Tuesday, January 12, 2016


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

January 11, 2016
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”—Aldous Huxley
There’s a man who contacts me several times a week to disagree with my assessments of the American police state. According to this self-avowed Pollyanna who is tired of hearing “bad news,” the country is doing just fine, the government’s intentions are honorable, anyone in authority should be blindly obeyed, those individuals who are being arrested, shot and imprisoned must have done something to deserve such treatment, and if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t care whether the government is spying on you.
In other words, this man trusts the government with his life, his loved ones and his property, and anyone who doesn’t feel the same should move elsewhere.
It’s tempting to write this man off as dangerously deluded, treacherously na├»ve, and clueless to the point of civic incompetence. However, he is not alone in his goose-stepping, comfort-loving, TV-watching, insulated-from-reality devotion to the alternate universe constructed for us by the Corporate State with its government propaganda, pseudo-patriotism and contrived political divisions.
While only 1 in 5 Americans claim to trust the government to do what is right, the majority of the people are not quite ready to ditch the American experiment in liberty. Or at least they’re not quite ready to ditch the government with which they have been saddled.
As The Washington Post concludes, “Americans hate government, but they like what it does.” Indeed, kvetching aside, Americans want the government to keep providing institutionalized comforts such as Social Security, public schools, and unemployment benefits, fighting alleged terrorists and illegal immigrants, defending the nation from domestic and foreign threats, and maintaining the national infrastructure. And it doesn’t matter that the government has shown itself to be corrupt, abusive, hostile to citizens who disagree, wasteful and unconcerned about the plight of the average American.
For the moment, Americans are continuing to play by the government’s rules. Indeed, Americans may not approve the jobs being done by their elected leaders, and they may have little to no access to those same representatives, but they remain committed to the political process, so much so that they are working themselves into a frenzy over the upcoming presidential election, with contributions to the various candidates nearing $500 million.
Yet as Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House shows, no matter how much hope and change were promised, what we’ve ended up with is not only more of the same, but something worse: an invasive, authoritarian surveillance state armed and ready to eliminate any opposition.
The state of our nation under Obama has become more bureaucratic, more debt-ridden, more violent, more militarized, more fascist, more lawless, more invasive, more corrupt, more untrustworthy, more mired in war, and more unresponsive to the wishes and needs of the electorate. Most of all, the government, already diabolical and manipulative to the nth degree, has mastered the art of “do what I say and not what I do” hypocrisy.
For example, the government’s arsenal is growing. While the Obama administration is working to limit the public’s access to guns by pushing for greater gun control, it’s doing little to scale back on the federal government’s growing arsenal of firepower and militarized equipment.
In fact, it’s not just the Department of Defense that’s in the business of waging war. Government agencies focused largely on domestic matters continue to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase SWAT and military-style equipment such as body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. The Department of Veterans Affairs spent nearly $2 million on riot helmets, defender shields, body armor, a “milo return fire cannon system,” armored mobile shields, Kevlar blankets, tactical gear and equipment for crowd control. The Food and Drug Administration purchased “ballistic vests and carriers.” The Environmental Protection Agency shelled out $200,000 for body armor. And the Smithsonian Institution procured $28,000 worth of body armor for its “zoo police and security officers.”
The national debt is growing. In fact, it’s almost doubled during Obama’s time in office to nearly $20 trillion. Much of this debt is owed to foreign countries such as China, which have come to exert an undue degree of influence on various aspects of the American economy.
Meanwhile, almost half of Americans are struggling to save for emergencies and retirement, 43% can’t afford to go more than one month without a paycheck, and 24% have less than $250 in their bank accounts preceding payday.
On any given night, over half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and half of them are elderly. In fact, studies indicate that the homeless are aging faster than the general population in the U.S.
While the U.S. spends more on education than almost any other country, American schools rank 28th in the world, below much poorer countries such as the Czech Republic and Vietnam.
The American police state’s payroll is expanding. Despite the fact that violent crime is at a 40-year-low, there are more than 1.1 million persons employed on a full-time basis by state and local law enforcement in this country. That doesn’t include the more than 120,000 full-time officers on the federal payroll.
While crime is falling, the number of laws creating new crimes is growing at an alarming rate. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. This adds up to more than 4,500 federal criminal laws and an even greater number of state laws.
