Should Christians Meditate?

. at . 6 comments

A lot of people are concerned about the re-emergence of meditationin the Christian church saying it is connected to new age and other cultic movements. Since I don’t know too much about this I was eager to hear what our professor had to say in class and in his book, Spiritual Disciplines of a C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N.

It’s interesting that it is only in the last 150 years that the church has not emphasized meditation.

“Biblical meditaion was common practice,” according to my prof, Gil Stieglitz, “in the Christian church for 1900 years.”

Its definition, “repeating the concepts, ideas and words of Scripture to extract all the richness and wisdom” (65) calmed my qualms.

And knowing that Scripture explains meditation as the following was a further comfort:

  • Delighting in Scripture (Psalm 119:16, 34, 47, 70)
  • Delighting in the Lord (Psalm 37:4)
  • Letting the Word of God richly dwell in your soul (Colossians 3:16) 
  • Setting your mind on things above (Colossians 3:1)
  • Setting your mind on the Spirit (Romans 8:6)
  • Renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) (See page 65.)

Did you know that there are at least 7 kinds of meditation techniques? Do you know them?  Or use any of them?

Entry filed under: Learning, Meditations, Uncategorized.

Special Days Celebrated on March 12th Book Review: Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. doodah  |  . at .

    I have studied Christian spiritual disciplines for a few years now (prayer, fasting, silence, solidude, etc.) and have found a few books to be quite informative: RIchard Foster’s _Celebration of the Disciplines_; Dallas Willard’s _Spirit of the Disciplines_; and John Ortberg’s _The Life You’ve Always Wanted_.

    My church has provided several Sunday school classes on prayer, and in one of them they showed us how to do an old form of Christian Meditation called Lectio Divina (Holy Reading). I like that one b/c it begins and ends with scripture. I’ve been on a few retreats where we have used Lectio Divina as part of our alone time. It is a simple, effective way to let the Holy Spirit open the eyes of my heart about a passage.

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  • 2. Theresa Lindamood  |  . at .

    I haven’t read a lot on it but do know there is a difference between new age meditation and Christian meditation. In new Age/Eastern religions the meditation is so that y ou can focus and find the “god” in you, connecting to the universal spirit. This is obviously evil. I think there is a place for Biblical meditation and I believe David meditated. But I think it is a discipline that is like anything else where there needs to be balance in life. Personally I think living the contemplative life exclusively is bordering on selfish. I guess I am thinking of an OLD Amy Grant song that said, “You’ve got to come down from the mountain top, to the people in the valley below, or they’ll never know, that they to can go, to the mountain of the Lord.” That being said I think we all in this day and age could use a good dose of “Be still and know that I am God.” I’ve heard good things about the Willard and Foster books Doodah mentioned though I have not read either. I know some Christians oppose Foster as bordering on new age and some rave on him and love him. (I worked off and on five years in a Christian book store, not one of the chains, it was actually a real book store and this is where I heard these opinions). I hope you are going to post about the 7 types because I didn’t know it broke down to that many!

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  • 3. lynettejoy  |  . at .

    Looking forward to hearing more. I personally enjoy mediating on a portion of scripture.
    I will sit near a sunny window (or outside). Read a scripture quietly, then outloud. Then close my eyes & let the verse take root.
    Often the verse or even one or two words will stay with me through out the day.
    Been awhile since I have done this. Think I will this morning.

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  • 4. doodah  |  . at .

    ” But I think it is a discipline that is like anything else where there needs to be balance in life. Personally I think living the contemplative life exclusively is bordering on selfish.”

    Exactly right! And I think thats why I decided Foster and Willard are not creepy new-agers 🙂 b/c they very much advocate balance in our growth as Christians. We all have areas where we are stronger than others, and tend to favor those areas (ie – we are really into prayer, but don’t do anything in the area of social justice; or we are really into experiential worship, but tend to neglect bible study – or vice versa).

    I’ve been encouraged in the whole balancing the contemplative live with the active life in a quote from St Bernard of Clairvaux:
    “We should seek to become reservoirs rather than canals. For a canal just allows the water to flow through it, but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, then it can communicate without loss to itself. In the church today, we have many canals but few reservoirs.”

    He wrote that in the 12th century – how much more true it is today in the midst of our fast food, ATM, drive through lives. The constant media onslaught and multitasking and being “highly effective” and “purpose driven”, etc. fill our days up with a lot of activity.

    You are so right that: “we all in this day and age could use a good dose of ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ ”

    I have found that I am much more attentive and compassionate to the needs of those around me, if I make time to be still.

    Good thoughts/discussion!

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  • 5. susan2009  |  . at .

    Yes, Theresa, I will talk about the disciplines as cited by my prof and Richard Foster.

    I agree. This is a great discussion.

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  • 6. Theresa Lindamood  |  . at .

    Doodah, I loved the Bernard quote, it’s so true. I think what bothers me most about modern Christianity (or maybe not so modern because it probably was happening over the centuries) is how we compartmentalize it. Even though we enjoy the priveleges of reading and attaining all the knowledge we can find, having a Christian culture within the church and our own language of Christianese, most people consider Christianity as just a part of who they are. Versus being a Christian/child of God who also is…fill in the blank. In my prayer/study life now I am trying to understand how God wants me to be in Him/with Him/serve Him in all things, in all ways, in all parts of my life, not just my Sunday/Bible STudy Day/time of crisis life. I am going to go over all your notes Susan on the types of meditation there is. This all kind of fits in with what I feel God has been working in my heart. Thanks Susan and Doodah. And Lynette if you read this…I like your way of meditating too!

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