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How many of you remember the Da Vinci Code hoax?

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

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The Da Vinci Code Movie bus ads boldly stated: “Seek the Truth”. I agreed, as only the Truth can set us free. Dan Brown had his ‘religion expert’ Leigh Teabing claim that, “almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” At the start of the ‘Da Vinci Code’ book, Dan Brown pledged, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” These remarkable allegations are at the heart of many scholars’ critique of an otherwise interesting page-turner. Historical accuracy was not the strong suit of the Da Vinci Code fad.

The Right Reverend Dr. Tom Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham and former Oxford scholar, said at Seattle Pacific University that “it is a well-known fact of today’s culture that some people can’t tell fact from fiction.” One third of Canadians, since reading the Da Vinci Code, actually believe that descendants of Jesus are walking the earth today. Dan Brown claimed in his Da Vinci Code book that there really was a Priory of Sion to which Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, and Victor Hugo belonged. Bishop Wright commented that this claim ‘can be shown very easily to be false.’ It is now becoming well-known that the Priory of Sion documents that Dan Brown cites as evidence were ‘forgeries cooked up by three zany Frenchmen in the 1950s.’ In fact, said Bishop Wright, “they cheerfully confessed to this in a devastating television program shown on British television….” As well, CBS’s “60 Minutes” skillfully outed “The Priory of Sion” as a convoluted hoax, created by two Frenchmen, Pierre Plantard and Philippe de Cherisey, in 1956. “

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Historical inaccuracies are found in virtually every chapter of the Da Vinci Code. As Bishop Wright notes, “(Dan) Brown…includes the Dead Sea Scrolls as documents about Jesus. They are nothing of the sort. Neither Jesus nor early Christianity is mentioned anywhere in the scrolls.” Most significantly “there is not the slightest sign, in Nag Hammadi (the gnostic Egyptian scrolls) any more than the Dead Sea Scrolls, of Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and having a child by her.” Giving a holy kiss in the early church was not a sign of a secret marriage, but a mark of being fellow Christians. How many people, for example, would assume that modern Italians are married to everyone that they kiss on the cheeks?

Thanks to Dan Brown, millions of people are scrutinizing Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and Last Supper paintings for evidence of secret mother-goddess worship. Yet Mona Lisa, rather than being an androgynous self-portrait and a secret name for Egyptian fertility goddesses, was actually Madonna Lisa, married to Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo in March 5th 1495. Mona Lisa was a real life Florentine mother of five children, two of which became nuns.

And what about the long-haired, rather effeminate, beardless person in the Last Supper painting? Leonardo in his own notebooks clearly stated that the person closest to Jesus in the Last Supper painting was John the beloved disciple, not Mary Magdalene as an alleged secret mother-goddess and wife. Credible art historians tell us that John the beloved, as the youngest of the twelve disciples, was always painted by medieval painters as looking young, beardless, and somewhat effeminate from 21st-century standards. All one needs to debunk Dan Brown’s Last Supper allegations is to be able to count up to thirteen. As everyone knows that there were 12 disciples plus Jesus present at the Last Supper, the supposed addition of Mary Magdalene to the Last Supper painting would have required fourteen people in the painting. Count it for yourself: you will only find thirteen!

Did Leonardo’s journals include secret codes and messages, as the Da Vinci Code movie advertisements are telling us? Dr. Ward Gasque explains that Leonardo’s journals were written in common Italian, but from right to left instead of the opposite method employed today. This makes perfect sense as Leonardo was left handed. Leonardo’s journals are still on display today and can be read easily with the help of a bathroom mirror, but no secret codes or messages have ever been uncovered in his journals.

Dr. Stephen Andrews comments: “Why is it not obvious that The Da Vinci Code is meant for entertainment, not education? It has about as much historical credibility as Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.” Dr. Andrews elaborates that contrary to Dan Brown’s claims, “the Roman Catholic lay movement, Opus Dei, does not have monks; Westminster Abbey does not have spires; (and) the Christian habit of worshipping on Sundays was not a Constantinian accommodation to paganism, but predates Constantine by 200 years…”

Dan Brown claimed that the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century invented the concept of Jesus being God in order to consolidate his hold on the Roman Empire: “My dear”, Teabing declared, “Until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet…” “Not the Son of God?” (said Sophie). “Right”, Teabing said. In fact, as Bishop Tom Wright notes, “the divinity of Jesus was already firmly established by Paul within 20 to 30 years of Jesus’ death.”

This claim to Jesus’ deity was not a 4th century ‘Johnny-come-lately’ invention. In 110AD, Ignatius of Antioch, Syria refers to Christ as God, saying “God Himself was manifested in human form”. In 150 AD, Clement of Alexandria, Egypt said “It is fitting that you should think of Jesus Christ as of God” In 180 AD, Irenaeus of Lyon, France said of Jesus that: “He is God, for the name Emmanuel indicates this”. In 235 AD, Novatian of Rome, speaking of Jesus, said”…He is not only man, but God also…”

Dan Brown rejected the trustworthiness of the New Testament by asserting in the Da Vinci Code (p. 256) that “history is always written by the winners.” But anyone who knows anything about Christian history knows that the early Christians were anything but “winners.” The early Christians were persecuted, outlawed and even murdered. Some Christians were thrown into the arena to be eaten by lions. Other were tied up on poles, drenched with fuel, and lit as streetlamps at night.

