A Christian “New Ager”?

New Age

I’M A CHRISTIAN. BUT THAT doesn’t mean that I live in a peapod, all shut off from the world (see my past post on the Three Peas in a Pod). I truly believe that we can be both “in the world” and “not of the world”—and that too often we repeat the mistake of Old Israel in being rigidly exclusive and intolerant of anything outside our Christian “cocoon.”

Is it possible that we lose much by walling ourselves off from other ways of believing and behaving? Can we learn and even benefit from those we often reflexively dismiss or even spend energy condemning? I’m not advocating that we abandon our personal or church belief system or our lifestyle convictions and choices. But I would suggest that we sometimes risk throwing out “the baby with the bathwater” when it comes to how we relate to other ways of believing and living.

Today, in connection with a project I’m working on, I needed to research the background of a certain New Age teacher. As I am wont to do in this Age of the Net, I went to Wickipedia as one of my first stops. In the article, I found the following list of key New Age themes:

Age of Aquarius · Alternative medicine · Angels · Astral projection · Astrology · Atlantis · Aura · Channelling · Charmstone · Conspiracy theories · Cosmic ordering · Earth mysteries · Environmentalism · Feng shui · Gaia hypothesis · Goddess worship · Indigo children · Intuition · Karma · Law of Attraction · Meditation · New Age communities · New Age music · Odic force · Parapsychology · Pantheism · Perception · Quantum mysticism · Qi · Religious pluralism · Reincarnation · Spiritual healing · Wellness · UFOs.

Now, I’ve bolded in this list a few of the themes that—though I may define them somewhat differently than the committed New Ager—I have personally found of value. It simply reminds me that even my own chosen “home faith” is not 100 flawless and that other belief systems are not 100 flawed.

Perhaps if we Christians focused more on the bridges of agreement that link us to others instead of condemning and warning against the areas where we disagree with them, we’d enjoy greater success in getting out the Good News.

Of course, perhaps one great reason we may sometimes wall ourselves off from “the world” around us is fear that it will win us over, rather than the other way around. But if our own faith is built not on sand but on the Rock, it should be secure enough to venture into the world beyond our comfortable borders and be exposed to other ways of believing and living. We should be able to distinguish between what is truth and what is error.

Am I a New Ager? Well, maybe partly! As a Protestant Christian, I may also (horror of horrors) be partly a Buddhist, Atheist (see another post on this), Muslim, or Roman Catholic. Without denying that these other belief systems contain much that I consider error and with which I cannot agree, I may also accept that Jesus said He was the “Light of the World…that lights every man who comes into the world”—and that therefore even the most error-riddled belief systems may contain some truth and light.

And my own personal conviction is that I’m better served, as is my faith, by focusing on what unites me to others, than on what divides me from them. Now, back to work, with soaring, transporting New Age music playing in the background!

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