Fraternity Over Orthodoxy

After I spoke at a church this past weekend, I was asked, “How is it that so many celebrity preachers, celebrity Christian authors, and celebrity pastors take the stage with known (and popular) false teachers?” There are, of course, many possible reasons. It could be they seek to maintain or add to their own personal popularity. It may boost their ego to speak to large crowds of 25-50,000, or it may boost their personal wealth … Continue reading

Thomas Merton: The Contemplative Dark Thread

(Originally printed in the Fall 2006 Issue of the MCOI Journal page 8) Twenty-some years ago, my sister Janet and I signed up for a field trip sponsored by the Crystal Cathedral to a Vedanta monastery in the nearby Saddleback Mountains. At that time, we were working together on a discernment newsletter called The New Age Alert and attended as part of our research. The field trip was being promoted as an educational adventure to … Continue reading

Angelic Communications

We find angelic communications to humans quite a number of places in Scripture. An angel appeared to Zechariah with the news that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son (Luke 1:13). Mary, a young Jewish virgin, who was engaged to be married, had a similar encounter and was told she would have a son conceived by God (Luke 1:26-38). And, while her husband-to-be Joseph was deciding the kindest way to call off his … Continue reading

The Cardboard Christ

  Have you ever noticed how many people believe in a one-dimensional “cardboard Christ”? We may not think about it in those terms, but it surfaces in various ways. At this time of year, the babe in the manger is certainly the predominant Christ. Everyone likes sweet, cuddly babies with their cute cherub faces. Unfortunately, that is all many acknowledge about Jesus – that He was born in a manger 2,000 years ago – and … Continue reading

The World Will Live as One

The late John Lennon wistfully imagined a world of peace, safety and harmony – a time when “the world will live as one.” His very popular song, Imagine, was released in October 1971. All the world would need to do to reach utopia is to abandon their current wrong-headed “fuddy duddy” religious beliefs and join him, embracing the religious beliefs that he outlines in his song. The song is basically a statement of faith. Imagine … Continue reading

The Challenge of Communication: Defining Terms

I often have to think about the challenge of communication, not only in our articles or public teaching but also in my day-to-day interaction with others. Sometimes when talking with someone, I get the distinct feeling that, although we may be using the same language, we somehow are not tracking together. Later, I may realize that the communication was not clear because we had different definitions, which had been assumed and not clarified. For example, … Continue reading