Ideally, the exorcist needs another priest to help him and a group nearby who will assist through prayer. The ritual does not specify the stance of the exorcist. Some stand, some sit. The ritual says only that, beginning with the words Ecce crucem Domini
('Behold the Cross of the Lord') the priest should touch the neck of the possessed one with the hem of his stole and hold his hand on his head. The demons will want to hide. Our task is to expose them, and then expel them. There are many ways to goad them into showing themselves. Although the ritual does not mention this, experience has taught us that using oil and holy water and salt can be very effective.

"Demons are wary of talking and must be forced to speak. When demons are voluntarily chatty it's a trick to distract the exorcist. We must never ask useless questions out of curiosity. We but must interrogate with care. We always begin by asking for the demon's name."

"And does he answer?" I ask. Father Amorth nods. "Yes, through the patient, but in a strange, unnatural voice. If it is the Devil himself, he says 'I am Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. We ask if he is alone or if there are others with him. Usually there are two or five, 20 or 30. We must quantify the number. We ask when and how they entered that particular body. We find out whether their presence is due to a spell and the specifics of that spell.

"During the exorcism the evil may emerge in slow stages or with sudden explosions. He does not want show himself. He will be angry and he is strong. During one exorcism I saw a child of 11 held down by four strong men. The child threw the men aside with ease. I was there when a boy of 10 lifted a huge, heavy table.

"Afterwards I felt the muscles in the boy's arms. He could not have done it on his own. He had the strength of the Devil inside him.

"No two cases are the same. Some patients have to be tied down on a bed. They spit. They vomit. At first the demon will try to demoralise the exorcist, then he will try to terrify him, saying, 'Tonight I'm going to put a serpent between your sheets. Tomorrow I'm going to eat your heart'."

I lean towards Father Amorth. "And are you sometimes frightened?" I ask. He looks incredulous. "Never. I have faith. I laugh at the demon and say to him, 'I've got the Madonna on my side. I am called Gabriel. Go fight the Archangel Gabriel if you will.' That usually shuts them up.

Now he leans towards me and taps my hand confidentially. "The secret is to find your demon's weak spot. Some demons cannot bear to have the Sign of the Cross traced with a stole on an aching part of the body; some cannot stand a puff of breath on the face; others resist with all their strength against blessing with holy water.

"Relief for the patient is always possible, but to completely rid a person of his demons can take many exorcisms over many years. For a demon to leave a body and go back to hell means to die forever and to lose any ability to molest people in the future. He expresses his desperation saying: 'I am dying, I am dying. You are killing me; you have won. All priests are murderers'."

How do people come to be possessed by demons in the first place? "I believe God sometimes singles out certain souls for a special test of spiritual endurance, but more often people lay themselves open to possession by dabbling with black magic. Some are entrapped by a satanic cult. Others are the victims of a curse."

I interrupt. "You mean like Yasser Arafat saying to Ehud Barak, 'Go to Hell' and meaning it?"

"No." Father Amorth gives me a withering look. "That is merely a sudden imprecation. It is very difficult to perform a curse. You need to be a priest of Satan to do it properly. Of course, just as you can hire a killer if you need one, you can hire a male witch to utter a curse on your behalf. Most witches are frauds, but I am afraid some authentic ones do exist."

Father Amorth shakes his head and sighs at the wickedness of the world. At the outset be has told me he is confident he will have an answer to all my questions, but he has a difficulty with the next one. "Why do many more women seem to become possessed than men?"

"Ah, that we do not know. They may be more vulnerable because, as a rule, more women than men are interested in the occult. Or it may be the Devil's way of getting at men, just as he got to Adam through Eve. What we do know is that the problem is getting worse. The Devil is gaining ground. We are living in an age when faith is diminishing. If you abandon God, the Devil will take his place.

"All faiths, all cultures, have exorcists, but only Christianity has the true force to exorcise through Christ's example and authority. We need many more exorcists, but the bishops won't appoint them. In many countries - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain there are no Catholic exorcists. It is a scandal. In England there are more Anglican exorcists than Catholic ones."

