Book Alert: Popular Contemplative Book in Christian Circles [Excerpts]
Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson is a book that promotes mantra meditation and New Age mystics. It stands among many other contemplative prayer books that do the same. But what is so alarming is that it also stands within the ranks of many Christian ministries, organizations, churches, and colleges. And even though Thompson does not hide her mystical affinities, many in Christian circles see her as a trustworthy source for spiritual nourishment.
In Soul Feast, Thompson's "Annotated Bibliography" (of books she favors) is a who's who of pantheistic contemplatives including: Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Anthony de Mello, Richard Foster, Tilden Edwards, Edward Hays, Morton Kelsey, and Parker Palmer. Jesuit priest De Mello, author of Sadhana: A Way To God, says this of meditation:
A Jesuit friend once told me that he approached a Hindu guru for initiation in the art of prayer. The guru said to him, "Concentrate on your breathing." My friend proceeded to do just that for about five minutes. Then the guru said, "The air you breathe is God. You are breathing God in and out. Become aware of that, and stay with that awareness" (Yungen, For Many Shall Come in My Name, p. 119).
Willow Creek did a women's study of Soul Feast, and Abilene Christian University used the book as a textbook in their Spiritual Formation course. Bethel University also used the book as a textbook in their Spring 2007 course, DYNAMICS OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY as did Wheaton College in a similar course. Mark Yaconelli of Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project also recommends the book, and so do many other Christian leaders and groups.