Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20, NASB)

Would A Christian Go To A Pagan In Order To Learn How To Pray To God?

As Apprising Ministries previously brought out in Who Is John Main? in his book The Sacred Way  (SW) Tony Jones, Emerging Church anti-theologian and National Coordinator for Emergent Village (EV), recommends Moment of Christ: The Path of Meditation (MoC) by John Main under the category of “meditation” in his suggested “Resources.” And Jones confirm for us that, “Main combined Christian teaching with Hindu meditation to form a mantra-meditation” (215, emphasis mine). Jones also tells is in SW:

At the end of the 20th century, Benedictine monk John Main pioneered a Christian form of meditation that was influenced by his study with a Hindu master. He taught a form of meditation using the word maranatha (Aramaic for “Come, Lord”) as a mantra. Sitting cross-legged, the meditator chants (either aloud or silently) “ma-ra-na-tha” for 20 minutes daily. The teachings of Brother Main and others became so popular that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter to all Catholic bishops in 1989, entitled “Some Aspects of Christian Meditation” to guide the bishops in their leadership of churches that were using meditation (80)

I previously pointed out that John Main (1926-1982), who is another mystic monk ala Thomas Merton, is one of the “classic” writers featured in a book called Spiritual Classics (SC), which is edited by no less an authority than Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker Guru of Contemplation Richard Foster along with Roman Catholic Emilie Griffin. Main’s “spiritual classic” in SC is actually a section on “The Meaning of Silence” i.e. meditation from his book MoC—just recommended above by Tony Jones. In the introduction we’re told that:

Dom John Main understood well the value of both silence and solitude… Always drawn to religion and the spiritual life, Main rediscovered meditation while living in the Far East… Influenced by the fifth-century writings of John Cassian, Main learned the ancient Christian discipline of the prayer of silence… In the following selection, an essay taken from his book Moments of Christ: The Path of Meditation, Father John is not just teaching us a style of praying… Silence is a path into the reality of the universe, where God is in charge and we are not,… (155, emphasis mine)

Well now, let’s allow John Main to explain for himself just where it is he received his “enlightenment” concerning this “ancient Christian discipline of the prayer of silence” which so excites Roshi Richard Foster. The following comes from my copy of Christian Meditation:The Gethsemani Talks, which is the text of conferences “first given at the Abbey of Gethsemani” and according to the back cover “have since proved an excellent introduction to the way of meditation in the Christian tradition.” Below “Main begins by describing his own spiritual journey into this way”:

My dearest brothers in St. Benedict… I was introduced to meditation long before I became a monk,… My teacher was an Indian swami… I was deeply impressed by his peacefulness and calm wisdom…we fell into conversation. He then asked me if I was a religious man. I told him I was a Catholic. He asked me if I meditated. I told him I tried to and, at his bidding, described briefly what we have come to know as the Ignatian method of meditation. He was silent for a short time and then gently remarked that his own tradition of meditation was quite different.

For the Swami, the aim of meditation was the coming to awareness of the Spirit of the Universe who dwells in our hearts and he recited these verses from the Upanishads: “He contains all things, all works and desires and all perfume and tastes. And he enfolds the whole universe and, in silence, is loving to all. This is the Spirit that is in my heart. This is Brahman.” The swami read this passage with such devotion and such meaning I asked him if he would accept me as a pupil to teach me how to meditate in his way… I began to visit the holy man regularly and this is what he told me on my first visit.

He said: “To meditate you must become silent. You must be still and you must concentrate. In our tradition we know only one way in which you can arrive at that stillness, that concentration. We use a word that we call a mantra. To meditate, what you must do is to choose this word and then repeat it, faithfully, lovingly, and continually. That is all there is to meditation. I really have nothing else to tell you. And now we will meditate.” And so, every week for about 18 months, I went out to this holy man of God, sat down beside him and meditated with for half an hour…

If you are serious and if you want to root this mantra in your heart then this is the minimum undertaking…that you mediate first thing in the morning for half an hour and sometime in the evening for half an hour. And during the time of your meditation there must be in your mind no thoughts, no words, no imaginations. The sole sound will be the sound of your mantra, your word. The mantra…is like a harmonic…within ourselves as we begin to build up a resonance…[which] leads us forward to our own wholeness… We begin to experience the deep unity we all possess in our own being.

And then the harmonic begins to build up a resonance between you and all creatures and all creation and a unity between you and your Creator.” I would often ask the swami: “How long will this take? How long will it take me to achieve enlightenment?” But the swami would either ignore my crassness or else would reply with the words that really sum up his teaching and wisdom: “Say your mantra.” In all those eighteen months this was the essential core of everything he had to say: “Say your mantra.” On my return to Eurpoe to teach Law at Trinity College, Dublin,… I found no one who really knew about meditation as I now understand it. I first tried to raise the subject with priest-friends but to my surprise my enquiries were mostly received with great suspicion and sometimes even hostility. (11, 12, 13, italics his)

Which begs a couple of questions: 1) Just how far from the Truth would you have to be if you’re even too apostate for apostates? And 2) why in the world would we want to get our spiritual advice from Tony Jones and Richard Foster if they can’t see that we have just read is not the testimony of a genuine Christian?