The prison population is growing at an alarming rate. Owing largely to overcriminalization, the nation’s prison population has quadrupled since 1980 to 2.4 million, which breaks down to more than one out of every 100 American adults behind bars. According to The Washington Post, it costs $21,000 a year to keep someone in a minimum-security federal prison and $33,000 a year for a maximum-security federal prison. Those costs are expected to increase 30 percent by 2020. Translation: while the American taxpayer will be forced to shell out more money for its growing prison population, the private prison industry will be making a hefty profit.
The nation’s infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—is rapidly deteriorating. An estimated $1.7 trillion will be needed by 2020 to improve surface transportation, but with vital funds being siphoned off by the military industrial complex, there’s little relief in sight.
The expense of those endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion. That does not include the cost of military occupations and exercises elsewhere around the globe. Unfortunately, that’s money that is not being invested in America, nor is it being used to improve the lives of Americans.
Government incompetence, corruption and lack of accountability continue to result in the loss of vast amounts of money and weapons. A Reuters investigation revealed $8.5 trillion in “taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for.” Then there was the $500 million in Pentagon weapons, aircraft and equipment (small arms, ammunition, night-vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies) that the U.S. military somehow lost track of.
Rounding out the bad news, many Americans know little to nothing about their rights and the government. Only 31% can name all three branches of the U.S. government, while one in three says that the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to own your own home, while one in four thinks that it guarantees “equal pay for equal work.” One in 10 Americans (12%) says the Bill of Rights includes the right to own a pet.
If this brief catalogue of our national woes proves anything at all, it is that the American experiment in liberty has failed, and as political economist Lawrence Hunter warns, it is only a matter of time before people realize it. Writing for Forbes, Hunter notes:
The greatest fear of America’s Founding Fathers has been realized: The U.S. Constitution has been unable to thwart the corrosive dynamics of majority-rule democracy, which in turn has mangled the Constitution beyond recognition. The real conclusion of the American Experiment is that democracy ultimately undermines liberty and leads to tyranny and oppression by elected leaders and judges, their cronies and unelected bureaucrats.  All of this is done in the name of “the people” and the “general welfare,” of course.  But in fact, democracy oppresses the very demos in whose name it operates, benefiting string-pullers within the Establishment and rewarding the political constituencies they manage by paying off special interests with everyone else’s money forcibly extracted through taxation. The Founding Fathers (especially Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, and James Monroe), as well as outside observers of the American Experiment such as Alexis de Tocqueville all feared democracy and dreaded this outcome.  But, they let hope and faith in their ingenious constitutional engineering overcome their fear of the democratic state, only to discover they had replaced one tyranny with another.
So are there any real, workable solutions to the emerging American police state?
A second American Revolution will not work. In the first revolution, the colonists were able to dispatch the military occupation and take over the running of the country. However, the Orwellian state is here and it is so pervasive that government agents are watching, curtailing and putting down any resistance before it can get started.
A violent overthrow of the government will not work. Government agents are armed to the teeth and will easily blow away any insurgency when and if necessary.
Politics will not help things along. As history has made clear, the new boss is invariably the same as or worse than the old boss—all controlled by a monied, oligarchic elite.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there is only one feasible solution left to us short of fleeing the country for parts unknown: grassroots activism that strives to reform the government locally and trickles up.
Unfortunately, such a solution requires activism, engagement, vigilance, sacrifice, individualism, community-building, nullification and a communal willingness to reject the federal government’s handouts and, when needed, respond with what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as “militant nonviolent resistance.”
That means forgoing Monday night football in order to actively voice your concerns at city council meetings, turning off the television and spending an hour reading your local newspaper (if you still have one that reports local news) from front to back, showing your displeasure by picketing in front of government offices, risking your reputation by speaking up and disagreeing with the majority when necessary, refusing to meekly accept whatever the government dictates, reminding government officials—including law enforcement—that they work for you, and working together with your neighbors to present a united front against an overreaching government.
Unfortunately, we now live in a ubiquitous Orwellian society with all the trappings of Huxley’s A Brave New World. We have become a society of watchers rather than activists who are distracted by even the clumsiest government attempts at sleight-of-hand.
There are too many Americans who are reasonably content with the status quo and too few Americans willing to tolerate the discomfort of a smaller, more manageable government and a way of life that is less convenient, less entertaining, and less comfortable.
It well may be that Huxley was right, and that the final revolution is behind us. Certainly, most Americans seem to have learned to love their prison walls and take comfort in a dictatorship without tears.
WC: 1967




