www.modernreformation.org has new articles on the 'new spirituality' that threatens the Church. Why should you take a look? Surely you've met folk that talk of communing with God while observing nature, listening to waterfalls, or simply driving a golf ball. What kind of communion...with what kind of god?
A few years ago I wrote a review of this article, in which Thomas clearly draws the connection from Gnosticism to Romanticism to our 'new spirituality'. What is Gnosticism, you may ask? Thomas' point is that you don't have to look at ancient writings to find it--it's alive and well today...too well. Basically it is the idea that knowledge of a secret truth [really private truth] is what we should look for in life. It teaches that the physical world is bad and that we should escape it to find our true selves at peace with the divine glob. My review expressed my frustration with his academic exercise that failed to alert the Church to the error lurking so close. The Church has dealt with this one many times. Today, though, they have big celebrities coming to their aid...cough...Oprah! Thomas went so far as to say that we should incorporate their thoughts into our discourse. That's where I jumped off the train.
So do you know people that claim to get in touch with the divine through private encounters with preferential [private] objects of worship? I sure do. These people generally disdain organized religion of any kind. Not only do they despise the Church & Christianity, but they abhor Catholic expressions like the Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Churches.
Our response should be to ramp up the confrontation only after we've endeared ourselves to them, showing them we are authentically committed to them. This will prevent us treating them as subhuman. They will make this hard for us to get across, pushing all our buttons & setting all our virtues on the grinding wheel. Their concerns about religion's abuses are understandable, but not insurmountable.
Our response should also be to embrace the Church all the more, committing ourselves to her life, well-being, and mission.