Summary: Principles for Christians seeking to engage in dialogue with New agers
Guideposts to Faith in a New Age
Video clip – vox pop of people talking about finding faith in other places
Those comments probably don’t surprise any of us – I am sure if we took a camera out on the streets of Kalamunda and interviewed people of all ages we would get some very similar responses. ‘I am doing my own thing…I’m not into church as we know it’
What do we do about that as Christians? Its not what we would hope our community would look like, but it’s a reality. It’s a spiritual supermarket and people are shopping maybe not for a religion – but certainly for a religious experience.
We said last week that on this journey many are choosing to bypass the established church. Why?…
Is our ‘product’ inferior?
Is it that we haven’t ‘marketed’ correctly?
Has it just run past its use by date. Is Christianity a safari suit religion in a cargo pants world?
What can we do?… What have we to offer?
Over the last two weeks we have been considering this phenomena known as the New Age Movement. We’ve looked at the central beliefs, some of the many and varied practices that occur and we have asked the question what can we as Christians learn from New Agers? If it really is the dominant form of spirituality in the 21st C then what is it that people are finding in it?
I won’t take time today to review where we have been but there will be a number of hard copy summaries of today and the last few weeks available in the foyer next Sunday if you would like them – if you are on email you will get one sent that way this afternoon.
So – Having looked at what we can learn from the new age last week – this week I want to look at what we have to offer people in the new age – what
Jesus centred, biblically based spirituality has that is missing from new age spirituality.
I do that because I think we need to ask the question – why would anyone pick us off the shelf of the religious supermarket when there are so many other choices. I mean really – when you can create your own personal religion with your own movable boundaries why would anyone tie themselves down to what has been described by Jesus himself as the ‘narrow way’?
Maybe you are asking that question yourself. Perhaps what I’m talking about today is why a person would want to be a Christian when there are so many other options. Even options that are apparently more attractive.
Many of us have grown up in the church and it would be easy for us to simply see it as our duty to defend what we know against those who would come against us. It’s quite possible that we might just dig in and fight, even if we aren’t too sure what it was we are fighting for. I hope we don’t go blindly into this.
I said last week that its not wrong to take a stand – its not wrong to have some not negotiables that you would put up a fight for. There is a place for confrontation but that it comes after there has been dialogue – and it comes in the context of a relationship.
So what I want to share today are some of the things that we might want to be pretty strong on – ideas that relate to New Agers and truths that they could maybe glean from us. I want to suggest 4 guideposts to life in a new age.. The first is this.
1. It does matter what you believe
It must do – our beliefs are the framework around which faith gets built.
A typical new agers philosophy is that you believe what’s right for you and I’ll believe what’s right for me and it will all work out in the end – because truth is relative – truth adapts to what you want it to be. We can all be right. Really?
Recently I was reading a book entitled "This I Believe" where over 100 well known Australians explore life’s big question"
Listen to 3 views that all share this common idea that you can believe whatever you like and it will all be ok in the end.
Greg Champion - apparently a well know musician and by his statements here obviously of new age persuasion. He says pg. 51
"I believe there are nature spirits in the garden and elsewhere.
I believe every creature, every ant, every animal is bonded to us.
I believe that plants respond to our energy.
That trees and mountains possess wisdom we can barely fathom