Rose Hamid is an anti-Israel activist. 
Hamid grew up a Catholic in Cleveland, Ohio with her father, a Palestinian, and her mother, a South American, according to a bio for a Social Justice Conference - Charlotte held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte and sponsored in part by the North Carolina Socialist Party. Hamid graduated from Cleveland State. In 1987 "she moved to Charlotte and converted to the Muslim faith the same year." Hamid is a "flight attendant instructor." She was listed as a "speaker" or "panelist" for the conference, along with Marty Rosenbluth, who accompanied her to a campaign event for Donald Trump in 2016. At a recent Charlotte-Mecklenberg school meeting of parents, Rose Hamid, who heads a group called Muslim Women of the Carolinas, expressed her enthusiasm for censoring ‘Silent Night’ in the schools. She won.  On July 12, 2014, The Muslim Women of the Carolinas promoted a fundraiser featuring Imam Saraj Wahaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. 
Rose Hamid and Marty Rosenbluth silently stood together during a Donald Trump campaign event in South Carolina in January, 2016. Both activists were wearing gold stars reminiscent of those imposed on Jewish citizens in Nazi Germany with the word "Muslim." They were removed from the conference. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Trump to publicly apologize to Hamid and to meet with American Muslim leaders "to discuss how his rhetoric has sparked an 'anti-Muslim hysteria.'"
While the mainstream media reported the incident as if Rose Hamid and Marty Rosenbluth were random targets by Trump, the activists "carefully orchestrated" their appearance at the rally.
Other activists associated with Hamid and Rosenbluth are Jibril HoughLowell Fleming, and Edith Garwood of Amnesty International.
Rosenbluth was quoted by The Daily Beast as saying "We’ve been working toward this moment for months" and then reminded readers that “Keep in mind that Rosa Parks was not a seamstress on her way home from work who just got tired one day. Her protest was also planned out and well choreographed.'"
The article continued:
"Indeed, the activists behind the protest told The Daily Beast the CNN moment was carefully orchestrated, down to the detail of the flight attendant matching her turquoise-colored headscarf with her T-shirt. The activists are connected by years of local activism post-9/11 on issues including civil liberties, war, Palestine, “Black Lives Matter,” and immigration, and have been working for months on their anti-Trump organizing campaign."
Jibril Hough, who converted to Islam in 1991, compared himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. Addressing whether the activists attended the Trump event to "cause trouble and get attention," he was quoted as saying, “There may be some truth to that. Dr. Martin Luther King had to strategize to get media attention. These things are orchestrated.”

Trump “Silent Protester” Actually Supports Islamic Terrorism
Published on Jan 12, 2016
In reality, Rose Hamid isn’t a silent follower of the religion a peace, but rather, an ardent supporter of Jihadist activities.


Pegida rallies washed away by water cannon
Published on Jan 9, 2016
German police use water cannon to disperse protesters in the centre of Cologne after supporters of the right-wing Pegida movement threw bottles and fire crackers at officers. There were protests in Germany amid anger at the alleged assaults of women on New Years Eve by men believed to be immigrants.




Banners and signs bearing slogans like "Rapefugees not welcome."