“We may safely conclude”, said Bishop Wright, “that the Da Vinci Code is fiction not just in its characters and plot but in most of its other details as well.” I encourage Christians in particular not to be defensive about the Da Vinci Code movie/book, but rather, as 1 Peter 3:15 puts it, to always be ready to answer those who ask us for the reason for the hope within us, always with gentleness and respect. I strongly commend Lee Strobel’s brilliant video-based website on the Da Vinci Code  and his book “Exploring the Da Vinci Code” which can be purchased online. The good news of Jesus Christ has nothing to fear from money-making hoaxes.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Check out Praise Moves, a Christian alternative to yoga

Laurette Willis​ knows what she is talking about, as she was formerly into yoga and the New Age Christian Alternative to Yoga - Praise Movesmovement for 21 years from the age of 7.  Her booklet and webinair are very instructive.  I encourage you to send this viral to your  friends. Praise Moves is offering a Christian alternative to #yoga, doing healthy stretching and calisthenics without serving two masters.

http://40day.weebly.com/truth.html

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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A Response to Anton Drake from Reverend Ed Hird

http://beforeitsnews.com/christian-news/2013/05/a-response-to-anton-drake-from-reverend-ed-hird-2474814.html

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/a-response-to-anton-drake-from-reverend-ed-hird-252728.htm

A Response to Anton Drake from Reverend Ed Hird

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 23:50

(Before It’s News)

Hollywood, CA — Last week I wrote a press release to promote the new book Atheist Yoga by Anton Drake. As part of that press release, which can be foundhere, I conducted an interview with Mr. Drake, and one of the topics of discussion was a recent article by Reverend Ed Hird that centered on the idea that the practice of yoga is something unsuitable for Christians. Anton had read that particular article, and had several comments about it; Reverend Hird subsequently contacted me and requested a chance to offer a rebuttal, feeling that some of what he had said had been misconstrued.

 

Here is Reverend Hird’s response to the Atheist Yoga press release:

[ Having read Anton Drake’s new book ‘Atheist Yoga’, I am fascinated by the extent to which so many atheists are focused on a God that they ostensibly don’t even believe in; many of them seem to think more about God than most Christians do, and I can’t help thinking that it’s almost as if they are obsessed with this allegedly non-existent God. When I think of God, I see the face of Jesus.  Anton is correct when he said “if someone is an atheist, they lack a belief in God.” This is undebatable. Many people don’t realize that Buddha, as a reformed Hindu, was an atheist who continued to do Hindu yoga; one of the most famous pictures of the Buddha shows him in the yogic lotus position. Buddhist usually call their yoga ‘meditation’, but a rose by any other name is still a rose. Buddhism was founded as an atheistic religion. In this sense Anton Drake is clearly right—there is no incompatibility between Anton being an atheist and doing yoga. Anton, like his fellow atheist Buddha, is clearly involved in a spiritual/religious practice.

 

In an interview released May 9th 2013, Mr. Drake made some comments about my article “Culture Wars: Yoga, More than Meets the Eye” that clearly demonstrate the extent to which he has completely misunderstood the meaning and intent of the article. In the interview, Anton stated that “although I am what you might call a dogmatic atheist, I find the reverend Hird’s ideas on this matter to be quite prejudicial, and even somewhat racial and xenophobic” While I enjoyed reading the interview, I find it unfortunate that Anton will dismiss someone as racist and xenophobic simply because they have reservations about syncretistically mixing two different religions. My hero E. Stanley Jones, who lived for 50 years as a Methodist missionary in India and wrote a book about Gandhi called ‘Portrait of a Friend,’ actually started the United Christian Ashram movement, of which I have served on the international board. My main point here is that I have always had great respect for the East Indian people, just as my friend Stanley Jones did.

 

In the same interview, which was titled “Ed Hird, Encinitas, and the Fear of Yoga, An Interview with Anton Drake Part 2,” Anton mentioned that “Many of the Hindu friends I’ve had through the years have actually kept a picture or a statue of Jesus on their altar or puja, right next to the other pictures of gurus and deities they revered. That always impressed me.” It is a good thing to show respect to other religious traditions; however, because Hinduism allegedly has 330 million gods, adding Jesus to the Hindu pantheon does not really respect the integrity of the Judeo-Christian heritage. To serve two masters, as Jesus cautioned against, is not showing true respect for other religious traditions. I do not question the prerogative of new-agers, atheists, or Hindus to practise yoga. I am asking for some transparency about what yoga really is about, particularly when they package it for Christians. Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism. Nine out of ten Hindus agree that yoga is Hinduism. Without yoga, there is no Hinduism. Without Hinduism, there is no yoga. Many Hindu gurus claim with no evidence that Jesus went to India and became a yoga teacher. They also hold that Jesus as a yogi was teaching reincarnation because he wanted us to be born again. Once again, this does not show respect or understanding for other important religious faiths.

