Friday, June 29, 2007
DON'T BE NEGATIVE
It was one of the themes of the Vibrant Parish Life town meetings in my parish a couple of years ago. The group leader was so determined that no negative statements would be made that he did his best to prevent me from stating what I believe: that since we are a faith based in sacraments, our biggest concern is a shortage of priests. I did find the opportunity to make the statement, however, though I was quickly contradicted. It was at this meeting that I discovered the group leader believed we could get along quite nicely without priests.
Where does the "don't be negative" mindset come from? Well one place where it is prominent is within Rosicrucianism. "The Secret" of Rosicrucianism is "attraction", and that which we are to attract is a positive response to our positive thinking. In THE ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION, Chapter VI, Max Heindel discusses vibrations. According to William Walker Atkinson Vibrations are a key element in attracting the stuff we desire. Did "Vibrant Parish Life" derive its name and concept from the Rosicrucian Law of Attraction?
"Don't be negative" has turned up in Ernest Holmes' Science of Mind as well. Here on a religious science website is the following quote:
This science is more than mental; it is also spiritual, since we live in a spiritual universe. The Science of Mind declares the Truth about this spiritual universe and it also declares the Truth about false belief, considering everything which is opposed to good as an accumulation of human thought, the collective negative suggestion of the race.
Wrong conditions are resolved into false beliefs, and through the use of right ideas a transformation of thought takes place. We learn to build our ideas upon an affirmative rather than a negative factor. To state the Truth and deny or disregard that which in belief is opposed to it, is to prove that the Principle of the Science of Mind is actual.
The problem with this notion is that once we embrace the belief that our negative thoughts cause our problems, we all become responsible for whatever circumstance we find ourselves entrenched in. There is no longer any place for the idea of injustice and compassion for the downtrodden. No one would be downtrodden, after all, if they just turned their negative thinking around.
A Christian cult-watch organization places the Institute of Religious Science into the "Mind Therapy Cults" along with Scientology, and more importantly with Silva Mind Control, and says that it is "often mixed with the occult". So what is the concept doing in the Roman Catholic Church?
Vibrant Parish Life is the program instituted in Cleveland by Bishop Pilla which uses the same technique used to put United Religions Initiative on the world stage, so once again there is an association with the type of syncretism promoted by Rosicrucians and by Religious Science. Called Appreciative Inquiry, the technique was pioneered at Case Western Reserve University by Dr. David L. Cooperrider. Lee Penn has covered Appreciative Inquiry in his book, FALSE DAWN, including its use in founding United Religions Initiative. Lee wrote:
URI activist Paul Chaffee says, "Appreciative Inquiry is an expression of postmodern social constructionism. As such it is preoccupied with language, learning, relationship, and generativity in living systems--and spends little if any time with 'objective reality' or 'absolutes,' including the ultimate truth or the 'right way to do something." Thus, AI incorporates the notion that tradition is of little lasting value, commonly perceived reality is an illusion, morality is relative, we can collectively create new realities, and that acting upon all of this nonsense represents "conscious evolution."
One Appreciative Inquiry website explains what essentially amounts to the Rosicrucian secret:
Appreciative Inquiry provides leaders with a methodology to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Rather than focusing mainly on problems, it elicits solutions. I...hope that community college [and other] leaders realize the potential for this valuable tool.
It can be seen on the Diocese of Cleveland website that Appreciative Inquiry is used in the interview process. If this is a methodology for "creating new realities", what new realities does the Diocese of Cleveland intend to create?
Given that the leader of my group at the Vibrant Parish Life town meeting was convinced that we could get along nicely without priests, and given the development of lay-led parishes that we are seeing here in Cleveland, perhaps this paragraph on home churches:
The word "Church" is often misunderstood. Far from indicating an institution, it is derived from the Greek word "ecclesia",or "edah" in Hebrew which means an assembly of people called for a particular purpose, in this case the community of Jesus' disciples who live life by following his teachings. Before there were institutional churches, people gathered for private worship in their homes, just as Mar Yeshua, the Master Jesus, had done with his close disciples. The spiritual intimacy of the Havurah Seder or sacred meal developed into the Holy Communion or Eucharist of the Christian churches. We carry on this tradition of home church or house based worship.
Unfortunately that passage comes from a Gnostic Church website.