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Nazarene General Assembly Welcomes Contemplative Spirituality

Posted by nazarenepsalm113 on March 17, 2009

Great new article from my brother and sisters in the Lord at Lighthouse Trails-

Nazarene General Assembly Welcomes Contemplative Spirituality–Nazarene Pastors WorldWide Invited 


Category: * Contemplative 
Source:  Editors at Lighthouse Trails 

Contemplative spirituality has been coming into the Nazarene denomination for some time through their seminaries and universities. But this summer, the mystical-based spirituality will be taking a giant step into the Nazarene Church at large. The Nazarene Theological Seminary will be presenting a contemplative retreat to pastors and leaders from around the world who will be attending the 2009 General Assembly & Conventions in June. 

The conference, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, is open to pastors, leaders, and lay people within the Nazarene Church. A staff member in the Nazarene General Assembly conference office told Lighthouse Trails on March 16th that they are expecting from 15,000 to 25,000 attendees from around the world, some of whom will be non-Nazarenes as all are welcome.

The General Assembly Spiritual Formation Retreat will be held at San Pedro Center, a Franciscan retreat center the day before the opening session of the General Assembly conference. And while concerns over having a Nazarene retreat at a Catholic contemplative location should stir concern, this report is focusing on one of the six people who will be leading the retreat, Dr. Alden Sproull. Sproull is founder and director of the Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation based in Redlands, California.

Dr. Alden SproullAccording to his website* (see below), Alden Sproull has “worked in Contemplative Spiritual Practices for 30 years.” The Kairos Center is “a unique center for spirituality.” The website also states:

Kairos is not a religion, but people from a variety of traditionsbenefit from the spiritual programs at Kairos that are not available at traditional religious institutions.

Under “Spiritual Practices,” on Sproull’s website, he states: “We need to open ourselves to the presence of God through regular spiritual practices. In stillness we can feel unity with God.” Sproull says that examples of these spiritual practices can be found on the “Center for Contemplative Mind in Society” website, which he links to from his site. An extensive “tree” of mystical practices are listed, some of which include: centering prayer, yoga, labyrinth walking, contemplative prayer, building altars, the Jesus Prayer, lectio divina, mantra meditation, visualization, and chanting. This site has a lengthy list of Recommended Reading, too many to list in this report. A few of the titles will illustrate the nature of the site: Breakfast with BuddhaPure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen SaintThe Asian Journal of Thomas MertonLighting the Lamp of Wisdom: A Week inside a Yoga Ashram, and Waking Up: A Week inside a Zen Monastery.

Alden Sproull would not link to this site, if he did not agree with its overall message, and what Nazarene’s may fail to understand is the underlying interfaith, interspiritual connections that are brought out clearly in his linking to that site. 

While Nazarene universities and seminaries have been embracing contemplative spirituality for a long time, many of the denomination’s pastors and church members may not have yet been introduced to contemplative. But with the upcoming contemplative retreat, that may all change. Clearly, a message is being sent to Nazarenes worldwide that says, “Contemplative is a worthwhile spirituality that should be welcomed.” As Lighthouse Trails has tried to show through articles and books, contemplative prayer is a route to mystical interspirituality, which in its very nature denies the Cross and the Gospel message. We believe the apostle Paul’s admonition in II Thessalonians 2 relates to the growing interest and adherence to contemplative spirituality within the walls of Christianity: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first.”

* Alden Sproull’s website, Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation is often offline and cannot be readily accessed. This link, however, will show a cached file of the site.

Related Articles:

Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative Spirituality in No Small Way

Nazarene Superintendent Praises “A Time of Departing” But Denomination’s Schools Sinking into Contemplative 

Nazarene Universities Welcome Brian McLaren

Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church Come to Kansas Through YouthFront and MNU

Ambrose University (CMA & Nazarene) Full Speed into Contemplative/Emergent

This article or excerpt was posted on March 16, 2009@ 7:24 pm .



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