Although the post of exorcist is an official diocesan appointment (there are about 300 attached to the various bishops throughout Italy) and Father Amorth is undisputably the best known in his field, there is some tension between Amorth and the modernising tendencies in the Church hierarchy.

Devil-hunting is not fashionable in senior church circles. The Catholic establishment is happier talking about "the spirit of evil
" than evil spirits. The Vatican recently issued a new rite of exorcism which has not met with Father Amorth's approval. "They say we cannot perform an exorcism unless we know for certain that the Evil One is present. That is ridiculous. It is only through exorcism that the demons reveal themselves. An unnecessary exorcism never hurt anybody."

What does the Pope make of all this? "The Holy Father knows that the Devil is still alive and active in the world. He has performed exorcism. In 1982, he performed a solemn exorcism on a girl from Spoletto. She screamed and rolled on the floor. Those who saw it were very frightened. The Pope brought her temporary freedom.
"The other day, on September 6, at his weekly audience at St Peter's, a young woman from a village near Monza started to shriek as the Pope was about to bless her. She shouted obscenities at him in a strange voice. The Pope blessed her and brought her relief, but the Devil is still in her. She is exorcised each week in Milan and she is now coming to me once a month. It may take a long time to help her, but we must try. The work of the exorcists is to relieve suffering, to free souls from torment, to bring us closer to God."

Father Amorth has laughed and smiled a good deal during our three-hour discussion. He has pulled sundry rude faces to indicate his contempt for the pusillanimous bishops who have a monopoly on exorcism and refuse to license more practitioners. In his mouth it does not seem like mumbo-jumbo or hocus-pocus. He produces detailed case histories. He quotes scriptural chapter and verse to justify his actions. And he has a large following. His book, An Exorcist Tells his Story
, has been reprinted in Italy 17 times.

Given his shining faith and scholarly approach, I hardly dare ask him whether he has seen the notorious 1973 horror film, The Exorcist
. It turns out to be his favourite film. "Of course, the special effects are exaggerated. but it is a good film, and substantially exact, based on a respectable novel which mirrored a true story."

The film is held to be so disturbing it has never been shown [until recently] on British terrestrial television and until last year could not even be rented from video shops. None the less, Father Amorth recommends it. "People need to know what we do

And what about hallowe'en? The American tradition has made no inroads in Italy. "Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.''

It is time to go to the chapel where our photographer is waiting. Father Atnorth, used to the ways of the press, raises an eyebrow at us indulgently as he realises the photograph is designed to heighten the drama of his calling. Pictures taken, he potters off to find me of one ot his books.

"What do make of him?'' asks the photographer. "Is he mad?"

"I don't think so,'' I say. The award-winning Daily
and Sunday Telegraph Rome correspondent, who has acted as interpreter br the interview, and is both a lapsed Catholic and a hardened hack, is more empathic: "There's not a trace of the charlatan about him. He is quite sane and utterly convincing."

Surprised at myself I add: "He seems to me to be a power for good in the world." With a smirk, the photographer loads his gear into the back of the taxi. ''So he's Peter Cushing then, not Christopher Lee," he says.

Father Amorth reappears with his book and smiles. "Remember, when we jeer at the Devil and tell ourselves that he does not exist, that is when he is happiest

August 2001 | Gyles BrandrethThis interview first appeared in the 29th October 2000 issue of The Sunday Telegraph 

Thursday, 11 August 2011


The emerging church movement ECM refers to those churches and organizations that align themselves, whether formally or informally, with the vision and philosophy of an organization officially named Emergent.  The Emergent organization can be found online at  Emergent identifies itself as, "a growing, generative friendship among missional Christians seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ".  This organization was founded and is led by prominent spokesmen like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt and others.  “Emergent Village began as a group of friends who gathered under the auspices and generosity of Leadership Network in the late 1990s.
We began meeting because many of us were disillusioned and disenfranchised by the conventional ecclesial institutions of the late 20th century. The more we met, the more we discovered that we held many of the same dreams for our lives, and for how our lives intersected with our growing understandings of the Kingdom of God.”