 

Mr. Drake also seemed particularly offended by my comment that yoga ‘kills the mind’. This is merely quoting key yogis who see that as one of the key benefits of yoga. Christian meditation is about focusing on God’s Word thoughtfully rather than the elimination of thought. Sensory deprivation and sensory overload, both key aspects of advanced yoga, are proven techniques for the ‘killing of the mind’. Yoga does not require belief to alter the mind. It just requires intensive yogic practice. It is the technique that produces the effect. Yoga asanas appear to the uninitiated as if they are just stretching exercises. The more fully initiated realize that asanas are worship postures to Hindu deities. The Warrior asana, for example, is identified with the worship of Lord Virabhadra who has a thousand arms, three burning eyes, and a garland of skulls. The Cobra asana is about identification with and worship of the Kundalini snake, yogically awakened in the chakras. The yoga insiders all know the real scoop. They also know that North Americans are not quite ready yet for the full truth about the religious identity of yoga.

 

Further into the interview, Anton stated that “Although his [Rev. Hird’s ] article is fairly well written and seems to make some good points on the surface, if one looks a bit closer it reveals itself as absurdly, almost comically xenophobic; simply consider how easy it would be to apply the same arguments he uses to sushi, origami, or Asian forms of dance.” Among other things, I am particularly curious about Anton’s teaser comment “Good points on the surface.” I am hoping that in the future, Anton could perhaps elaborate on this. As for the xenophobic comment, this was clearly not one of Anton’s strongest arguments. To suggest that people who have reservations about yoga must also be against sushi, chai tea, and curry is comical. Anton, who has never met me, keeps saying that I am xenophobic simply because I dare to question yoga. I find Mr. Drake’s comments along this line to be unfortunate and even intolerant. I ask, is there still room within our Western democratic cultures to raise questions without being stereotyped or villified?

 

Anton Drake then goes on to say that schoolchildren should obviously be taught yoga: “Schoolchildren should obviously be allowed to learn yoga; restricting western children from learning yoga on the basis of religion is barbaric, and not just from an atheistic point of view.” The terms ‘should’ and ‘allowed’ go in two different directions. Public schools do not ‘allow’ religious practices, whether Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or New Age, to be mandated for the children. If yoga is in fact inherently religious, this would be violating the Encinita School Board’s own legal parameters. Is it really respectful to mandate yogic Hinduism for children attending the Public School system? What if this violates the faith perspective of the children’s parents? Should they be dismissed as barbaric, to use Mr. Drake’s words? At the core of democracy is the freedom of religion, and the freedom to question. No one will win if yoga ever becomes so culturally entrenched that our schools begin imposing it as part of their everyday curriculum, and thereby elevate it to the status of an unquestioned academic truth or authority.

 

Drake also says, and I quote, that “He [Rev. Hird] of course takes it completely for granted that any spiritual tradition outside of Christianity or western culture is intrinsically evil and antithetical to every form of goodness.” However, where he is wrong is that I am in no way a defender of Western culture as somehow superior to Eastern culture. I find much wisdom and value in all cultures, and in all religions. We need to be respectful to other religious traditions, especially when we do not understand them. I simply ask that Christians be not asked to compromise their religious identity in the midst of a well-packaged yoga marketing strategy. Yoga is a ten-billion dollar industry these days in North America, and we simply cannot overlook our core cultural principles in rushing to spread the indoctrination of yoga into our schools. While Anton Drake “the atheist” spoke a lot about demons and evil, you will notice that I did not, and this was not at all the focus of my article. I simply wish to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ in one’s life. And my contention is that if Jesus is my Lord, then yoga is not. I can live without yoga, while still respecting the right of others who wish to practice it. ]

 

I am scheduled to do another interview with Anton soon, and I will be sure to bring this topic up to him again and ask him some additional questions as well.

 

Media Contact
Karen Anderson
Marketing Director
Puragreen Productions LLC
717 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA, 90024
Email: Karen@puragreen.com
Web: http://puragreen.com

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Taekwondo and the Martial Arts: Mere Exercise or Trojan Horse??

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

I was personally involved in Martial Arts, Karate in particular, for a number of years between the period of 1971 to 1991.  My enthusiasm for martial arts even led me to successfully recruit other Christians to join me.  Through the prayer ministry of the group Wholeness Through Christ, I chose to renounce my previous involvement in the martial arts.  Previously, I was opposed to some of my friends dabbling in community centre yoga, but had rationalized my involvement in the martial arts as something innocuous.

In the spring of 1999, my sons discussed with me the expectation that they would take part in Taekwondo as part of their Christian school gym class.  In discussing our concerns with their principal, it was agreed that my sons would be exempted from this expectation.  It was also agreed that I would do some research regarding our concerns about Taekwondo, and present my findings in a paper to the principal and the school board.

As a renewal-oriented Anglican, I believe that it is vital that the charismatic gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10) not be neglected in this neo-gnostic, confused age.  As part of the discernment process, I carefully researched dozens of pro-martial arts books, with a special emphasis on taekwondo books.  I also consulted extensively with a good number of taekwondo and Martial Arts instructors from North America and around the world.  My research led me to believe that taekwondo and the Martial Arts (MA) are far more than just physical gym exercises.  Rather Taekwondo and MA are Zen Buddhist meditational techniques designed to bring a person into the experience of satori or Buddhist enlightenment.[1]  As Buddhism essentially is reformed Hinduism, so too the Martial Arts are essentially Martial Yoga.  Few westerners have enough experience with Zen Buddhism to initially notice the hidden religious nature of martial arts.  Chuck Norris, famous for his role as Walker on the TV show Texas Ranger, holds unreservedly that ‘the ancient system of Zen (is) the core philosophy behind the martial arts.’[2]  It is no coincidence that the occult circular symbol of Ying-Yang constantly appears on even many innocuous-looking Taekwondo websites and brochures.[3] One of the goals of Taekwondo and other martial arts is to enter a zazen meditational state so that ‘the everyday experience of the dualism of subject and object vanishes.’[4]

