So this is old news, but I’ve not had as much free time lately due to the constraints of having a real life job. You may remember that, several weeks ago, Al Mohler wrote an article condemning the practice of yoga by Christians. Like many others, I tried to wrestle with what Mohler was saying; you can read parts 1 2 3 & 4 of my response. Then, a week ago (which is like fifty thousand years in Internet time), Mohler issued a clarifying statement which I find helpful.
I have heard from a myriad of Christians who insist that their practice of yoga involves absolutely no meditation, no spiritual direction, no inward concentration, and no thought element. Well, if so, you are simply not practicing yoga. You may be twisting yourselves into pretzels or grasshoppers, but if there is no meditation or direction of consciousness, you are not practicing yoga, you are simply performing a physical exercise. Don’t call it yoga.
You know, I think we agree here after all. I’d love it if we could stop calling it yoga when it’s performed for the sole purpose of improving one’s physical strength, stamina, and flexibility.
John Mark Reynolds writes a response in which he is more open to further uses of yoga. I think I like the general idea behind what he says (essentially that “what is good, true, and beautiful about Yoga” can be reclaimed for Christianity), but it’s lacking in specifics, which troubles me. I don’t believe it’s fair to counter Mohler with a blanket statement, without specific examples, and then claim that it is Mohler who “lacks imagination.” I’m not saying that Reynolds is wrong here, just that I think he needs to load his gun before firing it.
I should also add that all the angry feedback Mohler has received on this issue is a sad comment on the failure of Christians in the West at developing a biblical mindset. Mohler’s comments should be considered carefully, not casually dismissed just because you happen to like yoga.
So anyway, tomorrow or Monday I will be back to regular blogging as we continue our journey through Mark.