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Featured conservative groups fight mindfulness in schools

Discussion in 'Current News & Events' started by FireDragon76, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    Conservative legal group challenges 'mindfulness' in schools


    On the one hand I think its strange how mindfulness has become a fad, what Ron Percer calls "McMindfulness". On the other hand, it does make conservative evangelicals seem picayune to object to something that is devoid of obvious religious content (and I don't think "connecting to the universe" is a religious concept, even if it was removed from the curriculum in response to feedback). It's almost as if their idea of being a human being never includes paying attention to anything except their Bibles and religious dogma.
     
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  2. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Kobayashi Maru? What're you even talk'n about?! Supporter

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    ...it's probably a second knee-jerk reaction to "yet another non-christian program" since, as you know, there are already in-roads being made by other Secular programs into public U.S. schools seeking to 're-orient' the Conservative paradigm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  3. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Sounds like an opening for Christian parents to teach their children what to be mindful about during those periods.
     
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  4. High Fidelity

    High Fidelity Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mindfulness is not a religious ideology and, simply put, is an effective pursuit recommended by medical professionals for a whole host of beneficial reasons.

    Religion, beyond strictly educational reasons which covers all religions briefly and equally, should not be in schools or any other publicly funded organisation or enterprise.
     
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  5. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    It is my understanding that yoga originally developed as part of the ascetic practices of certain forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. So they're not wrong if they're talking about the origins of such practices. However, like much that passes for "Eastern" religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) in the West, most of the popular practices known under that label have very little to nothing to do with Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. as actually practiced in India, Nepal, Tibet, etc. I mean, at least in the modern west most of this stuff was only popularized in the 1960s starting with the hippie movement and especially the Beatles' sojourn in India, so it's accurate that the report call it a "trend", not just in the sense of a new practice rapidly growing in popularity, but also in the sense of the depth with which it is approached relative to its original roots. It's very "trendy", and likely bereft of any explicitly religious content.

    And there are Christian alternatives, of course (the ascetic practices of traditional Christianity), but oddly enough, many of the sorts of Christians who would object to schools including "mindfulness" lessons or whatever seem to also be the type who would object to these Christian alternatives, as well, probably also thinking them 'pagan'/non-Christian without realizing that Christian monasticism and its related practices developed on their own entirely within the Christian timeline (Abba Anthony and Abba Paul were both born in the 3rd century AD, when Christianity was already established in Egypt). So what'dya gonna do, really? Some people are just upset more or less permanently.
     
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    Mindfulness that wasn't all that different from what is being discussed here was actually taught by some Church Fathers, albeit it was never emphasized as it was in a religious tradition like Zen. It's just never been a prominent part of the Christian religion for many people (and was actually somewhat suppressed, beginning in the Middle Ages, in the West).

    And curiously enough, mindfulness meditation also isn't necessarily a significant part of most Buddhist or Hindu lives, who associate the practice of their religion with devotional acts, rites of passage, hymns, and funeral services more than anything.

    Yoga as we know it today is really as much a development of 20th century western physical culture (the same broad movement that gave us Pilates). Like Neo-Vedanta (as exemplified by somebody like Deepak Chopra), it has as almost as many western influences as it does eastern.


    Yoga's Twisted History - Mindful
     
  7. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    (From the article linked in the OP)
    "It's not a Buddhist program," Luster said. "We're not talking about religion at all. There's nothing in our materials that talks about religion or God."

    So, it would be all right to have the schoolchildren kneel, face an altar, and stare at a monstrance since that would focus their attention and...it would have nothing to do with religion at all since there is "nothing in the materials that talks about religion or God."


    :ahah:
     
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  8. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Okay. I was talking about Yoga specifically, though, because I think that's what the conservatives in the story have this practice confused with. Mindfulness isn't associated with any particular religion, and I thoroughly disagree with your comment that it was not emphasized in the Fathers. Read the Desert Father and Mothers in particular; I don't know what to call much of Abba Anthony's instruction if not mindful, and of course all of the desert hermits followed in his path (well, his and Abba Paul's path). The fact that it has never been a prominent part of many peoples' Christianity was the point the second paragraph, in that things like the conservative group's reaction to this are a result of that lack of awareness.

    Okay.

    That's not surprising in the least. Hmm. Maybe they'll move to ban Pilates next. Haha.
     