In the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs , John Ankerberg and John Weldon state that “Because most (martial arts) methods incorporate eastern teaching and techniques, the martial arts are easy doorways into Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and other non-Christian religions.”[5]  They went on to comment that “Traditionally, martial arts are forms of spiritual education that function as means towards self-realization or self-enlightenment.  It is true that the spiritual dimension of martial arts can be downplayed or ignored, but that is not consistent with their ultimate purpose historically.”[6]

Taekwondo and other martial arts can be traced to a 6th century Buddhist monk Bodhidharma who travelled from India to China and established Zen Buddhism at the Shaolin temple of Ko San So Rim.  There he taught them both sitting meditation and the martial arts (moving meditation) to enable his disciples to free themselves from all conscious control in order to attain enlightenment.[7]

Since Taekwondo’s Olympic debut in 1988, its popularity has spread like wildfire across the world.[8] Taekwondo means ‘ Hand (Tae) and Foot (kwon) Way (do).  According to the official WTF Taekwondo book, Taekwondo ‘is now the national sport of Korea.’[9]  Eddie Ferrie holds that ‘every child in (Korean) school is compelled to practise Taekwondo…’[10]  David Mitchell notes that Taekwondo ‘is taught to all members of the Korean armed forces’.[11]  It is estimated that 20 –30 million people worldwide now have been initiated into Taekwondo.[12]

One of the major concerns by Christian researchers is the sitting meditation commonly done in Taekwondo and most Martial Arts.  The Fighting Back Taekwondo book describes the Chung Shin Tomil or sitting meditation as ‘another essential part of your taekwondo training’.[13] “Before and after any taekwondo class, the students meditate…first, you may be asked to clear your mind of all thought and to relax completely…The 2nd method of meditation is related to visualization.”[14]  Mitchell claims that ‘…the empty mind (is) needed to master taekwondo.’[15]  Key to both Buddhist and Hindu occult meditation is manipulation of one’s breathing, which is described as Hohup chojul and Jiptung (synchronized breathing) in Taekwondo.  In contrast, biblical meditation is meditating on God’s written Word the Bible, rather than meditating on the empty mind by using occult breathing and visualization techniques.

Another area of concern relates to the ritual forms or poomse used in Taekwondo.  The karate equivalent to the poomse is the kata patterns.  As the Taekwondo author and instructor Eddie Ferrie puts it, “Many of the patterns of taekwondo are rooted in semi-mystical Taoist philosophy and their deeper meaning is said to be far more important than the mere performance of a gymnastics series of exercises.  This is not immediately obvious, either when performing or watching the poomse being performed…”[16] The eight Taegeuk poomses performed in taekwondo are derived from the eight triagrams of the occult I’Ching.[17] Richard Chun holds that ‘the forms of Taekwondo…are more than physical exercises: they are vehicles for active meditation.’[18]

One of the most questionable poomse patterns is the Ilyo or Ilyeo poomse.  Ferrie teaches that the “Ilyo is a pattern which has a spiritual orientation containing 24 movements.  The title of the pattern refers to the development of a state of spiritual enlightenment which is one of the ultimate aims of the disciple of taekwondo.  The student who has attained Ilyo is capable of completely spontaneous reaction without any interference from the conscious mind.”[19] I was surprised to find out that the Ilyo poomse is done in the shape of an actual swastika.  Hitler stole this ancient occult symbol from the Buddhists and Hindus who had used it for centuries as a symbol of monism (all is one, and all is God).[20]  The Taekwondo Textbook teaches that ‘The line of poomse symbolizes the Buddhist mark (swastika) in commemoration of Saint Wonho (or Won Hyo), which means a state of perfect selflessness in Buddhism where origin, substance, and service come into congruity.’[21] The Buddhist swastika in Taekwondo ‘teaches that a point, a line, or a circle ends up after all in one.  Therefore the poomse Ilyeo represents the harmonization of spirit and body which is the essence of martial arts.’[22] The swastika in Taekwondo has the occult (i.e. Hidden) purpose of teaching the higher-level students that all is one and all is God.

In conclusion, my research and personal experience has led me to the conviction that Taekwondo and the Martial Arts are not merely physical exercise, but in fact are Zen Buddhist meditational practices, both in their sitting and moving forms.  Taekwondo and MA are a Trojan Horse in the House of the Lord, eroding the spiritual barriers between Zen Buddhism and the Christian Gospel, and potentially leading vulnerable children and teens into the early stages of eastern occultism.  As a result of this research, our Christian School Board decided to no longer offer Taekwondo or other Martial Arts.  The good news about religious syncretism is that it is never too late to repent and start afresh, serving one Master and one Master alone, Jesus Christ our Lord (Matthew 6:24)

 p.s. To explore more about the Yoga connection, click on my article Yoga: more than meets the Eyes?

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

Past Chair, Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada

   -previously published in the February 2,000 Anglicans for Renewal Canada Magazine

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

[1] Karate* Tool for Christian Evangelism or Zen Buddhism?

