They would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them.

And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17 And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 17:14-17)

O, But It’ll Be Different This Time When People Who Claim To Be Of God Disobey Him

A large part of this online apologetics and discernment work of Apprising Ministries is cover foolish trends developing within rapidly apostatizing mainstream evanjellyfish as it continues its lust for acceptance by unregenerate mankind and his world system ruled by i.e. Satan. Yes, I know, that’s so yesterday and apparently embarrassing  to those so seduced by the man-centered semi-pelagian (at best) Church Growth Movement, which is far more deeply rooted within largely pretending to be Protestant evangelicalism than you may even realize right now.

The picure at the top of this article was sent to me by my friend Joel of the 5 Pt. Salt blog, a fellow SBC pastor and part of the international Reformata Network, as is AM. He tells me that he lives just miles away from this particular church and also the area “is filled with this kind of garbage now and its getting worse.” The church in question is Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren (GSCoB), which is itself affiliated with the Church of the Brethren (CoB), and part of its Virlina District:

(Online source)

The CoB Network website tells us its:

a membership driven, unofficial web site of the Church of the Brethren, a Protestant denomination with churches in most states and a few other countries. COB-NET is the first national Brethren web site… Here is the place to learn about all Brethren Groups which trace themselves to the original founding body that organized at Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. (Online source)

Since the subject of this piece is GSCoB and not the CoB itself I’ll simply point you to the denominational website Church of the Brethren and its Welcome Center for more specific information. Here I’ll just tell you, as you can see above, the CoB consider themselves “a Protestant denomination” and it “traces its roots” back “to 1708″; and further, CoB also sees itself as descending from the “religious dissenters” who “found refuge in the town of Schwarzenau, Germany.” In addition, we’re told that among these particular people “was Alexander Mack, a miller who had been influenced by both Pietism and Anabaptism.”[1]

Joel tells me that GSCoB is at “the only entrance into the most populated area of Blacksburg as far as Virginia Tech students go.” You can also see below that they are indeed targeting this VT community with their VT Football Parking program, which is not wrong, in and of itself:

(Online source)

However, being a former high school head football coach myself, and with both of us having been given a heart for young people, we become quite concerned as pastors when we see what follows:

(Online source)

You may know that the way “to find inner peace” being advertised above as “Guided meditation” is the practice of meditation in an altered state of consciousness known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), which is itself a form of transcendental meditation lightly sprayed with Christian terminology. Joel also let me know that being just, “minutes from Virginia Tech,”[2] Foxridge Apartments Homes houses more VT students than you may know. In fact, these students quite literally have to drive right past GSCoB—and its monkey mind meditation sign—to get to downtown, and to go to class at VT.

One can wonder, how can e.g. a 19 year old who’s growing up in spiritual vacuum possibly resist this invitation as GSCoB goes ape…almost with it’s merry Monkeymind Meditation Group. I mean, just imagine; we’re told we can find inner peace with no mention of any repentance from sin, none of that icky doctrine, no messy creeds, or even having to do that church thing; whoa dude! Now I’ve already warned you that evanjellyfish is only just beginning to pay a heavy price for its foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenial Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—which has grown into a full-blown neo-liberal cult operating within its walls.

This is because what we’re now dealing with is an upgraded Emerging Church 2.0 complete with its new version of Progressive Christian theology that they’re referring to as “big tent” Emergence Christianity; and it’s not as if they’re even hiding it because this Liberalism 2.0 is the theology EC guru Brian McLaren has begun to lay out in his latest book A New Kind of Christianity. Sadly, for a good fifteen years now evangelical churches have used their Young Adult and Youth ministries as spiritual guinea pigs in “alternative” worship services using the warped and toxic teachings of EC leaders to feed them.

Mystics like rock star Emerging Church pastor Rob Bell and his good friend, heretical quasi-universalist Emerging Church pastor Doug Pagitt who heads the Emergent Solomon’s Porch where the equally heretical Tony Jones happens to be his “theologian in residence,” are among those who’ve long been teaching counterfeit forms of Christianity to young mainstream evangelicals; and a key core doctrine for these snakes—designed to blow up Sola Scriptura—is corrupt Counter Reformation Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which incontrovertibly flowered within long apostate Roman Catholicism.

Seriously, if you actually want to understand how the church visible has become so murky and muddied then it’s also important for you to realize that the EC was a Trojan Horse from which enemy forces unloaded this spurious CSM ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, perpetrated within the mainstream of evangelicalism as supposed Spiritual Formation with an able assist from his spiritual twin SBC minister Dallas Willard. The truth is this current evangelical fad of CSM has always been aimed at one of the primary demographics which make up the Virgina Tech community.

