The Circle Maker : Part 1

NOTE : I’m not going to spend much time describing the general idea of the text, for that you can go here to Amazon The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears or to their own site here.

This book has gotten a lot of coverage and I highly recommend this review and this podcast/video.

This is my own option of the text.

I purchased The Circle Maker because our pastor was going to do a sermon series on the book, and was recommending it to all of us. On top if that it was only $2.99 for the kindle version, a bargain!

To preface much of my discussion it will help you to know a little of my testimony.

Although I grew up in a christian home and participated in church regularly, like most teenagers I went my own way. While outwardly following the church I was lured into practicing new age and occultist mind control. This happened concurrently with a downward spiral of depression, anger, aggression, and stress in my life. In a way it was an attempt to control a life that was increasingly out of control (1).

Eventually God would dramatically intervene in my life- saving me both from the grave and for his kingdom (2).

I am not proud of those years, and I don’t talk about them a lot, but it is necessary for you to know my background as it directly affects my thoughts on Batterson’s ideas.

Before I even read more than the first chapter of the book this promo video on the material had me on edge.

Anyone with experience in pagan practice would be instantly questioning this content as Christian. He is drawing a circle, in chalk, three times around in a sunwise direction. Man, anyone whose ever watched Charmed, Harry Potter, Supernatural or about 2 dozen other modern TV shows should recognize this as a pagan/ new age/ occultist practice. Even one episode of my favorite mystery/suspense show Bones had an episode on witches.

Whether it was intentional or not someone on that set should have been saying, “Wait a second guys. Maybe this could be taken the wrong way.” For all appearances he is making it look like you can use a summoning circle for prayer, which clearly crosses the line.

My guard was up going into the book, I kept looking for ways that this pagan connection might be proven one way or the other. I slugged through the whole thing (I will review it based on it’s literary flaws in a future blog.) What I have to say it that its pretty lukewarm on the pagan stuff.

You could certainly get the idea that he is blurring the lines if you are or have dabbled with new age and pagan practices. The danger in this is that someone could get use the book to support the idea that their new age practices are in line with modern Christianity. That’s a pretty slippery slope.

It doesn’t help that he borrows vocabulary from that world too, calling prayer “mystical,” applying the cliche “mind over matter,” using the terms “spiritual conduit” and “spiritual ancestors.” At one point he even says, “Daniel discerned the king’s dream because he could read his mind.” Also that, “Vision starts with visualization.” That last bit could have been taken right out of “The Secret” or a dozen other new age best sellers.

Visualization is an easy gateway into the new age. It’s so easy to start on that road thinking that it’s innocent and find out that it leads to destruction spiritually. It can lead to astral projection, spirit guides, and a host of other things. While sitting here writing about it my gut is in knots and I am feeling uneasy. It’s one of those ghosts of my past and hanging around with it isn’t very pleasant. This article goes more into depth if you want to know why Christians should be wary of this practice.

You could make excuses for alot of what appears to be new age in the book, and I would do that if he didn’t keep coming back to the same points again and again. There was a point while reading that I was going to let the physically drawing a circle slip as a metaphor, but he brings it up again suggesting that his reader go into their rooms and draw a circle in chalk and begin praying in it. Well that throws the whole metaphor concept out the window.

In his own words, “Sometimes physical contact creates a spiritual conduit. Proximity creates intimacy. Proximity proclaims authority. Drawing a prayer circle is one way of marking territory — God’s territory.”

Either Batterson is deceived or the deceiver. Or one other possibility is that he is incredibly naive about the new age. Which ever it is there are much better books on prayer out there. I suggest you skip “The Circle Maker.”

