Reiki Presbyterianism

This howler just crossed my digital transom.  I’ll post the juiciest paragraph in its entirety, then go back through it point by pointless point.

This is a Presbyterian-endorsed Reiki workshop, on Presbyterian property.  The presenter is an ordained ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA)–the role that gay people, till 2011, were “too sinful” to occupy.  Precious few occupy it to this day.

I expect, given such rigidity, that doctrinal orthodoxy DAMN well better be hewed to, strictly.  So, let’s see:

You are an eternal energy being having the experience of being human in a dense world of polarity. Learn about the multi-dimensional nature of energy, universal energy principles, vibrational frequency, and gain a new perspective of yourself, others, and the power of God.

Now, phrase by phrase:

“You are an eternal energy being”
–No I’m not; I’m a human, made of body and soul, both of which were created in time and hence not eternal.  Only God is eternal.

“…having the experience of being human…”
–No, I am human, really and truly.  Trust me.

“…in a dense world of polarity.”
–This is what you technically call bullshit; as it is meaningless it cannot be refuted.

“Learn about the multi-dimensional nature of energy…”
Bullshit. The word “energy” is screaming for definition.  I see it literally as matter with the conversion factor of C-squared applied.  Metaphorically, I see it as enthusiasm, zeal, or gumption to do things.  My soul is not “energy”; energy pertains to the material world, unless some other “secret” meaning is hinted at.  Clearly, the presenter is not offering a definition, expecting the reader to do all the heavy lifting.  Uncivil bullshit.

“…universal energy principles…”
Bullshit.

“…vibrational frequency…”
Bullshit, unless we’re talking about A 440 versus A 415.  And in any case, “vibrational frequency” is a redundancy, like “heat temperature” or “aquatic water” or “edible foodstuff.”  I once heard a Chicago prison chaplain call himself “theologically ordained.”

“and gain a new perspective…”
–run-on sentence.  And bullshit.

“…of yourself, others, and the power of God.”
–Nice that at least the power of God, if not God Himself, gets a mention.  The key, I suppose, is that wonderful sense of power.

The subsequent paragraph, which I will not kill photons for, mentions “select” Bible verses interpreted through an “energy perspective.”

By strongly suggesting that human beings are actually not human beings, but rather “eternal energy beings” currently “having an experience” of humanness, the presenter denies human nature as the Bible and Christian tradition describe it.  Inevitably, this brings down the doctrine of the Incarnation, replacing it with mere Docetism.  The implied opposition of body and soul (we are “eternal energy,” not flesh and blood, remember?) is Manichaean.  In the wake of these casually-invoked and long-debunked heresies, everything that logically flows from the Incarnate Word collapses, including the visible church itself.

The ignorance is panoramically broad, deep as the ocean, entirely destructive, and horribly offensive.

In other words, this workshop is not, in any meaningful sense, Christian.  I strongly discourage you from attending anything like it, whether you are Christian or not.  For a Christian, it’s a mess of pottage; for a non-Christian, it’s worded so vaguely, pompously, and deceitfully, that it’s clearly worthless to you, too, before we even unpack its bullshittiness.

I mean, cripes: no definition of this all-important concept of “energy”?  How many dollars does it cost to learn what we’re talking about?

But this is what an ordained ruling elder in the PCUSA can get away with.  Said ruling elder, incidentally, is an ongoing student of what’s called “metaphysics,” a term which no longer means what it did when I studied it in college.  It now chiefly applies to anything Gnostic, new age, pagan, or witchy-twitchy.

But gee whiz, people must be staying home because the organ is so conserrrrrrvative.

About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food. Cat lover, too.
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