When writing of contemplative practices, terms can get to be confusing quickly. Contemplative in the Spiritual Formation and Emergent Church Movement does not mean what it used to mean. And this breeds much confusion.
I Corinthians 14:33 says “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
So we are putting up a page of definitions for terms we use often here at the Shoe. If ever there is a time you are confused about what we mean or are referring to, you can look for this page under the “Resources” tab at the top of the website. I will also try to remember to link those words in the post directly to this definition page.
This will be a reference for definitions of terms we use often on this blog, especially in our apologetics and inspirational posts. Hopefully it will help clear up any misconceptions.
*Many of these definitions have been taken from Lighthouse Trails Research and Ray Yungen’s book, “A Time of Departing”. Permission has been obtained from Lighthouse Trails (Yungen’s Publisher) to post these definitions here.*
Altered State of Consciousness – A meditative or drug induced non-ordinary state of mind. (A Time of Departing, p.202)
Biblical Meditation or Contemplation – A normal thinking process of reflecting on the things of God and biblical precepts. (A Time of Departing, p. 202) This is the Biblical way to study, meditate or contemplate on God and His Word. It requires an active use of the mind, not an emptying of it.
Centering/Centering Prayer – Another term for contemplative meditation (going deep within your center). A type of meditation being promoted in many mainline churches under the guise of prayer. (A Time of Departing, p. 202)
Christ Consciousness – Taught by New Agers to be the state of awareness, reached in meditation, in which one realizes that one is divine and one with God and thereby becoming a Christ or an enlightened being. (A Time of Departing, p. 202)
Contemplative Prayer – A mystical prayer practice that leads one into the “silence” but in actuality leads away from God. The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an Altered State Of Consciousness in order to find one’s True Self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.
Contemplative Spirituality – a belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).
Creative Visualization – Imagining in the mind, during meditation, what you want to occur and then expecting it to happen. In simple terms, you are creating your own reality. (A Time of Departing, p. 203)
Desert Fathers – Monks who lived as hermits beginning around the third century who first taught the practice of contemplative prayer. (A Time of Departing, p. 203)
Emerging/Emergent Church Movement – The emerging / emergent church movement falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking—it is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward, feelings over truth. These are reactions to modernism and are thought to be necessary in order to actively engage contemporary culture. (Got Questions)
Interspirituality – The view that all the world’s religions are identical at the mystical level and therefore there should be solidarity among them. (A Time of Departing, p. 203)
Lectio Divina – Means sacred reading. In today’s contemplative movement, it often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over again. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
Mantra – Word or words repeated either silently or verbally to induce an altered state of consciousness. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
Meditation – Meditation is practiced by all major world religions and is often described as an essential discipline for spiritual growth. Yet, like mysticism, there is a great diversity in the practice of meditation. While some see meditation as simply spending time thinking quietly about life or about God, others use meditation techniques to experience altered states of consciousness that allows them to have esoteric experiences. In addition, meditation is promoted in secular society for the personal benefits of health, relaxation, and improved productivity. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
Metaphysical – Beyond the physical realm or pertaining to the supernatural. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
Mysticism – A direct experience of the supernatural realm. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
New Age – The Age of Aquarius, supposedly the Golden Age, when man becomes aware of his power and divinity. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
New Thought – A movement that tries to merge classic occult concepts with Christian terminology. (A Time of Departing, p. 204)
Pantheism – God is all things. The universe and all life are connected in a sum. This sum is the total reality of God. Thus, man, animals, plants, and all physical matter are seen as equal. The assumption – all is one, therefore all is deity. (A Time of Departing, p. 205)
Panentheism – God is in all things. In panentheism God is both personal and is also in all of creation. It is a universal view that believes God is in all people and that someday all of God’s creation will be saved and be one with Him. (A Time of Departing, p. 205)
Spiritual Formation – The teaching and application of the spiritual disciplines. (A Time of Departing, p. 205)
The Silence – Absence of normal thought. (A Time of Departing, p. 205)
Universalism – The belief that all humanity has or will ultimately have a positive connection and relationship with God. (A Time of Departing, p. 205)