Leadership Network was formed in 1984 to work with leaders of innovative churches to explore these questions to generate kingdom results.  “Believing that meaningful conversations and connections can change the world, Leadership Network seeks to help leaders of innovation navigate the future by exploring new ideas together to find application to their own unique contexts. Through collaborative meetings and processes these leader map future possibilities and challenge one another to action that leads to results.  Through our publications, books and on-line experiences we share the learnings and inspiration to others and surface new conversations worthy of exploration.”  

Leadership Network is a part of OneHundredX, a Dallas, Texas based 501c3 nonprofit that seeks to accelerate the impact of 100x leaders. Its current president and CEO is Tom Wilson.  

You can check their latest financial report HERE – fascinating reading !

The Organization's vision is that these leaders will be effective in the transformation of lives, communities and the world. This mission is achieved through a variety of events, publications, and various strategic alliances. 

OneHundredX has
1)    Leadership Network whose mission is to identify, connect and multiply the impact of innovative leaders primarily in the church. Leadership Network was co-founded by Bob Buford is a cable-TV pioneer, social entrepreneur, author, and venture philanthropist. He became founding chairman in 1988 of what was initially called The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management (now Leader to Leader Institute). In 1988, Dick Schubert, Frances Hesselbein and Bob Buford convinced Peter Drucker to lend his name, his great mind, and occasionally his presence to establish an operating foundation for the purpose of leading social sector organizations toward excellence in performance. Bob serves as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Governors. Through its conferences, publications and partnerships, The Drucker Foundation is helping social sector organizations focus on their mission, achieve true accountability, leverage innovation, and develop productive partnerships. “Started in 1984, Leadership Network serves as a resource broker that supplies information to and connects leaders of innovative churches. The emerging new paradigm of the 21st century church calls for the development of new tools and resources as well as the equipping of a new type of 21st century church leader, both clergy and laity. Leadership Network serves the leadership teams of large churches, as well as leaders in the areas of lay mobilization, denominational leadership at the middle and regional judicatory level and the next generation of emerging young leaders.”

2)    The Halftime Group - In 1998, Bob launched FaithWorks (name later changed to Halftime) to mobilize and equip high-capacity business/ professional leaders to convert their faith into action and effective results. The mission of Halftime is to inspire and equip business and professional leaders to embrace God's calling and move from success to significance. Halftime is taking on the challenge of joining two distinct cultures – those of the business/professional leaders and the nonprofit leaders – in partnerships at the local community level where the business/professional leader sees and touches the lives of the recipients the partnership services. 

3)    Cross Match with its vision “to fill this gap by matching proven and passionate executives and leaders—many of whom are sensing the call to service for the very first time—with the organizations who most need their expertise. The net result is a dramatic acceleration in the accomplishment of daring Kingdom objectives.”

Churches and organizations that would fall under the emergent label come from a diversity of Christian traditions.  Many of these churches have evangelical roots, but you will also find Catholic, Orthodox and Mainline protestant denominations allied with the Emergent group.  Accordingly, the theologies found within the emergent church are as diverse as the traditions that make it up.  This theological diversity is widely celebrated within the movement and is the primary reason behind the emergent church's disinterest in producing statements of faith, which are viewed as constricting and limiting to ongoing dialogue and theological imagination. 

Socially and politically, the emergent church is also a diverse group.  However, most commentators point out a greater propensity towards liberal interests and causes.  Emergent churches also tend to be predominantly white.  At the same time, while not necessarily a rule, emergent churches are often found in urban settings.  Emergent churches also place a high value on social activism and concern for the urban poor.

As for the style and methodology of the emergent churches, you will find a tremendous amount of diversity here.  Again, reflecting the diversity of traditions that make up Emergent's "generative friendship".  Some of these emergent churches will resemble settings like coffee houses or nightclubs, settings geared towards a multi-sensory worship experience.  But others will take the opposite approach, favoring a more contemplative or liturgical feel in their worship gatherings.  And some will blend both. 

