Title: HOW FEMINIST SPIRITUALITY IS CHANGING THE CHURCH: And Betraying the Women It Promised To Heal -- Book Review of "A Twisted Faith", by Berit Kjos
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THE CUTTING EDGE
"Religion and culture are ever changing, ever transforming. . . . We are the transformer, maker and creator of our own religious and cultural traditions."2 ( "Women, Religion, and Culture" seminar, UN Conference on Women, Beijing)
But God Thunders From On High:
"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13; Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary)
PEGGY FINDS MOTHER EARTH GODDESS WORSHIP
Peggy's struggles seemed endless. She wanted to be close to God, but she rarely felt His presence. She wanted her teenage son to love Him, but the occult posters in his room became daily reminders of unanswered prayer. She joined a Christian ministry, but satisfying fellowship with God kept eluding her. Eventually she left the ministry to return to college.
She called me a few years later. She had begun to find herself, she said. Her search had led her beyond the familiar voices that had provided "pat answers" to her spiritual questions. The biblical God no longer seemed relevant or benevolent. A college teacher had been especially helpful in her journey toward self-discovery. This teacher-counselor called herself a witch -- one who believes in the power of magic formulas and rituals to invoke power from spiritual forces.
Some years passed. When she called again, she had left her husband and moved away. "I had to find me," she explained. "My spiritual journey has opened my eyes to a whole new paradigm."
"A new paradigm?"
"Yes. A brand new way of seeing God and myself -- and everything else. It's like being born again."
"Who is Jesus Christ to you now?" I asked.
"He is a symbol of redemption," she answered. "But I haven't rejected the Bible. I'm only trying to make my spiritual experience my own. I have to hear my own voice and not let someone else choose for me. Meanwhile, I'm willing to live with confusion and mystery, and I feel like I'm in God's hands whether God is He, She, or It."
Does her journey sound familiar? Like millions of other seekers, Peggy longs for practical spirituality, a sense of identity, a community of like-minded seekers, and a God she can feel. She remembers meaningful Bible verses, but they have lost their authority as guidelines.
She wonders why God isn't more tolerant and broad-minded. After all, He is the God of love, isn't He? Maybe a feminine deity would be more compassionate, understanding, and relevant to women. Perhaps it's time to move beyond the old boundaries of Biblical truth into the boundless realms of dreams, visions, and self-discovery?
Multitudes have. What used to be sparsely traveled trails to New Age experiences have become cultural freeways to self-made spirituality. Masses of church women drift onto these mystical superhighways where they adapt their former beliefs to today's more "inclusive" views. After all, they are told, peace in a pluralistic world demands a more open-minded look at all religions and cultures.
Those who agree are finding countless paths to personal "wisdom" and empowerment through books, magazines, and new kinds of women's group. They meet in traditional churches, at the YWCA, at retreat centers, living rooms... anywhere. Here, strange new words and ideas-such as "enneagrams," re-imagining, Sophia Circles, global consciousness, and "critical mass"-offer modern formulas for spiritual transformation. Therapists, mentors and spiritual directors promise "safe places" where seekers can discover their own truth, learn new rituals, affirm each other's experiences, and free themselves from old rules and limitations.
This movement is transforming our churches as well as our culture. It touches every family that reads newspapers, watches television, and sends children to public schools. It is transforming Christian schools and is fast driving our culture beyond Christianity and humanism toward new global beliefs and values. No one is immune to its subtle pressures and silent promptings. That it parallels other social changes and global movements only speeds the transformation. Yet, most Christians-like the proverbial frog-have barely noticed.
Masks of the goddess. This spiritual quest demands new deities or a re-thinking of the old ones. The transformation starts with self, some say, and women can't re-invent themselves until they shed the old shackles. So the search for a "more relevant" religion requires new visions of God and His truth: images that trade holiness for tolerance, the heavenly for the earthly, and the God who is above us for a god who is us.
The most seductive images are feminine. They may look like postcard angels, fairy godmothers, Greek earth goddesses, radiant New Age priestesses, or even a mythical Mary, but they all promise unconditional love, peace, power and personal transcendence. They range from benign images that seem Christian to the mythical deities of popular paganism:
Angels. Terry wears an angel pin on her jacket. She believes that today's popular angels offer all kinds of personal help, guidance and encouragement. While God seems distant and impersonal to her, she counts on her personal angel to help and love her. She showed me a set of angel cards on a rack in her gift store. "May this Guardian Angel... give you hope and strength to meet each new tomorrow," suggested a sympathy card, complete with a tiny golden angel pin. With such a helper, Terry sees no need for Jesus.
Sophia. "Sophia, Creator God, let your milk and honey flow. . . . Shower us with your love . . . ." chanted more than 2000 women gathered at the 1993 Re-Imagining Conference in Minnesota. "We celebrate sensual life you give us. . . . We celebrate our bodiliness. . . . the sensations of pleasure, our oneness with earth and water," continued one of the leaders. Representing main-line denomination, the women had come from the Presbyterian Church USA (about 400), the United Methodist Church (about 400), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (313), the United Church of Christ (144), and Baptist, Episcopal, Church of the Brethren churches about (150). About 230 were Roman Catholics. To most of these worshippers, Sophia symbolized inner wisdom and "the feminine image of the Divine." Playful, permissive, and sensuous, she has "become the latest rage among progressive church women."
