CMA Pastor/Professor Reimer Reads Ruth Haley Barton to Feed His Soul!
CMA lead pastor at South Shore Community Church, Bridgewater, MA and adjunct professor at the Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) writes: "Ruth Haley Barton has become one of my all time favorite authors. She feeds my soul!"
https://twitter.com/Dr_RobReimer (July 19) https://twitter.com/TransformingCnt (July 19)
Such a sad commentary for a man who leads others, and teaches doctrinal and masters students at a theological seminary to write. Such a sad commentary for a man who is a Senegal African Field Pastor, and an associate with Global Leadership to share. Such a sad commentary-- for Ruth Haley Barton of The Transforming Center is a lady who is leading hundreds into all kinds of contemplative and mystical practices back into Roman Catholicism and New Age Paganism.
( See my July 19 Blog: "The Transforming Center: A Path to Roman Catholicism & New Age Paganism.")
https://twitter.com/TransformingCnt (Many tweets from May 13-Aug 5)
September 15, 2013 Update! Dr. Reimer is to be Nyack's Deeper Life Speaker this fall following in the steps of another Deeper Life speaker, Rich Villodas, who is equally as contemplative. Truly, this is a sad announcement!
Speaking of one's soul--Reimer's own twitter comments as well as those on the Transforming Center provide a window right into Rob's soul--where his heart is that is. Over and over Reimer quotes Ruth Haley Barton reveling in her writings. One doesn't have to read far to see Rob regales anyone who is into contemplative silence and solitude. Notably absent or sparse, as is nearly always the case on these pages, is any reference to Bible quotes. https://twitter.com/Dr_RobReimer (July15-Aug 4)
An additional window into Rob's world are his church web pages with photos and lists of favorite books that he glowingly recommends. These include all kinds of contemplative and mystics from Teresa of Avila to Basil Pennington. Oh yes, he includes some of the more conservative authors, and in the middle of the list is The Bible--just like it was on par with all the rest. In fact, along side his hearty endorsement of Henri Nouwen's Return of the Prodigal Son there's a list of "similar books" listed: included is The Bible and The Shack. This idea that the holy scriptures are "similar" to a work such as The Shack is blasphemy!
Peter writes: "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. To him be glory, now and forever." (II Peter 3:18) Clearly, we are to get our knowledge and feed our souls on Jesus, not any earthly man. Reimer falls down at the feet of Barton, as well as other men and women, in his endless endorsements of their wonderful books, and sayings. In fact, it seems many church leaders on their Twitter and blogs seem to long to show how very well read, and how very spiritual they are by quoting and requoting various authors over and over ad nauseum. They seem to strive to outdo each other by showing how many new books they can name, or quote from.
A look at the South Shore staff again paints a picture of Reimer's focus, for on his staff is Deb Bellevue who was consecrated as Rob's associate pastor by the CMA in 2009. Now, Deb is not only involved with South Shore's cell ministry, but she is a spiritual director certified by the Leadership's Transformation Selah Program. And now, she's a spiritual director for a health and wellness facility aptly named "The Well." And it is not "a well of living water" that you will find there.
It is at "The Well" you'll find "Wellness for Your Body" (yoga, massage); "Wellness for Your Soul" (support groups); and "Wellness for Your Spirit" (introduction to spiritual direction; silence, solitude and connection; silent retreats). A Bible verse at the bottom of "Wellness for Your Spirit" is
Matthew 11:29-30, a verse often quoted by contemplatives, from Eugene Peterson's The Message,
that reads: Jesus said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll receive your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Is it just Bellevue who goes to The Well? No, South Shore schedules events there as "Spiritual Encounter Night" (August 2013). A February dance for South Shore attendees was advertised on The Well's Facebook Page, along with its yoga classes designed to clear the mind.
Another page: "Buzz Around" touts Deb Bellevue, Director of Soul Care & Spiritual Formation at the Well, as participating in a health and wellness symposium that included her presenting "Spirituality As a Pathway to Breathe Deeply and to Live Fully in the Present Moment." Also included in this symposium was "guided meditation" by the Well; and "Bringing Positive Energy into Your Home" by a Usui Reiki Master.
The South Shore Community Church lists some of Reimer's upcoming events as the "Soul Care Equipping Conference" (August 2013); "theremix Young Adult Conference" (Sept. 2013); Adventure in Mission (AIM) Conference (October 2013/Seth Barnes); "Holy Spirit Conference" (November 2013/Dr. Ron Walborn); "ATS Doctrine of Ministry Course" (Jan. 2014); and "Kingdom Power Conference" at Risen King Church, Redding, Ca. (Feb.2014/Dr. Ron Walborn/Spiritual Director).
Reimer is also an author of a book entitled Pathways to the King endorsed by his friends: Dr. Ron Walborn (Dean of Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack, NY); Seth Barnes (Executive Director of Adventures in Missions-AIM); and Rev. Tom Flanders (District Superintendent, CMA, New England.) Reimer states "we are to be kingdom carriers."
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007R6KUGY (Missions, Mysticism, & Magic: A Closer Look at the Missionary Organization, Adventures in Missions by Claris Van Kuiken )
The above represents just a small snapshot of what the Rev. Dr. Rob Reimer finds acceptable, and promotes openly at the CMA South Shore Community Church. I don't know about you, but these facts documented for all to see, leave me very troubled. For here is a man who is literally everywhere--at his church, at the seminary, at conferences, overseas, and the list goes on. His influence is huge, and yet he openly writes such "leaders" as Ruth Haley Barton feed his soul, such "mystics" as Teresa of Avila inspire him; and such "monks" as Basil Pennington have much to teach us.
Learn to Discern Granny Verse: It is not to Barton, Avila, Pennington, or any other of the numerous contemplatives cited that we would look for our inspiration and nourishment but to the Lord! Hebrews 12:2 says it all: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..."