I’m not quite sure if the New York climate has gotten the memo about it being September, because yesterday it reached over 90 degrees in Brooklyn, and this morning my face and shirt were soaked when I woke up.
But it’s okay 🙂 Autumn will be here soon enough. Starbucks already brought out its ever-so popular pumpkin-spice latte (though I have no idea why it’s popular, mostly because I’ve never tried it…and I don’t like lattes). I woke up to God, still being there, and that made the heat much more bearable. I always forget that He never sleeps. I don’t really think about the fact that He’s awake while I’m asleep. When I looked out the windows of the dorm, I could see a few buildings and a large part of the larger part of the sky that sits over New York City. There were no clouds this morning and there was a generous breeze coming through the screen. Thank You, Jesus.
French was my first class this morning. During French (and I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll talk about it again any way) my professor speaks almost completely in French, which is becoming a bit easier to swallow and much easier to follow. She speaks incredibly fast and with great animation, just like a French person, I would suppose. Oddly enough, I’d just thought this morning about what language God, Adam, and Eve spoke while they were in the Garden of Eden. I really do wonder that sometimes, though. Was it Hebrew? Was it a language no one knows? If the language He spoke with them in the Garden is still spoken today, it’s most certainly a distorted, cursed, twisted version of the original. But I do wonder what it sounded like. Who knows? Maybe it was French 🙂
French overflowed a bit into my next class, which sent me running across campus in flip-flops and one of Rebecca’s fabulous dresses that she blessed me with last year. I probably looked silly, but I made it to class on time 🙂 It was Writer’s Forum, which is the class where different authors and critics and editors and such come to Pratt and read some of their work and give aspiring writers (that would be me and my classmates) advice on writing and being part of the literary community.
Oh! That reminds me. So, I’ve been wanting to get this one internship at a publishing house that’s based in London but has a New York office in The Village. For some reason, I always forget to pray for what I want. I don’t know why. God says that I need to only ask. Obviously if I want something more than I want Him, then we have a problem, but if what I’m asking isn’t taking His place in my life or outside of His will, He says that all I have to do is ask (John 16:24). Quite honestly, when I prayed for the internship the first time (last week) I was asking out of desperation.
Me: “God, I have to get an internship right now or my life is going to fall apart.”
But then I remembered that it might not be God’s will that I get the internship, or any internships for that matter. And when I put my focus back on the loving-kindness of God’s character and the way He provides for me and the way He cares for me, it didn’t really matter if I got the internship or not, because I was confident He had a better plan in mind that would bring me closer to Him and make me stronger, kinder, wiser, and more able to love Him and others.
Well, yesterday, after blogging, I got an email from the assistant at this publishing house. I haven’t gotten the internship yet, but he gave me a manuscript to look over and write a writer’s report of it as a way for them (the people in the office) to get a feel for my writing style and such. A writer’s report is basically an overview of the plot of the story, what needs to be edited, what works, what doesn’t, and whether or not the manuscript is worth representing. I can’t discuss the manuscript, but I’m excited about it 🙂 So God, even if I don’t get the internship, is giving me the opportunity to do something I really enjoy, which is editing and reading and encountering words I don’t know and being able to look them up and just nerd all over this manuscript. I’m really enjoying it 😀
Yoga (yes, yoga) was my last class of the day. Now, I’ve taken yoga once or twice before, and both times the instructor has included the spiritual aspect of yoga, and yoga, in itself, has ties to Hinduism. Or, so I thought. Turns out yoga has much more than just cultural and historical ties to Hinduism: yoga and Hinduism are practically inseparable.
Before I go into what I’m trying to say, I’ll finish up the yoga class. So, first of all, I totally went to the wrong location for the class. But, it’s okay, because half of the class showed up at the wrong location as well 🙂 We all ended up at the right spot, where we found our instructor and the other half of the class.
She talked about the class and what would be required of us. She began talking about how we were to go onto a yoga website and read the ‘wisdom’ of the day and be prepared to discuss it in class. I heard this and thought, “That’s sounds iffy…well, maybe I could bring a different point of view into the discussion.” Then she talked about how we’d need to keep a journal in which we would reflect on the class and on our “personal experiences” during posture and such. I shifted my weight on my mat. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
We went ahead and did the yoga (if that’s the proper way of saying it) and it was really difficult, but it felt really good. At the end, after we’d gone through all sorts of postures and all sorts of meditations (during which I just prayed instead of clearing my mind), she closed with us bringing our palms together pressed against our chest and told us to “get in touch with the divinity within you.”
I dropped my hands.
What I got from that phrase was, “get in touch with your inner god.” Oh boy.
First of all, humans will never be God. There’s a reason that we’re considered part of creation. God created us, which means we will never, ever, in a million years, especially because of our sin nature and incredible ability to mess up, be equal with God. A piece of pottery will never, ever, become the Potter.
