My thoughts on EHS in light of criticisms
(5 paragraphs long) (they are numbered for easy reading)
1. I think overall, the EHS material is fine. I get it that Scazzero is pulling in material from trappist monks and the idea of slowing down and listening to God, namely from the other denominations of Christianity (Greek Orthodox and Catholicism), and not from paganism, Buddhism or Hinduism sources. Contemplative Spirituality is not as bad as some make it to be; how Scazzero defines it is *different* from the critical sources that we’ve read. Nowhere does Scazzero or the trappist monk (in the video) teach to worship other gods or saints (though both Greek Orthodox and Catholicism have the problem of praying to Mary and the saints for their bad theological reasons in my view). Both Scazzero and the monk are very clear about loving God and loving others, which are paramount to our faith. In my view, if Scazzero and the monk believe that we can grow closer to God by focusing on God in deep breathing prayer, I do not think that is a bad thing. As you know, I struggle with spending 2 minutes in silence, focusing on repeating a simple prayer. I like to talk to God directly and pour my heart to Him when I pray as I told you guys. But I do not think it is wrong if Scazzero is learning to do the 2 minute silent and still prayer from a trappist monk. If it was from a Satanist, then I’d be alarmed! I think the challenge is, to what extent are we okay with Scazzero, beyond the text that we read, is pulling ideas from the other denominations. As such, I do not think it is a bad thing to pull ideas and practices from the other denominations… I do have a problem if it is forced down on us especially when we are uncomfortable with it. and Scazzero does not do that.
2. What I found funny in the Monk interview video was that the monk was really comfortable to do the 2 minute silent prayer for 20 minutes, and Scazzero was adamant to keep it to 3 minutes with the church. I mention this, because Scazzero himself is careful with how much he “pushes” these ideas to his own congregation. And where he “pushes”, he is more so encouraging and not imposing. For example, for those who watched the video, Scazzero never condemns anyone who didn’t do the 3 minute silent prayer with him and the monk.
3. In short, I believe that EHS does have much more good to offer, than the negatives. I do believe that EHS is desperately needed in our congregation and the church overall, because I have identified with so many of the problems that Scazzero outlined and detailed in the books. To bar the material from the church completely, I would feel would be a dis-service to the brothers and sisters. I believe all that is really required is to just let the students of EHS beware of the things Jonathan mentioned, and let the students do what they think is best, and leave out what appears to pull then away from Christ.
4. And very importantly, as Luis pointed out, if the elders in the church, especially the 3 pastors are familiar with the material and gave the green light for it, I do believe that is a good sign. If they weren’t at all familiar with the material, then of course, that is something to fix first before moving forward. But they know.
5. I do wish to do more research on this, and be on the look out, but I must balance my time with other things in my life and take it easy on how much I put research into this. With the amount of research I’ve already done, like I said, I wouldn’t bar EHS from anyone who is interested in learning about emotional spiritual health. Let them know our reservations, but do not withhold something that can benefit them. Let them prayerfully come to their own conclusion of the book, and encourage them to only practice what would bring them close to God and Christ. After all, I do not believe anyone in our church, after going thru the material, especially the literature version, will desire to become catholic, a Greek orthodox, a monk, a Trappist monk, a pagan, an atheist or would otherwise want to leave the church. I believe that EHS would help them to stay within the faith at large. And I do believe that emotionally *un*-healthy spirituality *can* indeed be damaging to people, both to themselves and the people around.