Another collaborator of Youth Specialties Youth Workers' conventions has been Spencer Burke, founder of The OOZE.com. To his credit, Burke describes the disillusionment he experienced as a staff-pastor for a megachurch in The Search for Authentic Expression. His thirst for spiritual fulfilment was quenched by Catholic mysticism. Burke writes of this turning point in his life:
"I stopped reading from the approved evangelical reading list and began to distance myself from the evangelical agenda. I discovered new authors and new voices at the bookstore-Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and St. Teresa of Avila. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. Contemplative spirituality seemed to open up a whole new way for me to understand and experience God. I was deeply moved by works like The Cloud of Unknowing, The Dark Night of the Soul and the Early Writings of the Desert Fathers."
Now, The Ooze sponsors the Soularize Learning Party... "Come and lend your voice, your experience, and your dreams as we explore the Evolving Church – rethinking and reinvent what the Church could be in years ahead." Guest presenters include former Roman Catholic priest Brennan Manning, Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright, Christian feminist Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D, and Roman Catholic priest Father Richard Rohr who instructs in the mystical use of the Enneagram, which is believed to be rooted in the Islamic-Sufi mystical tradition by the Vatican.
And if you can't make it to the Soularize weekend in the Bahamas, just go to The Southern Baptists' publishing house, Lifeway Christian Book stores. You can find Burke, Youth Specialties and other contemplative authors to share with your children. Caveat emptor.
SPENCER BURKE’S PANENTHEISM