For those in the UK here is the website leading the way for the emerging church movement ECM: emergingchurch

·         Brian McLaren
The person most commonly associated with the movement. Former English professor who is now a pastor, traveling speaker, and author of several books. Recognized as one of TIME magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America," he serves on the board of the social activist organization, Sojourners. His book, A New Kind of Christian
won an award of merit from Christianity Today in 2002. Another of his works, A Generous Orthodoxy, has achieved something akin to Scripture status in the Emerging Church movement.
·         Tony Jones
National Coordinator of Emergent, an organized network of cooperating emerging ministries. He is a doctoral fellow and senior research fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary whose books have been highly influential in the movement.
·         Dan Kimball
Author of several books, including The Emerging Church; Vintage Christianity for New Generations (a Christianity Today best book of 2004). He is the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California.
·         Rick Wareen
An American evangelical Christian minister and author. He is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch located in Lake Forest, California, currently the eighth-largest church in the United States (this ranking includes multi-site churches). He is also an author of many books, including his guide to church ministry and evangelism, The Purpose Driven Church, sold over 30 million copies.
·         Tony Campolo
is an American pastor, author, sociologist, and public speaker known for challenging evangelical Christians by illustrating how their faith can offer solutions in a world of complexity. With his liberal political and social attitudes, he has been a major proponent for progressive thought and reform in the evangelical community. He has become a leader of the movement called "Red-Letter Christian", which claims to put the emphasis on the words of Jesus that are often in red type in Bible editions.
·         Eddie Gibbs
Professor of church growth at the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Author of several books including Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures (which he coauthored with Ryan Bolger). His book Church Next: Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry
was a Christianity Today best book of 2001.
·         Erwin McManus
Author and speaker who is described on his website as "The lead pastor and Cultural Architect of
Mosaic in Los Angeles. Known around the world for its spiritual creativity and cosmopolitan diversity, Mosaic is a community of followers of Jesus Christ committed to live by faith, to be known by love, and to be a voice of hope. Since the early 90's, Erwin has led Mosaic in a pioneering enterprise whose primary focus is to serve the post-modern, post-Western, and post-Christian world.”
·         Leonard Sweet
Professor at Drew University whose writings are popular in the movement. He sometimes veers very close to New Age concepts in his writings.
·         Stanley Grenz
Now deceased, former professor of theology who co-authored the influential book, Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context
·         John Franke
Professor of theology at Biblical Seminary in Hartfield, PA. Co-author of Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context
·         Stanley Hauerwas
Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School. Named "America's Best Theologian" in 2001 by TIME magazine. Heavily influenced by postmodern philosophers, he has in turn had a profound effect on the Emerging Church movement.
Known to frequently use profanities in his speaking engagements.
·         Brad Kallenberg
Professor of Religious Studies at University of Dayton. His primary interest is in ethics.
·         Doug Pagitt
The pastor of Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis. Author of several books who is a recognized leader in the movement.
·         Nancy Murphy
Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her book, Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism
has influenced many emergent leaders.
·         Steve Chalke
British Baptist once known for his doctrinal orthodoxy who has embraced the movement, retreating from his former views. His book, The Lost Message of Jesus
created great controversy in the UK. In 2001, Steve laid the foundations of the Faithworks Movement and in 2003 became senior minister of Christ Church & Upton Chapel. Waterloo, as it is now known was first in the Oasis vision to develop a church network around the UK that aspire to be, open 24/7, global in impact and holistic to the local community. Oasis have recently opened Salford and Enfield
·         Dave Tomlison
Since it was published two years ago, Dave Tomlinson’s The Post-Evangelical has made a rare impact. It has handed the Christian press a long-running story; presented church traditionalists with a new target, and given the Greenbelt Festival a pocket-sized manual. More than this, though, it has prompted many evangelicals to re-think their faith in the light of postmodern culture.
·         LeRon Shults
Professor of theology at Bethel Seminary. Author of books such as The Postfoundationalist Task of Theology
·         Barry Taylor
Barry Taylor is a Brit who lives in Los Angeles, California where he does a number of things that, at first glance, don't seem very connected. He teaches theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he is the Artist-in-Residence for the Brehm Center. He also teaches advertising and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, topics that were part of his theological doctoral study programme. He also teaches on faith and culture, and helps shape alternative stuff at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. He has written a few books: A Matrix of Meaning with Craig Detweiler, A Heretic's Guide to Eternity, with Spencer Burke, as well as his latest, Entertainment Theology.
·         Chris Seay
Baptist pastor and author who is collaborating with Brian McLaren on The Voice project, a retelling of the Bible as a collection of stories, poems and songs.
·         Spencer Burke
Creator of, traveling speaker, and author of several books (Spencer Burke and Barry Taylor, A Heretics Guide to Eternity)
·         Rob Bell
Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, in Grandville, Michigan. Author of Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
·         Bill Dahl
Freelance writer, social activist, and speaker who frequently contributes articles to various publications and websites.
·         Donald Miller
Author of several popular books, including Blue Like Jazz
. His works have been highly coveted in the movement, and he is contributing to the Voice project.

