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.