  9. Pedra

    Pedra Newbie

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    Provided a link to save me having to type out the dangers of the "mindlessness " meditation and that only those who lack knowledge on the subject ( no offence meant ) are the only ones who claim it is harmless. It is not just buddhist, or hindu practice it is a New Age practice, and it is a practice used by occultists & mediums etc.... It is not harmless and it is not for relaxation, the practice is also used to induce self-hypnotic states & trances.
    They do not have any business inflicting this upon children.
    The dark side of mindfulness | Christian News Journal
    Meditation, The Occult, And The Bible: An Ex New-Agers Critique
     
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  10. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    @Pedra: I think we may be dealing with a difference between "Mindfulness" as a package of techniques sold to these schools, and the concept of being mindful, which is not specific to any religion, nor anything having to do with 'New Age' practices. I can't speak for anyone else, but being mindful is a solidly Christian principle to me, as it is found throughout Christian history, particularly in the Desert Fathers (Egyptian, Syrian, Palestinian, etc. Christian ascetics of the early centuries of Christianity, connected to the foundation of monasticism in Egypt in the 3rd century AD). "Mindfulness" as some kind of package deal is probably something else.
     
  11. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla Well-Known Member

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    The current expression of mindfulness draws influence from Eastern teachings. Many of these elements have been adopted by Christians and welcomed into churches and homes. Others have sought to remove the religious traces and present Christianized versions of the same.

    The goal of mindfulness is emptying. C.S. Lewis addressed this in The Screwtape Letters. God fills us with His presence. He desires to consume more of us not to leave us gaping without content.

    It is nearly impossible for someone to mimic the behaviors of the desert fathers without recognizing the realities of their condition. The separation and isolation coupled with long periods of prayer and fasting are rarely the realities for most. Their spiritual mettle is significantly stronger. Which is why they endured the temptations and spiritual harassments they experienced. Cloistered clergy share similar accounts.

    As a former practitioner and student of Buddhism and Hinduism I am very conversant in the subject. Contemplative practices draw many influences from their teachings and Merton traveled East to learn. You’ll encounter the same in New Age and occult practices.
     
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  12. Pedra

    Pedra Newbie

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    You might claim it is devoid of religious content, but it is not devoid of spiritual content or effects, the spiritual realm is not benign, it is not a place that only consists of God & His angels, it also encompasses the devil and his demons. It is why Ephesians 6:12 warns Christians to put on the full armor of God and it is why the pagan spiritual practices & occult practices are not compatible with Christianity. Seems the Conservative group knows what it's about while the naysayers are missing that it is a harmful practice.

    Why ‘Mindfulness’ Isn’t Compatible With Christianity

    Ephesians 6:11- "11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities , against the world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
     
  13. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    A monstrance is a religious symbol, usually it has the Host in it. On the other hand, it's difficult to conceive of something as simple as "just sitting" (to borrow the Zen phrase) as being religious in the sense the framer's of the Constitution would have understood it.

    If conservative Evangelicals are seriously opposing a kid just sitting at his desk and being aware of himself sitting at his desk, they really need to get a grip on reality. I think the real motivation is they are upset that the kids aren't being indoctrinated with their religion.
     
  14. Deborah D

    Deborah D Prayer Warrior Supporter

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    This is not a small thing. Anything that leads children to "connect to the universe" leads them away from the one true God of the Bible. This sounds like pantheism (the belief that God is all or all that exists is God), which is the basis for eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. This thinking is very contrary to the biblical Christian truth that God is greater than and transcends His creation.

    As an educator, I have noted for decades that New Age beliefs have been introduced to public school children through various curricula and programs. Mindfulness appears be another avenue for children to be indoctrinated into New Age thought.

    Here's a quote from the article linked in a post above titled "The Dark Side of Mindfulness" from the Christian News Journal.

    Unfortunately, most Americans are completely ignorant about what mindfulness really is. Let us take a moment for a quick peek behind the metaphysical curtain. Mindfulness has been carefully packaged and marketed in America primarily through the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Zinn, envisioned MBSR as a way to “take the heart of something as meaningful, as sacred if you will, as Buddha-dharma and bring it into the world in a way that doesn’t dilute, profane or distort it, but at the same time is not locked into a culturally and tradition-bound framework that would make it absolutely impenetrable to the vast majority of people.” While Zinn’s other promoters have attempted to camouflage the religious roots and purposes of MBSR, according to Zinn himself the “particular techniques” taught in MBSR are “merely launching platforms” for “direct experience of the noumenous, the sacred, the Tao, God, the divine, Nature, silence, in all aspects of life,” resulting in a “flourishing on this planet akin to a second, and this time global, Renaissance, for the benefit of all sentient beings and our world” (emphasis added).
     