[2] Chuck Norris, The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, Top Kick Productions, 1996, inside cover; ‘…Zen is integral to the Oriental martial arts…(p. 23)’

[3] Taekwondo Textbook, Oh Sung Publishing Company, Kukkiwon Edition, p. 235; The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Taekwondo, Karen Eden & Keith Yates, Alpha Books, New York, 1998, p. 22

[4] Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th Edition, ‘Martial Arts’, p. 886

[5] John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, 1996, Oregon, p. 351

[6] Ankerberg and Weldon, Op. Cit., p. 356

[7] Richard Chun, Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art, Toronto, 1976, p. 2

[8] Fighting Back: Taekwondo for Women, YH Park Publications, 1993, p. 8

[9] David Mitchell, Official WTF Taekwondo, Antler Books, London, 1986, back cover

[10] Eddie Ferrie, , Taekwondo: Traditional Art and Modern Sport, The Crowford Press, UK, 1989, p. 101

[11] Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 9

[12] J.S. Eldon, Essential Taekwondo Patterns, Paul Crompton Ltd, London, 1994, p. 5; The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Taekwondo, Op. Cit., p. 18

[13] Fighting Back, Op. Cit., p. 150

[14] Op. Cit., p. 150

[15] Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 12

[16] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99

[17] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99, p. 100

[18] Chun, Op. Cit., p. 34

[19] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 100

[20] Taekwondo Textbook, Op. Cit., p. 235, p. 506

[21] Taekwondo Textbook, Op. Cit., p. 506 “Won Hyo is a 28 movement form or poomse which is named after the 7th century monk who purportedly introduced Zen Buddhism to Korea. (Ferrie, p. 101)”

[22] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 506

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


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Dr Jean Houston and the Labyrinth Movement

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 It was fascinating for me to visit the birthplace of the original Labyrinth movement, the Cretan palace of Knossos.  In North America, due to the influence of new-age leader Dr Jean Houston and Lauren Artress from San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, labyrinths have been appearing everywhere, including at my old alma mater and the church where my grandmother had her funeral.[1]   Ironically, the emphasis in the actual written documentation about Labyrinth usage was not how to enter the labyrinth but how to escape the labyrinth.

The labryinth story starts with King Minos, the legendary founder of the Cretan Minoan civilization.  Minos rejected a beautiful bull offered him by a Greek deity.  Because of this rejection, the Greek deity had Minos’ wife have physical intimacy with another bull, giving birth to a troublesome son, the Minotaur, half bull/half human.  To contain this difficult ‘teenager’, Daedalus built the labryinth, which essentially functioned as a prison for King Minos’ awkward step-child.[2]

You all understand how hungry ‘teens’ can be. So King Minos demanded six young Athenian men and six young Athenian women to be sacrificed at the Labryinth where they would be eaten by his Minotaur step-son.

The book Heritage Walks in Athens comments that “in myth again, Athens’ most important King was Theseus, son of Aigeus, who defeated the Minotaur and released the city from the vassal’s tax paid to Crete.”[3]  Theseus escaped from the labyrinth after his girlfriend Princess Ariadne gave him the thread to follow out of the Labyrinth back to freedom.[4]

The term Labyrinth comes from the Lydian term Labyrs which means “double-headed ax”, an object of cult worship among the Minoan Cretans.[5]  While at the National Museum of Crete, I took a picture of an actual historic “Labyrs/Double-Edged Ax”, an object of worship used in the labyrinth to devoFile:Theseus Minotaur Mosaic.jpgur the young.[6]  The Labyrinth is the place of the sacred ax used ritually to decapitate victims while offering them to the sacred Minotaur bull.  Similarly to the Canaanite/Philistine bull god Baal, the Cretan sacred bull was worshipped for its male sexuality and power.[7]

 A ex-new-ager who attended our congregation participated a while ago in the Labyrinth. Upon walking to the centre of the circle, she immediately sensed a dark spiritual vortex sucking her down. [8] Fortunately, being a Spirit-filled Christian, she later renounced her involvement in the Labyrinth and through prayer was cut free from the bondage that she was sensing.

Being westerners, we often fail to realize that seemingly harmless ‘physical’ techniques can have significant questionable spiritual impact on our lives. An example of this might be how many people innocently get hooked into Hatha yoga through the guise of a community centre yoga course.  Because Hatha yoga appears to westerners to be merely physical in nature, we fail to see the religious syncretism that we are involving ourselves in.  Nothing from a Hindu perspective is merely physical, because for Hinduism, the physical is merely an illusion.  So-called physical yoga asanas are designed to open the psychic door to the Hindu deities through ritual reenactment of specific Hindu deities.  Community-Centre Yoga is in reality the ‘marijuana’ entry-level drug of the new age world.[9]

One of the patterns with the dozens of new-age fads sweeping North America and the West Coast in particular is that they all pop up out of the blue but claim to have rediscovered an ancient secret technique that we all need.  Many of them, including the fast-growing Labyrinth fad, even reconstruct a plausible but misleading Christian history used to persuade well-meaning Christians.[10] The Labyrinth, as currently practiced, has very little to do with the Chartres Cathedral, and very much to do with Dr. Jean Houston’s impact on the new-age-friendly Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.[12]  The alleged Chartres connection is somewhat like a post-modern sound bite, a recently invented media-driven ‘history’. There is no written history of labyrinth walking at Chartres. All we have is the fact of an unused labyrinth on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral. It is like an empty crab shell into which anything can crawl. Nature hates a vacuum. Is the Chartres situation being used as a legitimization for introducing new age practices into unsuspecting churches? There are also astrological symbols in the stained glass window at Chartres, but no one yet is recommending taking part in ‘christian’ astrology classes because of Chartres.