To be continued ….

Friday, 5 August 2011

"So You Want To Be an Exorcist " BBC Radio 4

Liste on  BBC Radio 4
5 August, 2011

Exorcists report rising demand for their services. According to the president of the American Association of Exorcists, "I get thousands of emails from people concerned that they may have been demonically possessed". A church of England vicar, a former official Diocesan Exorcist, agrees that demonic activity in the UK is on the up: "The word that comes to me is almost despair".

Why do exorcists and their clients think that demonic possession is on the increase? Exorcists point to an alleged increase in interest in the occult, together with risky behavior such as practicing yoga, reading horoscopes, and an increase in new age forms of spiritualism. One Anglican bishop has said that clues to the presence of an evil spirit include "repeated choice of black, for example in clothing or colour of car".
It's a concern that goes across Christian denominations, from evangelical churches to the Roman Catholics. The chief exorcist of Rome has said: "you have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist." To meet the demand, various schools of exorcism have started. In Rome, a Catholic University runs a yearly course on exorcism. "For us it has been incredible," says Father Caesar Truqui, who runs the course. "We have had phone calls from all over the world from people wanting to attend".

The American Association of Exorcists runs a correspondence course, and one evangelical pastor based in Britain runs his own distance learning course using the internet. Most exorcists agree however, that there is no substitute for hands on mentoring with an experienced practitioner.

In this programme Jolyon Jenkins investigates this curious world, where witchcraft, levitations, ancestral curses, and demonic possession are matter-of-fact, everyday phenomena. He attends an exorcism in a hotel in Margate, and talks to practicing exorcists and those who are trying to train the next generation of practitioners.

Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

Yoga not for Catholics - misleading answer to the oldest hopes of man.

THE YOGA SHOW in LONDON is presented as Europe’s largest yoga event.
It says on its website: "The Yoga Show has experienced unprecedented growth in the last two years and now sees 15,000 attendees coming through the doors, everyone from curious first-timers looking to find a discipline that will suit them, to experienced yoga professionals trying to achieve the next level of spiritual enlightenment."  Yes, indeed, dont be fooled, we are talking here about the spiritual enlightment. 

How big is this YOGA phenomenon ?
The latest "Yoga in America" study, just released by Yoga Journal shows that Americans spend $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations and media (DVDs, videos, books and magazines). This figure represents an increase of 87 percent compared to the previous study in 2004—almost double of what was previously spent.
The 2008 study indicates that 6.9% of U.S. adults, or 15.8 million people, practice yoga. (In the previous study, that number was 16.5 million). Of current non-practitioners, nearly 8%, or 18.3 million Americans, say they are very or extremely interested in yoga, triple the number from the 2004 study. And 4.1% of non-practitioners, or about 9.4 million people, say they will definitely try yoga within the next year.

Yoga Journal claims that "Yoga is no longer simply a singular pursuit but a lifestyle choice and an established part of our health and cultural landscape," says Bill Harper, publisher of Yoga Journal. "People come to yoga and stick with it because they want to live healthier lives." One significant trend to emerge from the study is the use of yoga as medical therapy. According to the study, 6.1%, or nearly 14 million Americans, say that a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. In addition, nearly half (45%) of all adults agree that yoga would be a beneficial if they were undergoing treatment for a medical condition. "Yoga as medicine represents the next great yoga wave," says Kaitlin Quistgaard, editor in chief of Yoga Journal. "In the next few years, we will be seeing a lot more yoga in health care settings and more yoga recommended by the medical community as new research shows that yoga is a valuable therapeutic tool for many health conditions."