1. Poem : Give & Take
2. Poem : Testimony

Testimony

©Arwen LeQuieu

Once my life was shattered glass and dust
There was smoke in the skies
My pride, a million pieces at my feet
And I wept aloud as I wandered
The tattered pieces of my past clinging round my body
Scars and scabs crisscrossing the heart
New blood and old blood dried where there should be tears
And always that horrible ringing sound.It was in the dark time of my soul
That Truth stood naked before me
Every avenue I ran down he stood waiting
Intorrible grace, I couldn’t look into his eyes
He asked for my pride, held out his scarred hand
You don’t understand, I said
These pieces are precious to me, they’re all I have left
But with reasonable discourse He was not persuadedSo He pursued me into the witches hut
With a mixture of anguish and anger
Watched me offer up a chant for magical powers
Still unrelenting He followed me to the temple
Where His eyes flashed with fire
As I laid an offering at the alter of war
And prayed for strength from my golden god
When I saw Him watching my gut twisted in fear
Leave me alone, I screamed
I don’t want your guilt and pain

Truth bled a little then
Now it’s you who doesn’t understand, He said,
I want your guilt and pain
But you won’t give it up
I want your rags and wounds
But you seem to love your wardrobe so much
He went off a little, then and waited just beyond my site
While I pondered the things he said

I bemoaned my fate
The colorless vision of the day
and the blood red fears of night
The agony of not knowing who I was meant to be
And the sleepless nights of apathy

I wanted to die then in the anguish of my soul
But Truth, it turns out, would not let me go
I called out to Suicide to come and take me away.
Gladly he came but quickly he left when he saw Truth’s shadow over me.

I was alone in the crowd of people
When he grabbed a hold of me
“I will not pursue you any longer.”
Tired of the dance of pain and deceit
I threw myself down at His feet, discarding pretenses.
The demon under my skin was lead
Away to the gallow, hung and buried before my eyes
And then my bone were on fire
My very marrow felt it, the pain of the release.
Falling over into the arms of a God
My God.

2013 Overview and Book of the Year

I’ve already mentioned that 2013 was a “down year.” I didn’t make it near my goal of 50 books. I did join two sites   last year to help me keep track of what I read online. Pocket is a great reading list, where you can add articles you want to read from a browser button or app add-on, then go to your queue, after reading them  mark them finished. This really simplified my to-read list of article links. Often times I prefer the easy read layout of pocket to the original site anyway. Pocket connects to a site called Degreed. “Degreed is a community of college students, professionals, and lifelong learners dedicated to advancing their education. When you join Degreed, you get tools to help you track, organize, share, and validate everything you learn.” When I finish an article in Pocket it gets tracked by Degreed. According to the site I’ve read 407 articles since I signed up.

The Rating System:

Loved It – 8

Liked It A lot – 8

Liked It – 6

It Was Okay – 5

Kinda Bad – 1

Bad – 1

It Stunk – 0

Total = 29

So now we come to the choosing of the 2013 Book of the Year. The books in the running this year are Nobody’s Princess, The Try: Reclaiming the American Dream, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, Our Daily Bread; The Essential Norman Borlaug, The Land of Elyon #1: The Dark Hills Divide, Divergent (Divergent Series), The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, and Guardians of Ga’Hoole #1: The Capture.

This is a great list of books, and I think you should read them all. Two of them really stand out to me as important books because of my connection to agriculture. In fact we are all connected to agriculture. Our farmers grow our food, fiber, fuel, flowers, and forests. In our culture I see many people who are lost on the understanding of how modern agriculture works to do all that. Our Daily Bread and The Last Hunger Season will help you get a better picture of why our modern agriculture system developed, and maybe help you appreciate it a little more.

It’s because feeding the world is so important that Norman Borlaug is one of my hero’s. He was honored this year on March 25th, 2014, National Ag day and the anniversary of his 100th birthday (#Borlaug100) with a statue on Capital Hill in Washington DC. How can you not appreciate a man who save 1 billion live from starvation? That’s why Our Daily Bread is my choice for 2013 Book of the Year.

This video was put together to honor him during #Borlaug100

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 “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami

Give & Take

©Arwen LeQuieu

I wanted action
He gave it to me
I wanted power
He let me have a little
I wanted control
He taught it to me
I wanted more
and he gave me more and more
I wanted peace
He gave me suffering
I wanted life
He took it out of me
I wanted to let go
He held me firm
I wanted less
He let me have less and less of myself