My daughter came home today telling me that in their Bible class, they’ll be reading and discussing Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. I thought that PDL has just about disappeared from the scene, but I was mistaken. Although evangelÂÂicals are as faddish as a 30-second sound byte, they also have a way of clinging to their cherished trinkets (can anyone dig up Promise Keepers, WWJD, Prayer of Jabez, and Passion from the Museum of Evangelical Relics?).
So I thought that I should reiterate what countless others have pointed out (in addition to Scripture misuse and bad theology): that Warren quotes favorably many famous atheists, agnostics, mystics, New Agers, and anti-Christians in his book to support his ideas. Does this tell us anything about the kind of literature Warren likes reading?
For example, right on Day 1, he quotes Bertrand Russell, an atheist, to prove that life is purpose-less without belief in God! And on Day 31, he quotes Aldous Huxley to bolster his idea that we are to share our bad experiences to help others. Huxley sure did that, as he promoted the use of LSD all the way to his deathbed!
Here are a few others in the PDL:
Other good reads on the PDL are Geneva OPC’s “A Review of the Purpose Driven Life,” “The Purpose Drive Life – Guidance or Misguided?” by Dr. Marshall C. St. John, and the funny “Purpose Driven Church Snubs Contemplative Spirituality” by sacredsandwich.com.
1According to Lighthouse Trails Research, contemplative spirituality is “a belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). It is “a form of meditation that endeavors to free the Christianâ€™s mind in order to achieve a mystical experience with God. Common names for this meditation discipline are: Lectio Divina (divine reading), Centering Prayer, Entering the Silence… and Spiritual Formation” (from Sacred Sandwich).
Quietism and “breath prayers” therefore are also forms of contemplative spirituality. Warren says of breath prayers, “[U]se ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath (PDL, 89).
2Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early 19th century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Transcendentalists were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each individual find, in Emerson’s words, “an original relation to the universe.” Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).