Some of you might be wondering what the danger of doing yoga is. So what if it’s originally a spiritual practice? Just because you’re doing the postures doesn’t mean you’re worshiping any false gods….right?
After class I went and did some research because I was feeling physically relaxed but spiritually convicted. Turns out the postures we did in class are in the present day postures offered to 330 million Hindu gods. While it might not be the remnants of a blood sacrifice, and while I never thought I’d ever run into this in my lifetime, I think that might just count as taking part in things offered to idols.
Laurette Willis, a multi-talented Christian woman who for 22 years participated in the New Age life as well as religious practices like yoga, said this about yoga: “Romans 12:1-2 says we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God,” added Laurette. “Here they are doing something very similar with these postures to their 330 million gods, and it is scary. So we abstain from things offered to idols—Acts 15:29.” You can read the full article here.
Jeremy Butler from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), says this in an article titled “Should Christians Practice Yoga?” :
“There are different types of yoga, but what they all have in common is they are a way to earn salvation. There are several practices within Yoga. These include, but are not limited to meditation, repeating the divine name, breathing exercises, performing acrobatic exercises, trying to put one’s own body in difficult postures. Meditation is central to all forms of Yoga. Meditation helps its practitioners to be able to find release from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth.2 “Yoga is a method of spiritual training whose purpose is to integrate or unite the self. A physical exercise, its goal is nonphysical-uniting with God. Yoga teaches that people should attempt to yoke the individual spirit to God, to atman-the individual soul or essence of a person-and to Brahman.”3 So we see that Yoga is essentially physical exercises in which one tries to work his or her way to God.”
Yoga is religious in nature.
Needless to say, I dropped the class.
“Hunter, you’re being awfully prudish, don’t you think?”
Maybe. But, honestly, I was convicted by attending yoga class the first time I went, and for some reason I thought it was appropriate to continue going. The reason why yoga is so dangerous to get caught up in, especially as Christians, is because, like I talked about before, the movements are offerings to Hindu gods, which God’s word warns against and asks Christians to abstain from, not because He’s trying to give us a bunch of rules to follow, but because He knows what we need is Him, and He asks us to do things based on whether or not those things will bring us closer to Him or distract us from Him.
Again, if you don’t like what the articles have to say, look right at God’s word. I’m not sure if Acts 15:29 is the best verse to go to, especially since in the context the early church was writing to Gentile believers about abstaining from things they previously, before they were saved, indulged in, such as “what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” But we can go back to one of the most important commandments in God’s word: “Do not have any gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). I’m not saying I’m worshiping yoga or worshiping my body or anything like that, but I am saying the physical practice could very easily turn into a spiritual practice, especially considering how impressionable I am. I just don’t want to risk it.
I personally don’t want to hang around and see how much temptation I can handle. I don’t want to give Satan grounds to play with and prod at my imagination and at my weaknesses. That’s like sticking my hand in a fire and expecting not to get burned.
So I feel like a doofus. I especially feel like a doofus because I’m sure it’s like “but you’ve done yoga plenty of times” and “it’s just stretching” and “you already bought a yoga mat and posted on Facebook about it and done it with friends” and “think about how good it’ll be for your body.” But I don’t want to do it. I’ll be a hypocrite. I just don’t want to do yoga now that I know what it is. Next time I’ll do my homework and really think things through before making that kind of decision.
And then it’s like “but it’s not a big decision…it’s just yoga…stop making it into such a big deal.” But it is a big deal. I can’t go and do yoga, which is a spiritual practice of Hinduism, and then be against other things like reading novels filled with inappropriate content or listening to inappropriate music or anything like that because, I mean, then the argument would be “it’s not like I’m really thinking about the content or actually listening to the words anyway. It’s not like I’m trying to worship other gods.”
No. It is a big deal. I’d rather go for a three-mile run or a scenic bike-ride anyway, where I can talk to God and enjoy His creation. I’m just trying to focus on God, pursue Him, put myself in a position where I can see Him working in my life and encourage my brothers and sisters to do the same. I don’t want anything to get in the way of the peace and love and joy and grace and strength that comes from only God, and I don’t want to compromise.
On a side note, my Studio professor asked us to write a five page short story, and every time I go to work on the frustrating thing I keep adding new documents into my drop box, titled “The Impossible Five Page Short Story,” and “The Impossible Five Page Short Story Try #2,” and so on.
Finally, this morning, I wrote the story. I remembered everything that God’s done in my life, the frightening and hopeless situations He’s delivered me from, and the miracles He’s worked. Why haven’t I been writing about those? What better testimony of God’s grace and love and mercy than His obvious activity in my life? Isn’t that the point of my life anyway? To glorify God and show the world who He is?
Oh, yeah 🙂
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority…And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him (Christ).”
—Colossians 2:8-10, 13-15, ESV