United Kingdom
Some findings suggest that there are just over 10,000 active yoga teachers in the UK, teaching between 20,000 and 30,000 yoga classes each week. Research suggests that teachers are offering an average of 2-3 classes per week and that the average number of students per class is around 15. This suggests that there are between 300,00 and 460,000 people currently practicing yoga in the UK. The British Wheel of Yoga – recognised by the Sports Councils as the national governing body for yoga in the UK - with more than three thousand teachers, the BWY provides nearly one third of yoga teaching in the UK. Its teachers provide around 9,000 classes a week, reaching an estimated 150,000 students.
How YOGA went from Eats to West ?
Swami Vivekananda
Chizuko Hunt in her fascinating work "Yoga Practice in 21st Century Britain: The Lived Experience of Yoga Practitioners" tells us how yoga came to West and became so popular:

Yoga was originally developed in ancient India, and the knowledge has been handed down by demonstration and word of mouth from teacher to pupil as tradition. After the British Empire colonized Southern Asia, yoga practice became known to a few westerners who had an academic interest in Indian history and philosophy (Worthington, 1982). Worthington (1982) explains that public interest in yoga was revived by Ramakrishna (1836-1886) whose message then was of the essential oneness of all religious traditions. Many of the yoga movements today follow this integrative teaching. His most well-known disciple was Vivekananda (1863-1902), and many westerners followed him by mainly spreading Hatha Yoga to the West.The Theosophical society was formed in 1875 in New York by Mme Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Henry Olcott. The society had been a catalyst in assisting the spread of yogic and Indian philosophical knowledge in the West (Stuckrad, 2005; Heelas, 1996:Faivre, 2000). The society translated and published many yogic texts, and there wereattempts to modernise yoga in India. Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950) passed on his knowledge of Jnana Yoga. Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950) advocated an Integral Yoga in which he tried to combine the fragmented methods of specialized yoga practices into a holistic lifestyle. Sivananda (1887-1963) spread the moderate Hatha Yoga practice worldwide, and taught in his ashram in Rishikesh many teachers who have proved successful and reliable guides (Strauss, 2005). In this moderate Hatha Yoga way, yoga has gained grass-roots popularity in the West and other Asian countries (De Michelis, 2004). In those days, the people who wanted to study yoga met difficulties of finding a guru. They were prepared to learn the Indian and/or Tibetan language and Sanskrit to read the scriptures, and spend years practicing yoga in order to gain spiritual satisfaction. There were also a number of Indian gurus who travelled to the West to spread their teachings. One of the famous yogi was Swami Vivekananda who gave a talk on yoga at the Chicago World Religious Convention in 1893.

He made such a huge impression on the audience that William James writes,
“In India, training in mystical insight has been known from time immemorial under the name of Yoga. Yoga means experimental union of the individual with the divine. It is based on persevering exercise; and the diet, posture, breathing, intellectual concentration, and moral discipline vary slightly in the different systems which teach it. The Yogi, or disciple, who has by these means overcome the obscurations of his lower nature sufficiently, enters into the condition termed Samadhi, “and comes face to face with facts which no instinct or reason can ever know.” …When a man comes out of Samadhi, they assure us that he remains “enlightened, a sage, a prophet, a saint, his whole character changed, his life changed, illuminated.” (James, 1902, p. 400)

