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March 26, 2007

Narcissism Posing as Humility

Ron Rosenbaum has written an eye-popping article called "The Hostile New Age Takeover of Yoga"  that drew my attention, even though I'm not a pratictioner beyond a few yoga-styled stretching exercises that I find useful for limbering up in the morning. The title intrigued me, though, so I read the whole article -- and found some disturbing parallels between the "commodification and rhetorical dumbing-down of yoga culture" Rosenbaum complains about, and what I see happening too often in the Western Church. 

Rosenbaum spends most of his time sarcastically critiquing a December article in Yoga Journal  called "Forgive Yourself," which tells of one woman's journey to forgive herself (ha) for hurting her boyfriend 20 years earlier. Her first step is to "Google-stalk" the guy, and repeatedly try to make contact with him over a period of several months, until he finally gives her a "what part of no don't you understand?" message. Rosenbaum's tone is hilarious, especially when he points out that the so-called yoga experts -- instead of telling her to get over it and move on with her life -- give her more rituals and routines to follow in order to achieve self-forgiveness, including sending herself flowers once she has achieved this goal. 

At that point, I was gagging right along with Rosenbaum -- not at how yoga has been twisted to fit this woman's "narcissism posing as humility" but because it smacks too much of the theraputic culture that has infected Western churches, where lessons drawn from the timeless and eternal Word of God have been jettisoned in favor of warm and fuzzy messages about how you can feel better about yourself. The truth about our deeply flawed and sinful nature is lost; the Savior who was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins becomes an indulgent guru who tells people to endlessly focus on themselves as a way of dealing with their failures. It's all about "me, me, and me" -- not about Jesus Christ and His plan for redeeming us and then transforming us into "instruments of righteousness" (Romans 6:13) in His service. 

Rosenbaum obviously did not have Christianity in mind when he wrote this article, but Christians can read the article and weep over the same type of self-worshiping distortions to our faith. And, in the case of Christianity, it's a far more serious deception, since it attacks the only truth that will lead people to salvation: that we are hopelessly lost sinners in need of the One and Only Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Comments

Labrialumn

Um. yoga -is- nlew age and occult. It is a Hindu worship form.

Michael Snow

"Christians can read the article and weep over the same type of self-worshiping distortions to our faith..."

Amen.

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