Mother Earth. To prepare Girl Scouts for a county-wide "Initiation into adulthood" ceremony, their leader, Tracy, uses guided imagery to alter their consciousness and help them visualize a "beautiful woman"--a personalized expression of Mother Earth--who will be their spirit guide for life. Each girl is free to imagine the spiritual manifestation of her choice or to welcome whichever spirit appears.
A goddess. Sharon grew up in a Christian home. Disappointed with her church's chilly response to her environmental concerns, she turned to witchcraft. Since her coven accepts any pantheistic expression, Sharon simply transferred what she liked about God to her self-made image of the goddess. She describes her feminine substitute for God as a loving, non-judgmental being who fills all of creation with her sacred life. Sometimes this goddess appears to Sharon, bathing her in bright light and a loving presence.
These and countless other women share two radical views: traditional Christianity with its biblical boundaries are out, and boundless new vistas of spiritual thrills and skills are in. Anything goes -- except God's absolute truth and standards. The broad umbrella of feminist spirituality covers all of the world's pagan religions, but the most seductive version are today's popular distortions of Christianity. Most seekers simply pick and mix the "best parts" of several traditions -- their view of God's universal love, the pantheistic philosophy behind holistic medicine, Buddhist meditation, Hindu yoga, Native American "Spirit Quests" -- then bring them back into today's "open" and "tolerant" churches.
Gateways to the goddess. Lori was raised by committed Christian parents, but when her high school teacher encouraged her to explore various spiritual traditions -- even create her own religion -- she gladly accepted the challenge. Fascinated with author Lynn Andrews' neo-pagan blend of Native American shamanism and goddess spirituality, Lori ordered a Native American tipi from a catalog, set it up in her backyard, and used it for candle-lit rituals inspired by Wiccan magic (witchcraft). Like most contemporary pagans, she had learned to mix various traditions into a personal expression that fit her own quest for power and "wisdom from within."
Beth, an education and philosophy major at a coveted Ivy league College, had followed the same path but chose a slightly different blend. Over lunch in the college cafeteria one day, she told me that two popular teachers in a supposedly Christian high school had introduced her to witchcraft and lesbianism.
I wasn't surprised. By then I knew that an inordinate number of pagan women have chosen the classroom as their platform for spreading their faith and transforming our culture. Like the rest of us, they want to build a better world -- one that reflects their beliefs and values.
While Beth talked, I glanced at her jewelry. The golden pentagram and voluptuous little goddess dangling from a chain around her neck spoke volumes about her values. So did her earrings: two large pink triangles pointing down, an ancient symbol of the goddess as well as a modern symbol of lesbianism.
"What about your jewelry?" I asked. "Do people know what the pentagram and triangles symbolize? Do they criticize you for wearing the little goddess?"
She smiled. "No. Everybody here is supposed to be tolerant of each other's lifestyles. Nobody would dare say anything."
I pondered her statement. What does it mean to be tolerant -- or intolerant -- these days? If intolerance is the self-righteous attitude that despises people with "different" values, it would be wrong. Jesus always demonstrated love and compassion toward the excluded and hurting women of His times. Yet, He never condoned destructive lifestyles or actions that harmed others. What would happen in a culture that tolerates everything? How does such tolerance affect the Church? How can we prepare our children and grandchildren to resist the all the new alternatives to our beloved Lord?
The Unchanging Ways of God. These and other crucial questions are explored in A Twist of Faith. Each chapter looks at a phrase in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, then shows how its message is turned upside-down by feminist spirituality. Following its outline, we will explore the main myths fueling today's pagan revival, and the major truths that lead us back to intimacy with God.
To women seeking new directions, feminine faces for God, and a better image of herself, the path to feminist spirituality may look bright with promise. Yet, like Peggy, many find themselves in the depths of spiritual confusion and loneliness once the initial euphoria fades. Some are trapped in downward spiritual spiral they can't escape. All too late, they find themselves immersed in oppression and confusion instead of love and peace.
A worldwide sisterhood of angry, militant feminists is rising to power. The United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing gave a glimpse of its influence. It left its leaders with marching orders designed to revolutionize our schools, homes, churches, social services, civil society and culture. If the feminist movement gains what it demands, no one will escape its global influence. American Christians will face the kind of hatred that drove persecuted masses to our borders, but there would be no place to hide outside of Christ.
As we look at these changes in the light of God's Word, He helps us understand the crisis and prepare for the coming conflict. When we trust Him and count on His promises, He will not only keep us spiritually safe in an increasingly hostile world, He will show us a joy and victory only possible for those who have dared to face reality, refused to compromise, and set their mind to follow the Shepherd.
CUTTING EDGE CONCLUSION
Many different paths away from true Christianity are leading many diverse people into the Kingdom of the New Age Christ. Radical Feminism is just one major path, aimed specifically at women in Western Society. Only God knows how many women have been attracted by this New Age, Feminism, Mother Earth Goddess mentality. But, every woman who is attracted by this seductive philosophy and world view needs to realize that they are heading straight into the arms of Antichrist!
Liberal Christian Churches have fallen deeply into this mindset, especially the Mainline Protestant denominations. All women who have fallen into this trap need to realize the predicament they are in, stop and repent of their sin, and return to the Savior. As God promised long ago:
"Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." [Jeremiah 6:16]
Only by traveling the "eternal paths" of the Savior
can you truly find rest and peace in your soul. While the New Age is promising
a "new paradigm", Jesus is whispering, "Return
to the eternal paths ... you will find rest for your souls."
You will also find eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ!
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
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