Several years ago I was diagnosed with a genetic hip problem and learned that I would have to have a total hip replacement. I was extremely fearful of this surgery and kept putting it off until the pain became so constant I knew I had to do something about it. A doctor I had been seeing referred me to an excellent orthopedic surgeon and I met with him and made an appointment for the surgery. Many people were praying for me and I trusted God to bring me safely through the operation.
In the process of preparing for my medical leave at work, I emailed two vendors to let them know who would be auditing and approving their invoices in my absence. Michelle, one of the women I dealt with regularly, wrote back asking if I was familiar with Creative Imagery (also called Creative Visualization). She proceeded to explain how it could help me in my situation: I would visualize myself being wheeled to the operating room, would see myself going safely under, would see the doctor and the rest of his team around me, in good shape, well rested and focused one hundred percent on their task, would visualize myself during the operation responding in exactly the right way. Finally, I would visualize myself coming safely through the surgery, starting to heal immediately, responding well to the painkillers and the treatments, and feeling the power of all the prayers of those who care about me and love me. Then Michelle wrote that scientific tests have shown that these visualizations can be a powerful tool for healing. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between a thought and an outer reality; my positive thoughts would start to make all the good things happen.
Although I was a little apprehensive about this "Creative Imagery" idea, I figured all the positive thoughts sounded good and I was eager to accept all the help I could get.
The day before my surgery I took a pre-surgery informational class at the hospital. The instructor talked about something similar to what Michelle had described: Positive thoughts, with good chemicals released from the brain as a result, Creative Imagery, etc. The instructor also said that there was a nurse at the hospital who offered a complementary service called "Healing Touch". After that class I was confused and troubled about all of this, because I felt my trust in God was being diverted to other "things".
The morning of my surgery, when I was having devotions, God brought me to a verse in Psalms, and it was just what I needed. The verse said, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God". (Ps. 20:7) The words "popped" off the page and I was so thankful and happy to receive this truth from God’s Word. I placed my trust totally in Him again and this verse is what I thought about as I was wheeled into surgery – trusting in Him! The surgery was a great success and I knew it was because God brought me safely through it.
Eager to follow all of the doctor’s instructions and wanting to do everything I could to help myself recover from the surgery, I called the nurse who offered the complementary service called "Healing Touch". (This was a mistake, as I later came to find out.) I asked her to stop by my room and she agreed to do so. I had heard of "Healing Touch" before and was a bit apprehensive about it, but I thought it was all about prayer. When the nurse came to my room I said, "This is a Christian prayer, isn’t it, not something based on ‘Eastern Religion?’” I don’t remember her exact words, but she assured me it was not from ‘Eastern Religions’. She asked my permission to touch me on various parts of my body that were "energy centers". And she told me to relax and think about something pleasant. She told me to continue to do so until I felt relaxed. This lasted several minutes. At one point I opened my eyes and saw her standing at the foot of my bed with her head bowed, appearing to be in prayer. I later came to find out that she wasn’t praying at all – she was "centering" or "meditating" or "emptying herself" – "to quiet down" as she explained it, so she could concentrate on "healing for your highest good". She said, "We are all made of energy; all born with an energy field". She said the "Healing Touch" administrators try to ‘decongest’ this energy by using their hands. She also said that healing comes from our own nature, and mentioned using Creative Imagery. She said she had taken the "Healing Touch" course through the American Holistic Nurses Association.
When I returned to work after my medical leave of absence, a co-worker was telling me about all the things that were going on in his life. He and his wife were reading a book called "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield and his wife was hoping to start a motivational business based on this book. They were also hoping to buy a new house (that his wife dreamt about in detail) and they were "using positive thoughts" and "putting energy out there" to make this happen. He made reference to "the gods" and "the angels", and said he was practicing meditation, often going home at lunchtime to do this. A new quote on his whiteboard reads, "You are the only one who can create your own reality". I was rather stunned to hear about all of these things. They seemed so foreign to me and they sounded so much like the New Age stuff I had read about years ago.
Shortly after this I met a woman at a bridal shower at our church and we started talking about doctrine. She said that a lot of people think doctrine is "old and dusty" but how very important it really is. She told me about a book titled "A Time of Departing" by Ray Yungen, and sent me a copy. This book was such an eye opener to me! It amazed me that some of the things mentioned in the book regarding New Age practices were some of the same things that I had encountered just in these four months! It is a book I feel every Christian should read.
Some of the things mentioned in the book, A Time of Departing, were totally new to me, but after reading about them, I noticed them in everyday life. For instance, my husband and I went to the State Fair the end of August. We parked in a church parking lot and took a shuttle bus to the fair. When we were waiting for the bus, my husband started talking to a woman who was a volunteer from the church. He commented on the size of the church building. She said they have just remodeled the church, added a garden in the back, and also added a labyrinth that is open to the public! I was so shocked to be hearing about a labyrinth after just learning about it, and to come into contact with a Christian church that is actually using this unbiblical "tool" – one of the things this book warns about!
These are some of the experiences I have had recently and I believe it shows how commonplace this New Age spirituality has become, even to the point of infiltrating the Christian Church.
Written by Linda Lemcke
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