Dr. Jean Houston, who is ground zero for the labyrinth movement, is listed on the Internet as one of the 10 top New Age speakers in North America[13]  The inside cover of Jean Houston’s 1997 book A Passion for the Possible describes herself as ‘considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest teachers…’  Of concern to renewal-oriented Christians is that Houston teaches her students on the ‘Mystery School’ how to speak in occult glossolalia.  She encourages her participants to ‘begin describing your impressions in glossolalia’ and even to ‘…write a poem in glossolalia.’[14]  This counterfeit phenomenon, of course, does not discredit the genuine Christian gift of tongues/glossolalia that is available after renouncing the occult, receiving Jesus as Lord, and asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

As a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, Jean makes use of her doctorate in ‘Philosophy of Religion’[15] to gain access to areas where most new-agers and occultists can’t go.  For example, as noted widely in media a number of years ago[16], she became a consultant to Hillary Clinton, helping her to ‘channel’ the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Labyrinth, also called the Dromenon[17], is the official symbol of Dr. Jean Houston’s new-age ‘Mystery School’ which one paid $3,775 to be initiated into over a series of 9 weekends.[18]    Houston describes her Mystery School students as ‘…the dancers of the Dromenon…’.[19]

In Houston’s book The Mythic Life, she credits H.F. Heard’s novel Dromenon with its ‘psychophysical state of ecstasy and spiritual awakening’ as the inspiration to adopting the image of the Dromenon/Labyrinth as the symbol of her work.[20]

Heard, a Vedanta Yoga devotee of Swami Prabhavananda, was an early pioneer of the New Age and even the Hippy movements with his recommendation of LSD and fire walking as spiritual initiation exercises.[21]  Jean Houston notes:

Again I owe a considerable debt to Gerald Heard, for it was under the name of H.F. Heard that he published a remarkable fictional story ‘Dromenon’, the inspiration of which provided me with the naming of my own first center. In the story, an archeologist encounters a therapy in stone, a mystical transformation of body, mind and spirit…An example of the Dromenon can be found on page 1 (of Heard’s book The Great Fog).  This is the famous dromenon found on the floor of Chartres Cathedral.  I often use this in my seminars by inscribing it on the floor and having the participants walk its pathways, always to great effect.[22]

Heard’s novel tells the story of an architectural student who, with the help of an Orphic/hermetic soul-guide, gains gnostic enlightenment after dancing through a labyrinth concealed beneath a British church building.[23]  The labyrinth dance, according to Heard, is meant to be a reenactment of the dancing Hindu deity Shiva, the definitive symbol of yoga.[24]  Canon Lauren Artress from Grace Cathedral brought the Labyrinth back to her Cathedral after experiencing the Labyrinth at Jean Houston’s Mystery School.[25] Artress notes that she was hardly prepared for the force of my own reaction. As soon as I set foot into the labyrinth I was overcome with an almost violent anxiety. Some part of me seemed to know that in this ancient and mysterious archetype, I was encountering something that would change the course of my life.[26]

It is interesting that Artress, with her Cathedral connection, became far more prominent in her labyrinth promotion than her new age mentor.  Artress notes:

I worked with Jean Houston in her Mystery School in 1985. In 1986, I was asked to serve as Canon Pastor at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco…These programs eventually led me to the rediscovery of the labyrinth in 1991 when I returned to the Mystery School for one weekend.[27]

Jean Houston wrote in her book The Possible Human about ‘…the growth of Dromenon (Labyrinth) communities.[28]  As acknowledged in labyrinth websites, the labyrinth is a mandala[29], which is actually a Hindu ‘occult’ meditation process brought to the Western world by the grandfather of the New Age, Dr. Carl Jung.[30]

Is it a mere coincidence that the labyrinth resembles the coiling of the yogic kundalini snake? Is the Labyrinth actually a form of walking yoga?  Might the labyrinth be a thinly disguised yogic initiation rite into new age oneness, into the gnostic reconciliation of gender opposites?[31]  It is unthinkable for many westerners to imagine that walking the labyrinth might yogically kill the mind and remove one’s sense of self.

The Labyrinth has since spread to thousands of towns and cities, and is making a measurable impact in Canada.  Artress claimed that “over a million people have walked the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral alone…”[32]  Even the infamous Starhawk, the self-declared practicing witch and colleague of Matthew Fox, is walking the labyrinth nowadays [33].  One of the stated purposes of the Labyrinth is to connect us to the mother goddess, of which the labyrinth is a symbol.  In her book ‘Walking A Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool’, Canon Artress states that “The labyrinth is a large, complex spiral circle which is an ancient symbol for the divine mother, the God within, the goddess, the holy in all creation.”[34]  Artress says that “You walk to the center of the labyrinth and there at the center, you meet the Divine.”[35] Jean Houston claims that “As we encounter the archetypal world within us, a partnership is formed whereby we grow as do the gods and goddesses within us.”[36]  To Jean Houston, it seems that all of life is made up of polytheistic labyrinths.

