Youth Specialties: Promoting Mysticism and Interspirituality

Youth Specialties FormerPresident: "Christianity is an eastern religion."

Youth Specialties Former President
Mark Oestreicher (Marko) Comments:

On Yoga:
"[Y]oga is really just about stretching and slowing down. Sure, yoga, I suppose, could focus on Hindi or Buddhist gods or something - but it can also focus on Christ. We received a couple stomping-mad complaints about the yoga at the National Pastors Convention, saying 'putting your body in those positions invites Hindi gods to enter your body.' I'm sorry - this just sounds like heresy to me. If we don't believe Hindi gods actually exist, then why are we concerned about them entering our bodies?"—A response to the charge that YS is embracing eastern religion by Mark Oestreicher

On Eastern Religion:
"Christianity IS an eastern religion. It has all its roots in the East! It's a bit baffling to me that people lose sight of this, and insist on creating a false separation between eastern religions and (apparently) western Christianity.—A response to the charge that YS is embracing eastern religion by Mark Oestreicher

On Contemplative Prayer:
"If a Buddhist is using a breathing exercise to bring some peace to her life, well, bless her. But that should have no bearing on whether or not I choose to focus on my God-created breath."—A response to the charge that YS is embracing eastern religion by Mark Oestreicher

"On saying words over and over again: well that sure is taken out of context. It's not like we would suggest someone grab any word ('Tree!' 'Towel!' 'Beer!') and chant it over and over again-which is her implication. There is a wonderful spiritual practice, however, of repeating a phrase from the Bible and seeing what God reveals to you about it (or about Him, or about you). It's prayer: not a chant.—A response to the charge that YS is embracing eastern religion by Mark Oestreicher

Youth Specialties Features The Sacred Way by Tony JonesAlso see Youth Specialties Featured Book: The Sacred Way by Tony Jones

See the Table of Contents:

Labyrinths, centering prayer, icons, stations of the cross, the sign of the cross,the Jesus Prayer

Enjoy the Silence by Maggie RobbinsYouth Specialties Recommends a book by Maggie & Duffy Robbins .... Enjoy the Silence. But did you know that Maggie was trained at the pro-contemplative, pro Eastern mediation, Kairos School of Spiritual Formation?


A supplemental reading list for Kairos School includes the following authors: David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Keating and Morton Kelsey, all of whom are interspiritual contemplatives.
The Great Cover Up

Youth Worker Magazine
Disciplines, Mystics, and the Contemplative Life
by Mike Perschon

An excerpt: "I built myself a prayer room—a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns..."
Also read: Mike Perschon,
Contemplative Prayer Practices
Youth Specialties Goes All Out For Contemplative Prayer

Youth Specialties magazine Youth Worker,
in this month's issue (November 2004)— Yes they are promoting mantra-style meditation. Youth Specialties is a growing leader in discipleship training for youth workers and youth pastors. YS also sponsors the well attended National Pastor's Convention.
But did you know that Youth Specialties promotes and teaches contemplative prayer and the silence?

In the May 2003 Youth Specialties Update, they suggest their readers go to this web site
See What Is Being Promoted
Meditations, incantations, chants, guided fantasies, incense,
holding stones*


"It's Sunday just after 5 P.M. in the youth room. Seven adults are sitting around a 'Christ-candle' in the youth room. There is no talking, no laughter. For 10 minutes, the only noise is the sound of their breathing ... now it's 7 p.m. ... one hour into the night's youth group gathering. There are 18 seniorhighers and five adults sitting in a candlelit sanctuary. A gold cross stands on a table . They're chanting the 'Jesus Prayer', an ancient meditative practice."(taken from the July/August 1999 issue of Group Magazine - a leading resource magazine for Christian youth leaders)

A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen


Click here to Read an Excerpt of A Time of Departing as Ray Yungen discusses Youth Specialties.

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