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

'Merkel Out!': German Far-right Vents Fury After Cologne Attacks

Chanting "Merkel out" and waving German flags, supporters of the xenophobic PEGIDA movement vented their anger Saturday against migrants after a rash of sexual assaults in the western city of Cologne.
Carrying banners and signs bearing slogans like "Rapefugees not welcome," the far-right protesters took aim at Merkel, accusing her of allowing migrants to running amok in Germany through her liberal stance towards those fleeing war.
"Merkel has become a danger to our country. Merkel must go," a member of PEGIDA told the crowd, which echoed the call.
Witnesses have described the perpetrators of the assaults in Cologne on the night of Dec. 31 as people with "North African or Arab" appearance.
Federal police have said that a majority of the suspects identified so far are of foreign origin, inflaming a debate over Germany's ability to integrate the 1.1 million asylum seekers it took in last year alone.
"These women who fell victim will have to live with it for a long time. I feel like my freedom has been robbed from me," a mother of four introduced as Christiane told the rally.
"That's impossible. Frau Merkel, Frau Reker, you are women! Where is your solidarity? What are women worth in this society?" she said, referring to Henriette Reker, who is mayor of Cologne, and who was stabbed in the neck last October by a man with a far-right background.
"We are the people,"chanted the crowd as they began marching away from the train station. "Those who don't love this country should disappear," they shouted.
Some also heckled at the line of police officers standing guard, saying "where, where, where were you on New Year's eve?"
"Nazis out"
A helicopter circled overhead, and an occasional firecracker went off, adding to tensions as leftist demonstrators staged a counter-protest.
Kept at bay from the PEGIDA crowd by police they chanted "Nazis raus!" (Nazis out!).
"There is nothing right about Nazi propaganda," said a slogan on the sign held up by one protester, while another read "Fascism is not an opinion, it is a crime".
"We are there to tell them to shut up. It is unacceptable for PEGIDA to exploit this horrible sexual violence perpetrated here on New Year's day and to spread their racist nonsense," said Emily Michels, 28.
Half a dozen Iraqi and Syrian refugees were also part of the counter-demonstration group, with a Jordan-born woman running their local shelter, Dana Khamis, saying they had joined in the rally after hearing about the attacks.
"I told them that the demonstration is about women's rights and against sexism and against facism, and they said they wanted absolutely to be part of it," said Khamis, 27.
PEGIDA started life over a year ago as a xenophobic Facebook group, initially drawing just a few hundred protesters to demonstrations in the eastern city of Dresden before gaining strength, peaking with rallies of 25,000 people.
Interest subsequently began to wane following overtly racist comments by founder Lutz Bachmann, and the surfacing of "selfies" in which he sported a Hitler moustache and hairstyle.
But PEGIDA has seen a revival with the record influx of migrants to Germany.


Published on Jan 12, 2016
Now that the government has total surveillance, it is using the information in ways that are both illegal and life threatening — assigning a threat score that may be used by police to shoot first.
And the recent arrest of a woman alleged to have committed multi-state armed robbery of jewelry stores shows that metadata can be more valuable to law enforcement than fingerprints or DNA. But is an all-knowing, all-powerful government more dangerous than any criminal or mafia?


Americans To Be Issued ‘Threat Calculation Score’ In Surveillance Scheme

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

TN Note: We warned that this was coming. In a recent article, TN revealed that China is tracking dissenters by assigning a score to each citizen, based on activities, associations, financial and social media posts. (See Technocracy: China Building Huge Citizen Database To Track Dissenters) Now we find that similar technology is being applied in the United States. This is a very dangerous precedent that will be hard to stop because it is providing benefits to law enforcement.
While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.
The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.
The man had a firearm conviction and gang associations, so out of caution police called a negotiator. The suspect surrendered, and police said the intelligence helped them make the right call — it turned out he had a gun.
As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.
Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. They say that last year’s attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures.
But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error. Some say laws are needed to protect the public.
In many instances, people have been unaware that the police around them are sweeping up information, and that has spawned controversy. Planes outfitted with cameras filmed protests and unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. For years, dozens of departments used devices that can hoover up all cellphone data in an area without search warrants. Authorities in Oregon are facing a federal probe after using social media-monitoring software to keep tabs on Black Lives Matter hashtags.
“This is something that’s been building since September 11,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.”
Few departments will discuss how — or sometimes if — they are using these tools, but the Fresno police offered a rare glimpse inside a cutting-edge $600,000 nerve center, even as a debate raged in the city over its technology.




POPE: For “every authentic practice of religion cannot fail to promote peace.”