In her book The Hero & the Goddess, she recommended: ‘Now, taking a favorite god or goddess by the hand, a Greek one this time, explore the labyrinthian winding of your left hemisphere…Take the deity by the hand and begin to explore the labyrinth winding of your right hemisphere, the place of intuition.’[37]  My prayer, as Jean Houston’s new-age Labyrinth fad impacts the Church, is that we may be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

Footnotes


 [1] Rev Dr Ed Hird,”Dr Jean Houston & the Labyrinth Movement”, Anglicans for Renewal Canada magazine,  May 2,000.

[2] Barry Unsworth, Crete, (National Geographic Society, Washington, DC, 2004), 48. In Chania, Crete,  is found “the  Ikarus Street, named for was the son of the great artificer Daedalus, who built the labyrinth.  Father and son were kept imprisoned in this same labyrinth by King Minos.  Daedalus made wings for them both out of wax and feathers (but the son flew too close to the sun and the wax melted).”

[3] Heritage Walks in Athens, (Municipality of Athens Cultural Organization,  Athens), Greece, 8.

[4] Hans  George Wunderlich, The Secret of Crete, (Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc., New York, NY, 1974), 44.

[5] Unsworth, 116.

[6] During the Nazi takeover of Greece (1936-1941), the Greek Fascist Youth EON (Ethniki Organosi Neolaias) adopted the labyrs as their main symbol. Black Metal fans in Greece still use the labrys as a symbol of Greek Neopaganism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrys (Accessed Nov 26th 2013)

[7]Nicholas Platon, Crete, (Frederick Muller Limited, London, Nagel Publishers, 1966), 183 “…the important part played by the worship of the bull, suggests that the bull symbolized the male creative force and that the bull was worshipped in this form.” Some scholars say that the bull was a symbol of Zeus.

[8] One Grace Cathedral Labyrinth advocate said that “Labyrinths predate Christianity by over a millennium.  The most famous labyrinth from ancient times was the Cretan one, the supposed lair of the mythological Minotaur, which Theseus slew with the aid of Ariadne and her spool of thread. rituals…” 597 Peter Corbett, “Pathfinders: Walking medieval labyrinths in a modern world,” 2, http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/features/fea_19981120_txt.shtml,  (Accessed April 1st 2,000) ;  Jean Houston, Life Force: The Psycho-Historical Recovery of the Self (Delacorte Press, a division of the Theosophical Publishing House, New York, 1980), 263-64 “Now looking at the labyrinth on the floor of Chartres, we remember the searching language of physicists who…describe the structure of our universe as a vortex ring.”

[9] My ‘Yoga: More than Meets the Eyes’ article has already been read by more than 130,000 people since April 2013.

[10]Lee Penn, Fall 1999 issue of the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project www.scp-inc.org  http://fatima.freehosting.net/Articles/Art7.htm

[11] The Chartres labyrinth dates from sometime between 1194 and 1220. These dates are determined by the great fire of 1194, which destroyed most of the cathedral and the city of Chartres. By 1220 the section of the nave housing the labyrinth had been rebuilt by Bishop Fulbert.  Lee Penn LeePenn@aol.com has done careful research showing that the Labyrinth-based relationship between Chartres Cathedral to Grace Cathedral, San Francisco is a clear example of ‘the tail wagging the dog’, of ‘life imitating art’.  Grace Cathedral have been giving strong leadership in Chartres’ ‘reintroduction’ of the Labyrinth, even to the point of making Chartres’ Dean Legaux an honorary Grace Cathedral Canon.

[13] Voices of a New Age Video (1999), Penny Price Productions, E! Online Fact Sheet, “Ten different New Age luminaries voice their view about the possibilities of the human spirit for healing the body, the mind, and the earth.”; http://talkcity.com/transcripts/970313.Houston.html (Accessed April 1st 2,000)

[14]  Jean Houston, GodSeed: the Journey of Christ, (Quest Books, The Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, USA, 1992), 50, 51.

[15] http://skepdic.com/houston.html  1998 Robert Todd Carroll (Accessed May 1998)

[16] Bob Woodward in ‘The Choice’; The Providence Journal Bulletin, Tuesday, 6/25/96, A3.

[17] http://www.jeanhouston.org/labyrinth/dromenon.html

“drom-e-non. – n. Ancient Gk: a ritual pattern of dynamic expression, a therapeutic dance rhythm in which participants experience second birth into a higher order of consciousness and community;…” (accessed April 1st 2,000)

[18] http://www.jeanhouston.org/ms.physical1999/ms1999f.html  (Accessed April 1st 2,000); Houston, Life Force,“In 1975, I founded the Dromenon Center, which was named after ancient Greek rites of growth and transformation, in Pomona New York.” (accessed May 18th 2014)

[19]  Jean Houston, The Possible Human (Torcher: Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1982), ix; Jean Houston, The Mythic Life (Harper San Francisco, 1996), 186.; “Mystery School 1997”, http://www.motley-focus.com/mysteryschool97.html (accessed May 18th 2014)

[20] http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/nca/spiritual-perspectives/sacred.html (National Episcopal Cathedral Website) “Keynote speaker, the Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Canon for Special Ministries at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, first encountered a labyrinth in a workshop at psychologist Jean Houston’s Mystery School.” (accessed April 1st 2000)

 [21] Houston, Life Force, xxv, xviii, xix. (accessed May 18th 2014), “The psycho-technology that Heard advised as providing an initiation of movement from one stage of life to the next was sometimes outrageous and often surreal (LSD, electrical stimulation, walking on fire.)”; http://www.geraldheard.com ; Note: Houston herself was a pioneering LSD researcher ‘working with hundreds of research subjects since 1965’.

