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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dissecting this video: Angelic Immersion Retreat

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
                                               and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

So I went on a women's retreat in the 90's similar to the one shown on this video, although ostensibly more Catholic as it was directed by a Catholic nun and we actually had Mass.  (I had merely signed up for a women's retreat advertised in my parish bulletin--didn't know it was going to be all about men bashing and hierarchy-rejection,  telling "herstory" vs HIStory, incriminating Catholicism as patriarchal and authoritative, etc etc etc)

Video:  Angelic Immersion Retreat with an Angel Therapy Practitioner

On one level, there is much healing and spiritual nourishment on retreats such as these. It appears on the video to have been a lovely weekend and I am certain that the women left the retreat feeling immensely loved by God, accepted and empowered.  Their femininity was celebrated!

Nothing wrong with that, of course.

However, when I accidentally encountered this video online it gave me pause.  I think that these types of "alternative" spiritual encounters can cause great harm and we ought to have our antennae up whenever these New Age-ish spiritualities are proposed. 

In fact, I will go so far as to say that if we are offered a chance to attend a retreat/seminar/workshop such as this, we ought to run away as fast as we can! (Slight hyperbole intended.)

(I must also offer a disclaimer:  I did not attend the retreat that is shown on this video, so my comments are based only on generalities and my own experiences.)

So how can a retreat that endorses this type of spirituality cause great harm? Isn't the theme really harmless:  "whatever it is that you believe that makes you happy, go for it!"  What's so wicked and evil about that?

Well, firstly, because it's a lie.  Truth matters.  It's not true that "whatever you believe, as long as it makes you happy" ought to be pursued.  The story of ";The Emperor's New Clothes" is a great example of this.  While the Emperor believed the lies told to him that he was dressed in elegant finery--and that pleased him immensely--the truth was that he was parading around butt naked in front of his kingdom.  Eek!  Truth matters.  While the Emperor was happy, the truth was inevitably going to come back and bite him.  Or consider whether an adult ought to believe in Santa Claus--it may make him happy to believe in him, but do we really want to encourage him in his belief and tell him, "go for it!  If that's what makes you happy, I'm with you!" 

Also, what I find so sinister about this type of spirituality is its use of Christian language.  
We hear the familiar language of Christianity and are insidiously and complacently drawn into the lies.  We think, "Hey--they believe in angels. Catholics believe in angels!  We're on the same page here!" 
"There is also talk of Christ, but this does not mean Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ” is a title applied to someone who has arrived at a state of consciousness where he or she perceives him- or herself to be divine and can thus claim to be a “universal Master”. source
Here are some phrases taken from these types of retreats/spiritualities/theologies:

Partnering with Your Angels, Getting to the Heart of Matter:  Using Heart Energy to facilitate healing in Mind, Body, and Spirit; Living in Balance and Joy!

In this role, she offers a clear translation of heavenly messages and healing energy in her Angel Healing Sessions

Immerse yourself within the heart of the divine

Labyrinth Meditations

Angelic Revelation

Sacred Art

Encouraging the Emergence of Each Soul's Voice
These phrases/concepts sound quite benign and generically religious and holy, and anyone might be tempted to investigate this type of retreat.  (Well, perhaps most men might not find these concepts attractive, but I'm guessing there are lots of women who might have their interest piqued by these activities. )  Yet, at its essence, this type of spirituality promotes concepts antithetical to Christianity.  We are definitely NOT on the same page doctrinally and credally with this type of spirituality.  In fact often the message of New Age religiosity is in direct opposition to Christianity.

For example, this spirituality denies sin.  Therefore there is no need for a Savior.  Jesus was an amiable and pleasantly good man who was just misunderstood.  That he was crucified was a tragedy but has no bearing on us today. 
There is no need for Revelation or Salvation which would come to people from outside themselves, but simply a need to experience the salvation hidden within themselves (self-salvation), by mastering psycho- physical techniques which lead to definitive enlightenment. source

This is contrary to Christianity!

Yet they take Christian principles that are attractive and palatable and apply it to their own theology: i.e:   "God loves us."  "He wants peace and harmony in our lives." **

Of course!  Who would want to disagree with a theology that espouses that?

A god is created that conforms to our own image and likeness, rather than encouraging us to conform our beliefs and image to that of God. 

Shouldn't it be the other way around?  Shouldn't WE be changing our beliefs?  Not finding a spirituality that conforms to that which we like and find palatable and acceptable.

**(Actually, they wouldn't say "He" wants peace and harmony in our lives.  That's too misogynistic.  They would say, "GOD wants peace and harmony in our lives."  Avoidance of any reference to God as Father or as "HE" is imperative in New Age religiosity!)

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

Catholics Come Home

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15

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