National Council of Churches Gathering Explores Mystical Prayer

Article ID: DN122 | By: CRI Statement

While one group prac­ticed principles of Buddhist medita­tion, another was introduced to Asian spiritual exercises. In another workshop, a group of people were celebrating femi­nine “biblical” images of God through prayer, song, mime, and dance.

The occasion wasn’t the latest New Age convergence, but rather “A Gathering at Christians,” a mega-event sponsored by the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC), which drew more than 2,000 people to Arlington, Texas, May 21-25,

1988. Assisting the ecumenical body in planning the event was a 25-member team that included representatives of Protestant, Orthodox, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic churches.

Other “how to pray~ sessions during the special “Explorations in Spirituality” workshops includ­ed: Quaker, black oral, and East­ern Orthodox prayer, ancient Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer, monastic prayer, and “creamation spirituality” prayer. The NCC said the reason they spon­sored the various workshops on prayer was to demonstrate unity and to affirm diversity.

“Gathering planners com­mented that each Christian tradi­tion has created unique forms of prayer in response to specific secular and spiritual needs,’ according to an NCC press release on the event. “Exper­iencing the prayer of another tra­dition can be a powerful means of understanding and appreciat­ing that tradition and of affirming diversity.”

There was no acknowledg­ment by the NCC that some of the forms of prayer and spiritual exercises, being from non-Christian sources, might be unbiblical and unchristian.