Vivekananda visited many towns in the USA and founded the Vedanta society. He visited Britain and gave many talks (De Michelis, 2004; Worthington, 1996). Around the turn of the century, some westerners were opening their eyes to yoga. C. G. Jung was also fascinated by the East and its cultures. He travelled in India, and was influenced deeply; for instance, he drew Mandala (pictures of Buddha) in later years. In the West during the 1930s and 40s, there was a growing interest in India and yoga, that saw a torrent of books published, for example Alexandra David-Neel on Tibet and Theos Bernard on Hatha Yoga. Among them, Paul Brunton was very popular, and his book “A Search in Secret India” (1947) sold well. In particular, and importantly for my study, M. Eliade published his scholarly and influential book “Yoga: Immortality and Freedom” in 1954. It was translated into English later (1969). He studied Sanskrit in Calcutta for three years and yoga in an ashram for six months (1928-31), then completed a doctoral thesis, which was published later and formed the basis for the above book. His books are still well-quoted in any serious studies on the subject of yoga (Feuerstein, 1989; Wicher, 1998; Burley, 2007; Stuckrad, 2005; De Michelis, 2004). According to Worthington (1982), the first yoga school was set up in Britain (in Epping) in 1949 by Sir Paul Dukes, an eminent ex-India civil servant. He also wrote a popular yoga book (1960). Yoga then had ‘cult’ status for the people who sought it out, who had been a member of the elite class in Western society but who were disillusioned and wanted to find ‘an alternative style of life’ or ‘deeper meaning in life’. Newcombe (2008) traces the way the British Wheel of Yoga was established in 1965. In the 1970s, hundreds of yoga classes started throughout Britain on the back of Local Adult Education classes (Newcombe, 2008), but there were many private classes too. Richard Hittlemen ran a popular colour TV series in 1973, which was watched by millions of people. Hittleman also wrote popular yoga books (1969; 1966) which helped to spread yoga further. With many yoga gurus establishing branches in the major Western cities, yoga became accessible to most ordinary people. During the summer months, Indian gurus regularly visit North America, Britain, Europe and Australia, and Western students in return often visit their guru’s ashrams in winter. Those well-known gurus often have world-wide networks of teaching centres, teachers and followers in addition to well-devised teacher training and teaching programs (Strauss, 2004). As more western teachers qualified to teach, an increasing number of venues ran yoga classes. Yoga continued to spread, mainly among the middle classes (De Michelis, 2004; Newcombe, 2007)).

In 1971, the European Union of National Federations of Yoga was established in Switzerland (UEFNY)  (Worthington, 1982).  Seminars and retreats started being organized more widely. Since then, national bodies have been affiliated from all countries in Western Europe, and some from the eastern bloc. A `Minimum Programme’ was drawn up to provide a minimum statement of principles, so that all member countries could build their teacher training programmes on a similar standard, which is based on Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga (Worthington, 1982). In this way, Western yoga has been standardized and quality-controlled within the western cultural milieu. "

Catholic Church has warned Christians against resorting to New Age therapies to satisfy their spiritual needs.
The Vatican 62 page document called “ Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age.” It lists yoga as one of the traditions that flows into the New Age. (See #2.1) The document also states, “Yoga, Zen, TM and tantric exercises lead to an experience of self fulfillment or enlightment” according to New Agers. It adds that they believe that “anything which can provoke an altered state of consciousness are believed to lead to unity and enlightment” (# The document goes on to say , “It is therefore necessary to accurately identify those elements which belong to the New Age Movement, and which cannot be accepted by those who are faithful to Christ and his Church.” (#4)  
Fr. Amorth, who is the Vatican exorcist, says “Yoga, Zen, and TM are unacceptable to Christians. Often these apparently innocent practices can bring about hallucinations and schizophrenic conditions.”
Publishing the results of a six-year study of practices such as yoga, feng shui and shamanism, the Vatican said that whatever the individual merits of such therapies, none provided a true answer to the human thirst for happiness.
The new report

New Age is a misleading answer to the oldest hopes of man

Cardinal Paul Poupard
If "prayer turns into just listening to music and falling asleep, it's no longer prayer," Church official Monsignor Michael Fitzgerald told a news conference at the Vatican to launch A Christian Reflection on the New Age. The report says there is a "genuine yearning for a deeper spirituality, for something which will touch their hearts and for a way of making sense of a confusing and often alienating world". Many people, the report acknowledges, have rejected organised religion because they feel it fails to answer their needs. "I want to say simply that the New Age presents itself as a false utopia in answer to the profound thirst for happiness in the human heart," Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said at the news conference. "New Age is a misleading answer to the oldest hopes of man." 


 1) Meditation - the path to deception

2) Former Kundalini Yoga Teacher Turns to Christianity