Ephesians 5:23-"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." (NOT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, MARY, OR THE POPE)
Ephesians 4:15-16-"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in 



Hugh Fitzgerald: Francis, Far From Infallible

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

At the beginning of every year, the Pope delivers an address in Rome to welcome the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican. Pope Francis, a nice guy, has just delivered such a speech. It deserves attention.
The main theme of Francis’s speech is immigration, the mass movement of peoples, now this way and now that, for “mobility is part of our human nature” and “human history is made up of countless migrations.” True enough. But Pope Francis neglects to discuss what is for some of us so disturbing about the current migration into Europe: the numbers and nature of these migrants, coming from exactly where, trying to get exactly where, and carrying exactly what in their mental baggage.
The Pope does allude vaguely to “the grave crisis of migration” — but he is sure that those migrants who are true to their faith, whatever that faith may be (the word “Islam” does not occur anywhere in his long speech; the word “Muslim” occurs exactly once), are not the problem. For “every authentic practice of religion cannot fail to promote peace.”
This is an assertion for which no evidence is adduced, and no one, not even a Pope, is exempt from the need to offer such evidence. After all, a large part of European history has involved wars of religion. I suppose that weasel word “authentic” provides an out for the Pope: simply label as “inauthentic” any “practice of religion” that fails to “promote peace.”
Does that ipse dixit satisfy you? Would you not find more to your liking a pope who, before making such a remark, would have read, studied, and thoroughly assimilated the texts of Islam — Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira — which guide the “practice of Islam”? And if Pope Francis had done that, of course, he could not possibly have made such a preposterous remark in the first place.
Pope Francis continues in this dismal vein: “Only a distorted ideological form of religion [?] can think that justice is done in the name of the Almighty by deliberately slaughtering defenseless persons, as in the brutal terrorist attacks which occurred in recent months in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.” All of those attacks, of course, were carried out by Muslims, in the name of Islam, relying on and often citing supporting passages in the Qur’an, against non-Muslims. All followed the example of Muhammad, that Perfect Man whose words and deeds are set out in the Hadith and Sira. There is nothing “distorted” about this form of Islam, even if it is not to our liking. It might have helped clear up confusion had he dared to mention, suggest, hint, that what we call the “deliberate slaughter of defenseless [non-Muslim] persons” is something quite different to the Muslims who murdered, or who approved of the murder, of those Infidels.
For the Pope, the current mass migrations into Europe evoke other migrations or movements, all the way back to Adam and Eve — “From the banishment from Eden to Abraham’s journey….” And those past migrations were characterized by the same “struggles and sufferings, the desires and hopes, which are shared by the hundreds of thousands of persons on the move today, possessed of the same determination which Moses had to reach a land flowing with ‘milk and honey’ (cf. Ex. 3:17), a land of freedom and peace.” For “milk and honey,” read “free or subsidized housing, and medical care, and education, and other generous welfare benefits” offered these migrants, especially in northern Europe, which is why Muslims by the hundreds of thousands try to end up there, ideally in Germany or Scandinavia. For “freedom and peace,” read Sharia and Jihad.
According to the Pope, “many migrants from Asia and Africa see in Europe a beacon for principles such as equality before the law and for values inherent in human nature, including the inviolable dignity and equality of every person, love of neighbor regardless of origin or affiliation, freedom of conscience and solidarity towards our fellow men and women.” Yes, how true. Those are exactly the principles — equality before the law and the “values, including the inviolable dignity and equality of every person” — that have made Europe a beacon for Muslims. And by now we are all deeply familiar, too, with the Muslim migrants’ deep “love of neighbor regardless of origin or affiliation” and desire for “freedom of conscience, and solidarity” in Paris and Madrid, in Amsterdam and London, in Cologne and Toulouse, indeed all over Europe.
But if the Muslim migrants to Europe want nothing, according to the Pope, save to come and practice “love thy neighbor,” he cannot be as sanguine about Europeans themselves. The Pope is worried — worried about the attitudes and behavior of these same Europeans: “There should be no loss of the values and principles of humanity, respect for the dignity of every person, mutual subsidiarity and solidarity, however much they may prove a burden difficult to bear.” For the Europeans bear “a moral responsibility to…ensure assistance and acceptance” of migrants.
No. There is no responsibility either to “ensure assistance to” or to accept migrants, from anywhere, in any number. And it is grotesque to demand of Europeans that they accept migrants who are opposed to everything Western civilization favors, including freedom of thought and conscience, equality of the sexes, especially none when the migrants in question are raised up in the firm, even fanatical faith, that those principles are the enemy.
Pope Francis laments the “vacuum of ideals and the loss of identity” which he says “dramatically marks the so-called West.” And in that “so-called West,” that “vacuum gives rise to the fear which leads to seeing the other as a threat and an enemy, to closed-mindedness and intransigence in defending preconceived notions.” It’s the Europeans who are needlessly fearful, a fear that is bred of their own failings, because there really is no enemy, no “other” of which to be fearful.
It bears repeating: Pope Francis is a very nice guy. But he’s also a sentimentalist, appallingly soft-headed. He offers comforting pieties, pie-in-the-sky hopefulness, mush, when what is needed at this time is something adamantine or, more exactly, benedictine. The imperilment of Europe — that “so-called West” — alas, requires more than this nice guy can possibly deliver.


