I’ve mentioned Lighthouse Trails Research several times over the years on this blog. It’s a sad and pathetic website, created by spiritually-wounded fundamentalist Christians who believe it is their duty to hate mysticism and contemplation and to “warn” others about the “dangers” associated with mystical and contemplative practice.
Yes, I know “hate” is a strong word, but I also believe in stating things plainly: and the plain truth is that Lighthouse Trails Research is a spiritual hate site. The authors seem to have no sense of Christian charity or that it might be possible to have theological disagreements and yet remain in communion as fellow members of the Mystical Body of Christ. As far as the Lighthouse Trails folks are concerned, contemplation and mysticism (which they think is one and the same) is a scourge that must be completely eradicated from the church. Theirs is a take no prisoners style with no room for conversation or dialogue.
So it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to give them a lot of attention; as the Quakers like to say, “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” But I am rather amused to note that on their blog they have just published a long post about The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. This post is biased and mean-spirited like pretty much everything else on their site. It’s also filled with statements that are simply untrue, like: “For those who regularly practice contemplative mysticism, ultimately they come to the conclusion that contemplative prayer is the same as Eastern mysticism.” The Lighthouse Trail folks indulge in such tactics as guilt-by-association, so they make much over the fact that Carolyn Myss endorsed my book (since Myss is a new age writer, to their skewed way of thinking this means my work must be “new age” and therefore “un-Christian”), and then they work backwards, noting that since Brian McLaren and Richard Rohr also endorsed The Big Book, they must be part of the great mysticism conspiracy, and since they work with Richard Foster (who, being an evangelical, is their main target), he must be guilty by association as well. Whew!
Of course, the Lighthouse Trails folks gleefully emphasize my willingness to describe mysticism as a universal phenomenon that has both Christian and non-Christian dimensions. Never mind that the same thing can be said about prayer, or service, or worship, or just about any other element within religion. Their target is always and only mysticism, and to their mind, the fact that such a thing as non-Christian mysticism exists means that all mysticism is “non-Christian.”
Anyway, I’m reminded of the villains in Star Trek called the Borg. Spiritually vacant half-man half-machine drones that are controlled by a centralized hive mind (i.e., can’t think for themselves), the Borg are committed to spreading their toxic technology across the galaxy, assimilating every species into their collective. But what was interesting about the Borg was that if they did not consider you a target or a threat, they ignored you (which allowed the good guys in Star Trek to sneak onto their ships, etc.). Up until now, I have mostly been ignored by the anti-mysticism hate sites online, like Lighthouse Trails Research or Apprising Ministries. So even though they twist my words and use them to attack others, I can’t help but feel just a twinge of satisfaction that my book has received so much attention from the Lighthouse Trails folks. The Big Book is either a target or a threat to them. Woo hoo!
Sigh. In truth, the writers and owners of the Lighthouse Trails Website deserve our heartfelt prayers. Let us pray that God flood them with compassion and understanding and charity. Let us pray that God help them to find healing for whatever it is that troubles their souls to the point that they have to pour so much energy into telling the world how wrong other people are. Of course, I’m sort of doing the same thing in this post, so maybe I need your prayers, too! Only, I think their hatred is not so much evidence of how wrong they are, as how wounded they are. And may God help all of us find healing for our wounds.