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Spiritual Awakening?

Episode #347 | Added April 6, 2008

Today on Context with Lorna Dueck – are we experiencing a spiritual awakening or being stifled by counterfeits?
They’re monopolizing the bestseller lists and providing a continuous baptism of content into the minds of North Americans – the writings of modern-day spiritual gurus are in heavy demand. Eckart Tolle’s A New Earth, Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, Deepak Chopra’s The Third Jesus, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, all promise a form of modern-day enlightenment. Are the best sellers paving the way for our spiritual journeys or will they fade into the ethereal past? Today we will examine the draw to 'spiritual awakening'.

Lorna's Wrap

Resources

Guests

Dr. Linda Christensen
Dr. Christensen is a full-time faculty member at Douglas College in the Dept.of Philosophy and Humanities and is a part-time lecturer at UBC. She teaches in the area of Comparative Religion, i.e., courses on the world religions, West and East, and on New Religions. Her doctoral work was on the New Age Movement.

Bruxy Cavey
www.theendofreligion.org
www.themeetinghouse.ca

Bruxy is the Teaching Pastor of The Meeting House—“a church for people who aren’t into church.” This multi-site community in the Greater Toronto Area shares the same teaching and vision: to create safe places for spiritual seekers to ask questions and develop thoughtful faith. Bruxy’s accessible style, historical rigor, and refreshing candor make him a popular guest on television and radio programs and at universities across Canada.

Excerpt from The End of Religion
To purchase a copy of the book The End of Religion you can click here:

Jennifer Beale
www.unleashpr.com

Jennifer owns a business as mission publicity firm, Unleash PR, and glorifies God by sharing her spiritual gifts and talents with experts so they make a major positive impact in the world. A prodigal daughter, she ran away from her Christian faith at age 15, recommitting after a tragic event and years of wrestling with life’s issues. She has responded to her calling and is studying to become a missionary, with a passion for entrepreneurship as a means to alleviate poverty. She founded the Business with Purpose Network so Christian business owners can connect and support one another in achieving their mission.

Les Galicinski
Les has served as an Elder in several churches and has taught adult Bible classes and courses. In 1996, God called him to seminary at Tyndale University, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. In 2004, Les joined the staff of Harvest Bible Chapel as Pastor of Spiritual Formation, responsible for adult ministries. Currently, Les is also working on a Th.M. research degree in theology at Tyndale and is Teaching Director at Veritas Bible Institute in Barrie.

Generic Spirituality vs. Biblical Faith
Excerpt from Chapter Two from The End of Religion: Religion, Spirituality, & Faith


I am one of the growing number of people whose lives have been touched by the irreligious spirituality of the Rabbi from Nazareth. At the same time, I am deeply saddened and sometimes angry at the variety of ways his teaching and example have been codified, conceptualized, and institutionalized by a religion that bears his name but all too often misses his message.

I am convinced that, rightly understood and fully embraced, the message of Jesus can transform our lives in a way no religion ever could. So, when someone says to me, “I’m spiritual but not religious,” I imagine Jesus sighing with relief.

At the same time, becoming a spiritual person, or person of faith, should never be an end in itself. Our goal should not be to simply “have faith” or “be spiritual” as though these ideals are worth pursuing in and of themselves. Faith and spirituality are connecting concepts—they describe the connection we can have with something or someone beyond and within ourselves. Our world is full of people who say “I’m a spiritual person” as though spirituality is their goal, that thing they have been looking for all their lives. They are like people who describe themselves as “romantic” on Internet dating sites, but who never have anyone in their lives to be romantic with. Their “romance” is just a hollow ideal without a relationship within which to express it. Just because we cry when watching movies or reading novels doesn’t mean we are romantic; it means we’re sentimental. And just because we don’t like religion, doesn’t mean we are spiritual. The question is, Who are you spiritual with?

Faith, likewise, is about two people engaging in a trust-based relationship. Faith functions in a human life like a window functions in a home. A window is not something you hang on a wall to be looked at like a picture, but a space to be looked through at the beauty outside. A window is not beautiful in itself, and staring at one without looking through it misses the point. Likewise, faith in and of itself is never the end goal. I don’t think of myself as “a person of faith” but as a follower of Christ—and that act takes faith.
Abraham Joshua Heschel reflects this sentiment when he writes, The issue of prayer is not prayer;
the issue of prayer is God.
Faith, like prayer, should be a way of connecting with God. I have talked with many spiritually seeking people who are struggling to find satisfaction because they are using the window of faith more like a mirror. They have caught sight of their own reflection in the window glass and have forgotten to adjust their depth of focus, to look beyond themselves to see the beauty that surrounds them—the beauty that is God. Today there are many books, seminars, and courses available that will only encourage this tendency to use the window of spirituality more like a mirror, and many of them are very popular. After all, aren’t we our own favorite subjects? But faith is too precious to be cheapened by narcissism.
So if you consider yourself a spiritual person, let me offer one word of advice early in this book. Use the window of faith to look beyond yourself. Adjust your depth of focus. Look through the window. Other devices besides spirituality can function as better mirrors, if that is what you are looking for. But if you are reading this book, I trust that you are searching for something more than a mere reflection. Hey, you look good. Your hair is fine, and there is nothing caught in your teeth. Now let’s stop staring at ourselves and look through the window to see what is out there.

Context

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