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

January 12, 2016 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,
Contemplative Mysticism
The following is excerpted from CONTEMPLATIVE MYSTICISM: A POWERFUL ECUMENICAL BOND.ISBN 978-1-58318-113-3. Contemplative mysticism, which originated with Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox monasticism, is permeating every branch of Christianity today, including the Southern Baptist Convention. In this book we document the fact that Catholic mysticism leads inevitably to a broadminded ecumenical philosophy and to capitulation to heresies. For many, this path has led to interfaith dialogue, Buddhism, Hinduism, universalism, pantheism, panentheism, even goddess theology. One chapter is dedicated to exposing the heresies of Richard Foster: “Evangelicalism’s Mystical Sparkplug.” We describe major contemplative practices, such as centering prayer, visualizing prayer, the Jesus Prayer, Lectio Divina, and the labyrinth. We look at the history of Roman Catholic monasticism which birthed contemplative prayer, and we examine the errors of contemplative mysticism. In the Biographical Catalog of Contemplative Mystics we look at the lives and beliefs of 60 of the major figures in the contemplative movement, including Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Brennan Manning, Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Richard Foster, and Dallas Willard. The book contains an extensive index. 482 pages. Available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life Literature,
Visualization Prayer
By David Cloud

Visualization or imaginative prayer is becoming popular throughout evangelicalism because of spread of Roman Catholic contemplative mysticism.

Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello calls it “fantasy prayer” and says that many of the Catholic saints practiced it (
Sadhana: A Way to God, pp. 79, 82, 93). Francis of Assisi imagined taking Jesus down from the cross; Anthony of Padua imagined holding the baby Jesus in his arms and talking with him; Teresa of Avila imagined herself with Jesus in His agony in the garden. 
This type of thing is an integral part of the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. The practitioner is instructed to walk into biblical and extra-biblical historical scenes through the imagination and bring the scene to life by applying all of the senses: seeing the events, hearing what people are saying, smelling, tasting, and touching things--all within the realm of pure imagination. The visualizing prayer practitioner is even taught to insert himself into the scene, talking to the biblical characters and serving them. Ignatius encourages practitioners, for example, to imagine themselves present at Jesus’ birth and crucifixion.

Consider some excerpts from Ignatius’ 
Spiritual Exercises:
“Imagine Christ our Lord present before you upon the cross, and begin to speak with him ...” (The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Vintage Books edition, First Week, 53).

“Here it will be to see in imagination the length, breadth, and depth of hell. ... to see in imagination the vast fires, and the souls enclosed ... to hear the wailing ... with the sense of smell to perceive the smoke ... to taste the bitterness ... to touch the flames” (First Week, fifth exercise, 65-70).

“I will see and consider the Three Divine Persons, seated on the royal dais or throne of the Divine Majesty ... I will see our Lady and the angels saluting her. ... [I will see] our Lady, St. Joseph, the maid, and the Child Jesus after His birth. I will make myself a poor little unworthy slave, and as though present, look upon them, contemplate them, and serve them...” (Second Week, 106, 114).

“While one is eating, let him imagine he sees Christ our Lord and His disciples at the table, and consider how He eats and drinks, how He looks, how He speaks, and then strive to imitate Him” (Third Week, 214).