[22] Houston, Life Force, p. xxv. http://tiny.cc/2tr3fx (accessed May 18th 2014)

[23] H.F. Heard, The Great Fog:Weird Tales of Terror and Detection (Vanguard Press, New York, NY, 1944); Houston,  Life Force, p. 279.http://tiny.cc/2tr3fx (accessed May 18th 2014)

[24] Houston, Life Force, quoting Heard “Waiting for the Third Act”, London Times Literary Supplement, June 6th 1960, p. 355ff. “Beyond tragedy lies metacomedy.  The central figure of that comedy is known in Asiatic drama… The central figure who dances out of the cosmos, Shiva, consummates laughter and tears in an ecstasis that goes beyond pleasure and pain.”; Note: The definitive symbol of yoga is the Nataraj asana, known as the dancing Shiva who ‘dances’ destruction upon any distinctions (avidya) between the Creator and creation, good and evil, male and female. http://www.theyogatutor.com/natarajasana The Yoga Teacher Tirusula Yoga, “Nata= Dancer. Raja = King / Lord” http://bit.ly/TNFTRV  (Accessed Dec 23rd 2012).

[25] Kristen Fairchild, “A Passion for the Possible: An Interview with Jean Houston,” The Spire, Textures 11/04/97 www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment (accessed April 1st 2,000) , 4, “Jean Houston, Ph.D. is the best-selling author of many books…She has been mentor and teacher of Dr.  Lauren Artress, Founder of Veriditas, at Grace Cathedral.”; Jean Houston, The Possible Human, 1982, 51.

[26]  Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path (Penguin Group, New York, NY, 1995), 2.

[27] “Collective Wisdom Initiative: Self-Portrait”, Reverend Lauren Artress “The work of symbolic fields has a Jungian base, since I am working with archetypes, symbol, shadow and encounters with collective unconscious.”  http://www.collectivewisdominitiative.org/files_people/Artress_Lauren.htm  (accessed May 18th 2014) Note: Is Artress’ Jungian connection merely coincidental or foundational to the Labyrinth fad?

[28]  Jean Houston, The Possible Human, 1982, 51.

[29] Peter Corbett, “Pathfinders: Walking medieval labyrinths in a modern world,” http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/features/fea_19981120_txt.shtml  “True meditation occurs when the physical brain has been pacified, kept busy with a mantra or a mandala, so the  spiritual mind is then free to wander on its own, and discover new truths.  “The walking back and forth seems very pendulous,” states Squires. “It’s a very slow frequency, a very long wavelength from one turn to the next.  You slowly walk along and slowly walk back, then slowly walk on again.  It’s hard to have your mind in a fretful kind of pace when you’re doing such a slow, pendulous, rhythmic walking like that.”  (accessed April 1st 2,000)

[30]  Occult, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, means ‘kept secret, esoteric…from the Latin culere: hide’  It is not a synonym for Satanism.; “…the labyrinth, a sacred tool that has been used as a mandala in many spiritual traditions for thousands of years…” http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/nca/spiritual- perspectives/sacred.html;  “The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing…”  Labyrinth Project, “What Is A Labyrinth,” http://www.gracecom.org/veriditas/press/whatlab.shtml, 1996 (Accessed April 1st 2,000);  Carl Jung, Neo-gnosticism, and the MBTI “Jung was also a strong promoter of the mandala, a circular picture with a sun or star usually at the centre. Sun worship, as personified in the mandala, is perhaps the key to fully understanding Jung.(ft.103)

[31]  Houston, Life Force, 244 “The knower, the knowledge, and the known become part of an undifferentiated unity that is the unus mundus, the eternal dance between the One and the Many, the Dromenon.”; p. 264 “But in the Dromenon the boundaries between body and soul, other and earth, are effaced.”  http://tiny.cc/2tr3fx (accessed May 18th 2014); For more on this, you can read my online article “Carl Jung and the Gnostic Reconciliation of Gender Opposites” .

[32] http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment (Accessed April 1st 2,000)

[33] http://www.sfgate.com Starhawk, as a Wiccan/Witch leader of two covens, celebrated New Year 2,000 by walking the Labyrinth on her San Francisco area Ranch. (Accessed April 1st 2,000)

[34] Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Sacred Tool, (Riverhead Books/G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995); sentence quoted by Pamela Sullivan, “Book Review,” Pacific Church News, June/July 1995, 8.

[35]  Lauren Artress, “Q and A with Lauren,” Veriditas, Vol. 1, no. 2, Summer 1996, 18.

[36] http://skepdic.com/houston.html  (Accessed Nov. 27th 2013)

[37] Jean Houston, The Hero & the Goddess, Aquarian/Thorsons (Harper Collins Publisher), 1992, 134.

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca