Emergent Leaders and Schoolchildren follow “his holiness” the Dalai Lama to Seattle
By Eric Barger
Commencing on Friday, April 11, 2008 the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists worldwide, began a five day conference in Seattle. His sold out speeches, workshops and panel discussions drew capacity crowds totaling more than 153,000 at venues around the city from the Bank of America Center at the University of Washington, Key Arena, where the NBA Sonics play and mammoth Quest Field, home of the NFL Seattle Seahawks. As expected, millions more watched on television and over the Internet where the events were webcast in twenty-four languages. Having lived in the Seattle area for a total of twenty-five years of my life I can tell you that this area is deeply entrenched in New Age thinking. In fact, we refer to Western Washington as the very center of New Age thought, so a visit by “his holiness” caused quite a stir there. (I am actually only about 20 miles from Quest Field as I write.)
Billed as “The Seeds of Compassion” after its key local Washington sponsors, a great deal of the focus was on children. Organizers emphasized that the Seattle event is neither religious nor political in nature. (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004300190_dalailama23m.html) Perhaps not overtly, but it certainly was covertly religious.
Certainly not everything promulgated by this conference could be construed as pure evil. However, please rest assured that though the visit by the 14th Dalai Lama may not have been a direct proselytization for Buddhism, it surely served as a tool of massive desensitization to soften hearts and perk interests for the cause of the Eastern religion. It will also strengthen the humanistic yet strangely religious idea that man - and not eternal, all-powerful, creator God - is the answer to our problems.
Don’t get me wrong. The freedom which our Constitution provides us surely allows for the Dalai Lama to come to Seattle and present Buddhism openly if he likes. At this point, it is a free country and we here do still enjoy the freedom to speak out - at least for a season. (Christians in Canada have dubiously stopped sharing this luxury with us for that nation’s most prominent counter-cult ministry was recently shut down by the government for engaging in alleged “hate speech,”) Besides the fact that Buddhism is a worthless, salvation-barren religion, I have two bones to pick here.
First, though the local media nearly went silent on this aspect of the story, local school districts bused in children to Seeds of Compassion events. Say what?
The conference promotion stated, “Seeds of Compassion Children’s Day (Monday, April 14) is a day for youth from all over Washington State to come together and share their expressions of What Compassion Looks Like™ and to learn how to grow their experiences of compassion from the leaders in the compassion movement, most notably His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There will also be multiple programs focused on children who will have booths set up at Seattle Center to invite children to get involved with compassion. Children will return by bus to their schools.” (http://www.seedsofcompassion.net/event/scheduleAud.asp)
According to the sponsoring Heritage Institute’s (not the Heritage Foundation) website, “Tickets to the event were free – based on a commitment to furthering compassion either by participating in the What Does Compassion Look Like™ campaign or by using the compassion lessons available on our website. Districts will be reimbursed for bus transportation.” (http://www.hol.edu/UserFiles/File/Seeds_Launch_Childr_Day.pdf)
In preparation for the event, local Seattle area schoolchildren were instructed for several days in visualization techniques and phrases such as “Concentrate on being a hero. Now concentrate on being compassionate. Now visualize yourself as a compassionate hero.” No, I am not kidding. Nor am I exaggerating. This is plainly an exercise from New Age-Buddhist philosophy being employed in the public schools. What is most troubling is that these third graders don’t know that the next step is the introduction of Spirit Guides (demonic powers) and the majority of their parents are sitting at home enamored with the whole thing!
Besides the obvious New Age implications, two things stand out here.For a teacher or school district to have gotten into this special children’s day event (which included an audience with the Dalai Lama), said school officials must commit to actively participate in the ongoing campaign or they must use the “compassion lessons” available on the Heritage Institute website. (Hummm, I wonder what’s in the campaign and in those compassion lessons?) Second, in effect the Seeds of Compassion conference paid to have children pulled out of school and bused to the event. I’d have to say “not my child!” But then I frankly wouldn’t trust the government schools to educate my kids anyway, Dalai Lama or not. I know that some could argue that we need to be exposed to cultural stuff and that the Dalai Lama is a historical and political figure. However, he is in particular the glue which holds Buddhism together worldwide. My job is to nurture and raise my kids (now grandkids) up to serve, love and have a healthy fear for the Lord – not to teach them to call the leader of a false religion “his holiness” or to allow them to be introduced to visualization techniques in occultic realms riddled with demons. (Though I like the view from this soapbox, I will reluctantly get down now.)
I wonder if the next time Billy or Franklin Graham or some other high profile Christian comes to town if the school district will be so quick to bus the kids on over to the event? What’s more, where is the likes of the A.C.L.U. when we need them? What about their ever-loving “separation of Church and State?” Perhaps we should all just email and call the Seattle school district offices congratulating them on finally seeing things our way and offer to volunteer when in the future the kids are bused to hear some famous Bible believing Christian speaker?
Second, in this supposedly “non-religious” event there was a lineup of speakers, panelists and participants that would surely rival the list whom the Antichrist will some day assemble to support his announcement of a full blown one-world religion (See Revelation 13).
Seattle Conference Participants included:
• His Holiness the Dalai Lama, (listed as) a simple Buddhist monk
• Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Episcopal Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
• Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America
• Rabbi David Rosen, Chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations
• Roshi Joan Halifax, Zen Buddhist Master and abbess of Upaya Zen Center
• Rob Bell, emergent Christian leader, writer, and pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan
• Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Catholic nun, writer and teacher
• Pravrajika Vrajaprana, Hindu philosopher, writer, and teacher
• Doug Pagitt, evangelical author, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, emergent Christian leader
• Episcopal Bishop Steven Charleston, President and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School and a Professor of Theology
• Linda Kavelin-Popov, co-founder of the Virtues Project
• Reverend Samuel Berry McKinney, civil rights leader and pastor emeritus of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle
• Father William Treacy, Interfaith leader, founder of Camp Brotherhood
• Ahmed Tijani Ben Omar, Muslim scholar and spiritual leader
• Guru Singh, Sikh philosopher and spiritual leader
• Steven Shankman, the UNESCO Chair in Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue and Peace
Do any names on the list leap out at you? How about Emerging Church leader Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church of Grandville, MI?
Bell and fellow Emergent leader Doug Pagitt (Solomon’s Porch of Minneapolis), who was also a conference participant, seem to be a logical fit with the Dalai Lama. Pagitt was listed as an “Evangelical” in the conference materials and website yet he has proclaimed openly that “the gospel can be found in other world religions.” It is because of unbiblical nonsense like this that I am no longer referring to myself as an “evangelical.” Instead, please just call me a “Bible believer.”
About his philosophy, Bell told Christianity Today in 2004 "This is not just the same old message with new methods. We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don't deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don't speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God."
The Seeds of Compassion conference surely sums up much of what appeals to Emergents. They believe that the message of Christianity is outdated and needs a facelift. They seek to transform it into some sort of Eastern mystic idea that they believe will appeal to their target audience of postmoderns. They also long for a time when doctrine no longer stands in the way of full-blown spiritual experiences. For in Emergent thinking, experiences seem to rule over God inspired absolute truth. Since it would appear that most Emergent leaders are long on feelings, social change and abandoning the past, perhaps Bell and Pagitt got some ideas and pointers on how to achieve their goals for spirituality while in Seattle with the Dalai Lama.
I do wonder who contacted who about participating in the Seattle gathering? Did an organizer from Seattle realize that the apostate Emergent movement was a natural to join forces with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, mystic Catholics, assorted liberals and UN representatives for lively panel discussions during the Seeds of Compassion get together? Since Emergents seek to reinvent every facet of Christianity from doctrine to practice, then the quest for cosmic “selfianity” and higher spirituality offered by Buddhism must surely hold special appeal. After all, to these allegedly Evangelical leaders, biblical and doctrinal Christianity is extremely boring and outdated. Folks, the predicted end-time apostasy is indeed in full swing (II Thess. 2:3).
In a session titled “InterSpiritual Panel Discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Inspiring Compassion in Our Youth: Youth and Spiritual Connection Dialogue” both Bell and Pagitt participated. My, that sounds great on the surface doesn’t it? But regardless of all of the sincerity they can muster, these folks are all playing directly into Satan’s hands.
Other “Seeds” sessions included:
“Evangelicals and InterSpiritual Friends: Recovering the Compassionate Tradition of Jesus” (with Rob Bell)
“The Group Experience as an Inroad towards Integrating the Mind, Body, Spirit and Soul” Which is described as follows: “Join together in a journey addressing the ways in which children and adolescents can use internal reflection to become mindful of their thoughts and feelings, the way the body influences the mind, and the causative factors in our motivation.” (In other words “use eastern meditation to become focused.”)
“Yoga for a Healthy Body and a Kind Heart” “For children ages 6-10 and their parents or care-givers: play games, listen to stories and practice yoga postures while learning how to benefit the body, mind, and heart.” (Pagitt promotes Yoga in his Minneapolis church.)
It is just this sort of religious, New Age and universalistic amalgamation that the powers of darkness thrive in. To the unsuspecting it all sounds so positive – “The Seeds of Compassion.” With the shape of our world today, one really can’t blame the world for trying to figure solutions to its problems. Buddhism and “Kingdom Now” or preterist theology (which alleged Evangelicals like Brian McLaren and Rick Warren seem to hold to) both perfectly fit this mold. This teaching tells us that we somehow are the saviors of the planet and that we had better figure it out. In Buddhism, we humans are the answer to all that ails us too. However, with his demonic ability to forge the world’s religions together as one, this is the exact tact that Antichrist will use to gain trust and control over the masses. It will be sold to the unregenerate mindset as what is “right for the common good.” Mark my words - in days ahead there will be many who claim to be Christians and many who will be recognizable, high profile leaders who will blissfully lead their followers down the proverbial garden path and into the arms of the Man of Sin. I believe that many of the same deceived, apostate teachers who will lobby for and do the bidding of the Antichrist will also be responsible for the ridicule, marginalizing and persecution of authentic Bible Believers in the days just before the Son of Perdition is revealed to the world.
Frankly, it doesn’t take a prophecy expert to see that many tentacles of the predicted last-days are at work around us. From the general rise of evil and the acceptance of occultism as “normal” to the great “falling away” of those who have previously professed to be Christians, the signs of the times are evident. When one couples the great state of unrest which our world is in with the mass proliferation of false religions and new age philosophies how can Bible believers help but deduce that the return of the Lord Jesus must surely be near?
The Dalai Lama and his one-world religion entourage may have come to Seattle but surely, the Holy One of Israel is indeed on his way as well. Amen.
(c) copyright 2008, Eric Barger
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