Thomas Merton gave an example of visualization prayer in his book 
Spiritual Direction and Meditation. He suggested that the individual use this technique to communicate with the infant Jesus in His nativity. 
“In simple terms, the nativity of Christ the Lord in Bethlehem is not just something that I make present by fantasy. Since He is the eternal Word of God before whom time is entirely and simultaneously present, the Child born at Bethlehem ‘sees’ me here and now. That is to say, I ‘am’ present to His mind ‘then.’ It follows that I can speak to Him as to one present not only in fantasy but in actual reality. This spiritual contact with the Lord is the real purpose of meditation” (p. 96). 
Merton claims that this type of thing is not “fantasy,” but it is nothing other than fantasy. It is true that Christ is eternal, but nowhere are we taught by the Lord or His apostles and prophets that we should try to imagine such a conversation. What Merton suggests is gross presumption.

Richard Foster recommends visualizing prayer in his popular book 
Celebration of Discipline:
“Imagination opens the door to faith. If we can ‘see’ in our mind’s eye a shattered marriage whole or a sick person well, it is only a short step to believing that it will be so. ... I was once called to a home to pray for a seriously ill baby girl. Her four-year-old brother was in the room and so I told him I needed his help to pray for his baby sister. ... He climbed up into the chair beside me. ‘Let’s play a little game,’ I said. ‘Since we know that Jesus is always with us, let’s imagine that He is sitting over in the chair across from us. He is waiting patiently for us to center our attention on Him. When we see Him, we start thinking more about His love than how sick Julie is. He smiles, gets up, and comes over to us. Then let’s both put our hands on Julie and when we do, Jesus will put His hands on top of ours. We’ll watch and imagine that the light from Jesus is flowing right into your little sister and making her well. Let’s pretend that the light of Christ fights with the bad germs until they are all gone. Okay!’ Seriously the little one nodded. Together we prayed in this childlike way and then thanked the Lord that what we ‘saw’ was the way it was going to be” (Celebration of Discipline, 1978, p. 37).
This is not biblical prayer; it is occultism. New Thought practitioners and New Agers have practiced this type of thing for a century. Biblical prayer is not the attempt to accomplish something through the power of our minds. It is talking to God and asking Him to accomplish things. There is a vast difference between these two practices, as vast as the difference between God and the Devil.

Visualization prayer has become very popular within the modern contemplative movement, but it is heretical. I have already mentioned some reasons for saying this, but let me summarize them as follows:
First of all, visualization prayer is disobedience. The Bible contains everything we need for faith and practice. It is able to make the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible contains everything we need in order to learn how to pray correctly, and it says nothing whatsoever about imagination prayer. This is not the type of prayer that Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-15). 
Second, visualization prayer is vain and foolish because it is pure fantasy. We can’t imagine Jesus’ birth beyond the simple facts described in Scripture. We don’t know what Mary or Joseph or baby Jesus or the room or the manger or the angels or the shepherds or the wise men looked like. We don’t know what they said to one another. We don’t know the air temperature or the exact smells and tastes. If I try to imagine such things, I am entering into the realm of vain fantasy. 
Third, visualization prayer is not faith. Faith is not based on imagination; it is based on Scripture. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). God has given us everything we need in Scripture and our part is to believe what God says. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). We have everything we need to know about Christ for the present dispensation in the Scripture, and we accept it by faith. “Whom HAVING NOT SEEN, ye love; in whom, THOUGH NOW YE SEE HIM NOT, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). 
Fourth, visualization prayer is presumptuous because it goes beyond divine revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” By going beyond what the Bible says and trying to delve into history through the imagination, I am leaving the revealed things and entering the secret things. 
Fifth, visualization prayer is dangerous. It is dangerous because it adds to Scripture. If I get in the habit of visualizing Bible scenes, I can easily think that my visualizations are authoritative. I can fall into Rome’s error of accepting extra-biblical revelation. It is also dangerous because demonic entities can involve themselves in my vain imaginings. Satan influenced Peter’s thinking (Mat. 16:22-23), and he can certainly influence mine if I venture into forbidden realms.

Consider an example given by emerging church leader Tony Jones in his book 
The Sacred Way. His friend Mike King made John 1:37-39 the focus of contemplative practices at a spiritual retreat. While practicing the Ignatian exercise of imaginative prayer, he put himself into the biblical scene. He imagined himself sitting around John’s breakfast fire with the disciples, listening as they carried on an imaginative conversation. He imagined seeing Jesus approach and embrace John. He imagined hearing them tell stories of their childhood. He imagined them laughing. Then he imagined Jesus getting up and leaving, with John’s two disciples following. He imagined them walking into the desert and coming to a clearing, when suddenly the imagined Jesus turned around and began interacting with him. 
“When Jesus turned around, the two disciples of John whom I was following parted like the Red Sea and Jesus came right up to me, face to face. Jesus looked past my eyes into my heart and soul: ‘Mike, what do you want?’ I fell at the feet of Jesus and wept, pouring my heart out” (The Sacred Way, p. 79). 
Notice that the imaginative prayer practitioner feels at liberty to go far beyond the words of Scripture to fantasize about the passage, creating purely fictional scenes. And observe that the 
Jesus that he imagines (which is certainly not the Jesus of the Bible, because we do not know what that Jesus looks like and nowhere are we instructed to imagine seeing him) takes on a life of its own and interacts with him. This is either pure mental fiction and therefore absolutely meaningless, or it is a demonic visitation akin to a vision of Mary. 

King says that he was powerfully affected by this imagined event. “That day changed me profoundly and is something I will have for the rest of my life, for Jesus said, ‘Come, and you will see...” 

He thus pretends that Jesus actually said this directly to him, when in fact he only imagined it in a purely fictitious sense. What incredible delusion!

Following is an example from Youth Specialties, a large evangelical youth ministry. They encourage young people to imagine a conversation with Jesus along the following line:
It’s a normal day like any other. You’re busy doing what you do. But as you go about your daily routine, you sense someone wanting to spend time with you. He wants you to come to him. He wants you to be with him. You definitely recognize his voice, but it’s been a while since you’ve spent any real time together. Doesn’t he know how busy your life can be? After all, you’ve been busy doing what you do.

He sits there, hunkered down in the corner of your room waiting for you. He’s certainly not pushing himself on you, but you can definitely tell he longs to spend some time with you. You tell him that you don’t think you’ll have time to meet with him today as you head out the door again.

When you get back from your day, he’s there again, waiting for you. He smiles at you as you come in the door and asks you how your day has been. He invites you to sit down and rest for a while. You can tell he wants to hear about your day and everything else you’ve got going on in your life. He seems very proud of who you are becoming. He asks you about what seems to be pressing in on you and weighing you down. You can tell he genuinely cares about you. He wants what’s best for you. So you finally decide to sit down for a few minutes to talk with him.

You start by telling him that you can’t talk long because you still have a lot to do before bedtime. But after a few minutes of talking together, your whole world and all the worries of your day seem to simply melt away. You haven’t felt this relaxed in a long time. You find yourself pouring your heart out to him. And then he looks you right in the eyes and tells you how proud he is of you. He tells you how much he loves you and enjoys spending time together.

At that moment you realize this friend who has been waiting to talk with you day after day is Jesus. He has never made you feel guilty about blowing him off day after day. He looks at you and smiles. It’s at that moment that you can tell for the first time in your life that you have a true friend who cares about you for who you are. The time seems to fly by as you continue talking together late into the night (“Something for Your Heart: Guided Meditation,” Youth Specialties Student Newsletter #330, Feb. 25, 2008). 

This is heretical foolishness. The Lord Jesus Christ is not hunkered down in someone’s bedroom. He is enthroned in heaven at the right hand of the Father. He is not a non-judgmental Big Buddy who exists to build up my self-esteem. He is the Lord of Glory. He is exceedingly kind and compassionate, but He does not exist to pamper me; I exist to glorify Him! 

Observe that this guided meditation mentions nothing about the confession of sin or repentance from sin, nothing about the necessity of obedience and walking in the fear of God and separation from evil in order to maintain fellowship with Christ. The Bible, though, says:
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:6-9). 
Calvin Miller claims that “imagination stands at the front of our relationship with Christ.” 
“I drink the glory [of Christ’s] hazel eyes ... his auburn hair. ... What? Do you disagree? His hair is black? Eyes brown? Then have it your way. ... His image must be real to you as to me, even if our images differ. The key to vitality, however, is the image” (The Table of Inwardness, Inter Varsity Press, 1984, p. 93).
Each individual can therefore have the christ of his own making through the amazing power of imagination!