Now Evangelicalism Is Turning To Pagan Religions To Learn About Christian Spirituality

This is the proper background for me to shed more light upon what the allegedly “Protestant” Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren (GSCoB) is up to with their myth-based Monkeymind Meditation Group. The GSCoB Our Staff page gives us our first clue that we’re not dealing with anything remotely resembling a sound Christian church, headed as it is by pastor/attourney Harry Rhodes and his pastrix wife Becky who tells us:

we had no immediate plans to pastor a church. Ever since Becky first spent a week in the community at Taize, France, she has been discerning God’s call to her life.
(Online source, emphasis mine)

It’s well known that, “The Taizé community is an ecumenical monastic order with a strong devotion to peace and justice through prayer and meditation.”[3] Now you might be wondering: “What in the world is meant by the term ‘monkey mind,’ and what does this have in common with that Taizé community?” I’m glad you asked; you see, “the monkey mind” terminology has to do with the transcendental (i.e. transformational) meditation practiced at Taizé, which is called contemplative or centering prayer—the terms being synonymous for what mystics of all stripes refer to as “wordless prayer,” aka “the silence.”

To tell you more about the “monkey mind” I’ll now bring in the testimony of a couple of expert witnesses who both personally practice this CCP form of transcendental meditation which I mentioned above. First we have “The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D” whom The Contemplative Society informs us is an:

Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader [who] divides her time between solitude on Eagle Island, Maine, and a demanding schedule traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative path. She is the founding Director of both The Contemplative Society and the Aspen Wisdom School. (Online source)

Her name is already familiar to those of us tracking the traitorous teachings of EC guru Brian McLaren as in his post 11 Women Writers You Should Be Reading McLaren mused:

Here are some of my favorite women writers of spirituality and theology in no particular order with short comments on why I recommend them… 5. Cynthia Bourgeault: Cynthia reminds me of Thomas Merton — she is a mystic with a brilliant mind who deserves far wider readership. (Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening)… (Online source, bold his)

From my personal copy of Bourgeault’s book cited above, following is what this “mystic with a brilliant mind,” who “reminds” McLaren of the CSM Golden Buddha Thomas Merton, and whom the EC guru feels “deserves a far wider readship,” has to tell us concerning the alleged “awakening” mystics seek in silent meditation and the effect of the so-called “monkey mind” upon it:

But why is intentional silence so important to this process of awakening?… I had read somewhere that without spiritual training the human mind is unable to concentrate on anything for more than two minutes…

The Buddhists smilingly call this “monkey mind.” The little beast jumps from one tree limb to the other, taking the whole of it with us. [4]

And our second expert witness is Shane Hipps, the new co-teaching pastor now along with his good friend Rob Bell at Mars Hill Bible Church; the below is from his sermon Enlightenment, which is all about the supposed “spiritual discipline of silence.” MHBC pastor Hipps surmises:

Silent prayer is when you go to a silent place and then you quiet the mind; and you don’t say anything to God…you just “be.” Now, if any of you have ever tried this, you know it’s totally maddening (laughs) to try to just stop thinking, right?

And because we all know that’s pretty much impossible because the mind is like a frantic monkey bouncing around on the inside of your brain…[5]

If there’s any question of the origin of this monkey mind myth, let me refer you to The Monkey Mind entry in the online A Guide to Buddhism A to Z where we find out:

The monkey mind (kapicitta) is a term sometimes used by the Buddha to describe the agitated, easily distracted and incessantly moving behaviour of ordinary human consciousness (Ja.III,148; V,445). Once he observed: ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night’ (S.II,93). (Online source)

Which now begs the question: Why are Christians, who ostensibly have a personal relationship with God in Christ, now having to turn to Buddhists, who may or may not even believe there is a God, in order to learn about Christian spirituality? In closing this, for now, I’ll tell you the answer is very short and simple: So-called silent meditation in an altered state of consciousness, which has become known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer, was never part of the historic, orthodox, Christian faith to begin with. 

Now a mindful phrase to contemplate: Have nothing to do with this specious spiritual monkey business. 


[1], accessed 8/15/10.
[2], accessed 8/15/10.
[3], accessed 8/15/10.
[4] Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening [Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 2004 ], 10, 11.
[5] From transcript within my post Shane Hipps Exposed II.

See also: