Spirit in the Sky

On the way back from speaking at Wheatland Congregational Church in Wheatland, Michigan, the 1969 Norman Greenbaum song, “Spirit in the Sky,” kept popping into my head. As it happens, my friend Fred Slagle (who is the pastor of Wheatland) and I have similar personalities and share some common experiences. We are both part of the cry-baby boomer generation; we were not believers until we were married adults with children; and we both loved  … Continue reading

Combatting Christian Occultism Part 2

(Originally printed in the Summer 2005 Issue of the MCOI Journal Beginning on page 6) Part 2 in a 2-Part Look at Occultic-like Beliefs and Practices in the Church By John Ferrer Introduction In the last Journal article “Occultism in the Church” (Part-1),1 we surveyed what the occult is: how it represents a certain world view geared toward secret knowledge or power and being typically characterized by certain categories of practice. These practices include fortune … Continue reading

Contemplating Contemplative Prayer: Is It Really Prayer?

(Originally printed in the Winter 2005 Issue of the MCOI Journal beginning on page 10) “God’s first language is silence.”1 “Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence.”2 “The important thing is that we are relaxed and our back is straight so that the vitalizing energies can flow freely.”3 Contemplation is “a pure and a virginal knowledge, poor in concepts, poorer still in reasoning, but able, by its very poverty and purity, to follow … Continue reading

Spiritual Disciplines and the Appearance of Wisdom

Writing to the Colossians in the First Century, the Apostle Paul warned about certain spiritual disciplines that had “the appearance of wisdom” (Colossians. 2:23) but, in fact, conflicted with sound biblical teaching and were very harmful to the Christian life. False teachers were in this case Gnostics, who crept into the church and claimed special “spiritual knowledge.” They gained influence in the church because what they were teaching felt “right” and “good” and oh so … Continue reading

Worldview Boutique

(Originally printed in the Winter/Spring 2016 Issue of the MCOI Journal ) Though I no longer consider myself a Christian, I’m still keeping a space for God in my heart. I didn’t lose my religion. Instead, I’m creating my own. I don’t believe that we humans can live and function happily without any belief or faith in something outside of the physical world we live in. 1 These words from Keay Nigel near the end … Continue reading