  15. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla Well-Known Member

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    I think you’re divorcing the intentional conditions of monasticism which support the practice under controlled settings.

    I’ve spent time in a monastery on several occasions and followed their routine. The realities of cloistered life and an ordered day do not parallel life outside of those confines. There’s no comparison.

    The order I spent time with is stricter than most and the majority of their day is spent in prayer and I followed suit. The spiritual response of attending to God to that degree and what occurred in my daily life are world’s apart.

    While I’ve had to ability to pray the Liturgy of Hours because I’m home there is a striking difference between doing so in society and doing it in isolation with others on one accord.

    I have never encountered the measure of peace that I felt within those walls. It is unlike anything I can replicate at home and I’ve experienced it more than once. The immersion of Him without distraction is markedly different from a moment elsewhere with daily demands.

    It’s a different scale.
     
  16. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 En cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos Supporter

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    Conservative evangelicals have yet to explain coherently how mindfulness could be spiritually harmful. Everybody I have encountered that practices it benefits from it.

    Mindfulness is not a place at all. People that think they are going somewhere in meditation are the ones that are deluded, and that's something that they need to deal with. As the saying goes, "Zen is nothing special".

    Watch the film Dhamma Brothers and tell me this is a "harmful practice", it's a film about felons in prison in Alabama who undergo a ten-day mindfulness retreat.

    I think it's telling of the emotional/spiritual maturity of many Christians that they think self-awareness somehow opens the doorway to evil. That's not that different from the religious leaders in Jesus day who said he cast out ilness through preternatural power. It's just a groundless attempt to poison the well.
     
  17. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Axios! This is the main point, and why I liked RDKirk's earlier post about how this is a chance for Christian parents to teach their children their religion.

    If someone is scared that another religion's practice will destroy their own or weaken their children's adherence to their own, then it is their responsibility to respond with the strong and faithful Christian response. I mean, when I was in high school (before 9/11), we had lessons on Islam where we learned the basics of Islamic history (the sanitized, westernized, patronizing "let's not offend the poor, less advanced brown people by mentioning all the conquest, slavery, and rape" version, but still) and the five pillars, and yet I did not flock to it or even entertain it, but instead ended up as a Coptic Orthodox Christian! And my parents weren't even involved in that, as I was an adult and one of them was dead by the time I was in high school anyway. But alive parents certainly have the responsibility to raise their children. They can't leave it up to the public schools, especially around matters that they feel may touch their religion.

    And this may offend some people, but I would think Christians on Christian Forums of all places would agree that frankly Christianity is quite simply more filling than any new age or "Eastern" religions, so...there's that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So the parent could say "You want mindfulness? Here's St. Anthony. Here's Amma Syncletica. Here's St. Ephrem the Syrian, etc.", and there'd be basically no end to the examples. But people would have to know them first. It's like when Christians sometimes complain about the secular Santa Claus taking over the religious meaning of Christmas. Okay then. Do you know that he is ultimately based on (a heavily secularized and commercialized version of) a real, live Christian saint of the third/fourth century, HG St. Nicholas of Myra? Because if you don't know that, then how can you complain? What are you offering instead?

    Christianity used to offer a strong alternative to the secular world that is now eating it alive (or maybe better said eating its corpse?) in much of the West. Now it seems like it's more based on 'culture war' stuff like this, which it inevitably loses because people are tired of the complaining and witch hunts while offering nothing. Lord have mercy.
     
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  18. Deborah D

    Deborah D Prayer Warrior Supporter

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    I'm curious. Do you have any children? If so, do they attend a public school?
     
  19. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    As far as I've seen, and when I checked into the "Mindfulness" fad when it first began, my initial thought then and still now is: "Wonderful moment for prayer."
     
  20. LaBèlla

    LaBèlla Well-Known Member

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    We needn’t watch the film. The website reveals the source of their influence:

    “The Dhamma Brothers have taken their own passage to India and discovered a practice of meditation that guides them down their inner path to freedom.”
    –John Lewis, U.S. Congressman

    The subtitle of the film clearly states: East Meets West in the Deep South. It premiered on Oprah’s network.

    Sometimes our affinity for things outside of God’s parameters can hinder us from acknowledging its attraction.

    You have provided a resource which contradicts your position and is clearly unsuitable for a Christian audience let alone a child.

    To suggest those who disagree are emotionally or spiritually immature is pretty telling. If we were addressing a Christian topic your remark might have weight. But your susceptibility to the subject has compelled a comment which bears no resemblance to Christ.
     
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