During my 2 years plus Healing Sabbatical from Chronic Lyme Disease I was led to explore some questions that I had had regarding what some people may term “New Age” practices or what others may call spiritual or alternative services.
New Age is an umbrella term and a collection of beliefs and practices aimed at bringing enlightenment. It may include a wide range of topics including Buddhism Hinduism, Mysticism, Reiki, Past Life Regression, Angel Therapy, Meditation, Yoga, Witchcraft, Channeling, Mind Science, Ufology, Spiritual Psychology etc.
I have always been deeply spiritual as far back as I can remember as a young child and this was always infused in some way in all of my professional work in my adult life. In high school, my neighbors, with the permission of my parents, brought me to a Billy Graham Crusade at the McCormack Center in Chicago and I found myself going forward at the end of the evening and accepting Christ into my life. In fact, I did it twice. Two days in a row! My neighbors went back the second night so invited me to go along. When the invitation to come forward again was extended again I went forward again. I knew I did not need to. It was just symbolic for me. A recommitment if you will I just wanted to be around the people that were up front again. However, I failed to let my neighbors know what I was doing and when I glanced back and saw their faces, they looked very confused …. It is rather funny now looking back.
My faith deepened after that day and my journey took many interesting paths over the years. Some of them were side trails, a little “off the path”, some stagnation, but eventually I would find my way home again. Jumping ahead to more recent years my journey had what I now call a more diluted form of Christianity, however at the time I didn’t realize this. I mixed New Thought concepts and what I termed Holistic Health (New Age principals) with Christianity and I thought I was still a Christian…albeit I thought I was a more enlighten open-minded Christen back then.
I eventually became a Reiki Master and, when I practiced and taught things like Reiki I always had a strong emphasis on making sure people knew that it was “God Energy” and that I or people that did Reiki were not doing the healing. We were just the channels or vessels being used by God… or what some people would also call “Source,” as well as many other New Age names. To me, however, it was always from God and so I never saw it as something that was nota Christian mode of therapy. Similarly, when I decided I would do readings for people the only area I felt comfortable in pursue training in was in Angel Card reading with someone who worked with Doreen Virtue. At the time I thought I was staying away from “the dark side” because I only would read angel cards. The “enemy” is very clever! He knows just how to trap and deceive each one of us and that is how it happened with me. I did not want to pursue other types of tarot cards and I saw that as a significant difference and I didn’t want to dabble in the occult. Little did I know at the time I was deep in the occult and had No Idea that I was. There are many other examples I could give as well.
Even though I was doing a lot in the New Age and New Thought area I still always had relationship with Jesus. Because I wasn’t reading my bible daily anymore though I was prime target for picking up an interest in things like the Gnostic Gospels etc. However, something Always, Always…deep inside told me (the something was the Holy Spirit) this was NOT correct. I just wasn’t clearing listening yet.
In the last few years during my sabbatical I found myself exploring things like “The Course In Miracles” and other books that were supposed to be inspired and channeled by Jesus. However, again something didn’t seem right. In fact, something seemed WAY off. I remember getting chills when I would read The Course in Miracles. Not all of it, but when I would get to certain parts of it I would have to bring the book into another room. Even though I wasn’t reading my bible every day I remembered enough about the bible from when I was younger and from my schooling (Thank God) that I KNEW this was not right and NOT of God.
My questioning continued to grow more and more. I remember at one point contacting some former students who were now Ministers and I asked their opinion about things like the “Course in Miracles”. To be honest I already knew what the answer was, however, I was not ready to hear it as I didn’t want to hear anything yet about some of the authors of these books who I had come to love and admire. The Ministers I contacted didn’t have the answers anyway at the time, but I wouldn’t have been ready to hear it back then anyway.
It was at this time, I also explored some New Thought Leaders who seemed extremely loving and inspired by the “Divine Presence”. However, once again there would always, always, be a caveat and stumbling point no matter how Loving and how Inspiring these individuals were. I would eventually come to and hit a road block and know firmly in my soul that this was Not of God. I would bristle and resist what they taught and sometimes abandon that teaching, book, individual or group when they would talk about Christ Consciousness or anything about a New Age Jesus. In the beginning stages of following them, I might just toss out that part of what they taught and continue with the rest of their teachings. I am afraid to say I was that mislead for a while and I compartmentalized way too long. But after awhile I could no longer do this.
My Favorite part of the new testament is Matthew 18: 12-14.
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish
He would not give up on me and to THAT I am eternally grateful!
And the saving grace, is that my relationship with Jesus deepened as I kept searching more for the truth and continued reading the bible and praying.
The more I read the bible I knew that my answer was clearly in there. And that all I had been doing in the New Thought and New Age practices did not agree with the teachings of Jesus and the Word of God. It may agree with the “New Age Jesus”. But he was Not real Son of God and Light of the World.
My relationship with Jesus is strong…. stronger than ever now, after I repented with tears for a couple days regarding being involved with this movement for so long and for leading, unknowingly so many others down this path (thinking I was doing a good thing and helping them on a good spiritual journey). I understood God’s grace and forgiveness so powerfully doing this time there is no way to describe it in words. And Joy is constantly in my heart for His Love and Grace and forgiveness.
At that time, I also knew that needed to start making changes on my website to remove my former services. I was basically closing my practice for semi-retirement anyway, but I did Not want to offer any of my former services. So, I was in the place where I was confronted Very Early On in this part of my journey of “going out of my comfort zone” and announcing to my former clients and students that I had converted to Christianity. Albeit I didn’t really see it as a total conversion as I thought I already was a Christian. But as I previously said, I really Was Not! So this was my “coming out”. I heard very clearly from the Holy Sprit that I was to not only remove the items on my website, but I should put up a testimony and contact former students. I hemmed and hawed for only a day and then I knew I not only had to do it but wanted to do it. I wanted to obey God and I wanted to surrender fully to His will.
And it was no coincidence that the very same time that I had made the decision to stop practicing my former alternative medicine (New Age) services that I came across the testimony on YouTube of the former New Ager and author of Spirit Science Website Steven Bancarz, who now is a Christian. He had a remarkable testimony that gave me inspiration to write mine and eventually I knew I would also videotape one.
Steven also has information on his “Reason For Jesus” website that details his journey and gives excellent information for people that need help in discerning the truth.
And if that wasn’t enough, it was no coincidence that several days later after I saw Steven’s testimony, I came across the testimony of Doreen Virtue the well-known Hay House Author. She also had recently become a Christian and put her testimony on a YouTube. I highly recommend people listen to both on YouTube. Doreen now has daily, free bible support and encouragement groups available to people.
I am sure this may be very confusing for some people that took courses from me in the past. I never intentionally led anyone astray. And like Doreen Virtue I truly believed in everything that I was doing and taught.
I actually had a few former students that I ran into a several years ago tried to “warn me” about the evils of my ways. Their approach was very judgmental, and it looked like they wanted to burn me at the stake. So back then I politely smiled and didn’t listen. I look back now at those times and think that if they had been more loving and open and non-judgmental, it might have opened up the door sooner for me to look more deeply at things. Because I thought I was a New Thought Open Minded Christian. And there are SO many in our churches today that are practicing New Though and New Age modalities that don’t even know what they are partaking in.
So I am ending with this because I believe it is very important for anyone who is trying to help others to see things from a Christian perspective to ask themselves “how Jesus would do it”.
What would he say, what would he do, how he would treat and receive someone etc. We can plant seeds in a gentle and loving way. I know when I do that (wish I would do it more often) it makes all the difference in the world. Many Blessings.