Contemplative Music for Children?


By. Berit Kjos

As our culture increasingly embraces the New Age and mystical practices, meditative music (much different than rock n’ roll), specifically created to provide an atmosphere for meditation is becoming more and more popular, and parents need to be on the alert. The emerging church has introduced “sensory worship” using candles, dimmed lights, and soft repetitive music. This “vintage” Christianity has been introduced into thousands of youth groups across North America. Roger Oakland, author of Faith Undone, explains:

Stimulating images that provide spiritual experiences are an essential element of the emerging church . . . many are bewildered as to why their churches are darkening their sanctuaries and setting up prayer stations with candles, incense, and icons.1

Mark Yaconelli, a leader in the contemplative prayer movement, teaches youth leaders how to bring their young protégés into the “silence.” He states in his book Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus:

The environment can be a help or hindrance when leading kids in contemplative prayer. Set a mood that’s conducive to silence. Turn out the lights and light a candle. Go outside under the stars. Play some music that helps youth settle down. Make sure there’s plenty of space. Better yet, ask the youth to set up the room for contemplative prayer. I find that youth are very receptive to contemplative prayer, especially when led by adults who are experienced in prayer and can lead it with a sense of “lightness.”2

In an interview with Christianity Today, contemplative advocate John Michael Talbot compares this contemplative music to New Age music:

There is an aspect of music, of sacred music, that can speak the unspeakable . . . The only other style of music that attempts to go to the deeper place of the silence that is music is New Age music.3

John Michael Talbot says he “began practicing meditation, specifically breath prayer . . . Tai Chi and yoga.”4

While Christian contemplative music specifically for children has not become popular yet within the evangelical church, there is plenty of music designed to help children meditate in New Age, Catholic, and mainstream (Episcopal, Orthodox, etc.) circles. One CD, Children’s Yoga Songs and Meditations plays songs repeating various mantras such as “Om,” “Sa Ta Na Ma” (a form of Kirtin Kriya yoga), and other Hindu and Buddhist chants. On one Christian CD titledOpen Our Hearts—Christian Meditation for Children, the description reads:

Each track on this CD is designed to lead the children through a period of meditation from beginning to end. The meditators listen to the music and scripture, join in the song and the mantra and continue repeating this sacred word silently throughout the timed silence which begins after the sounding of three chimes. Similarly, the chimes sound again to signal the end of the meditation.5

Contemplative music certainly doesn’t have the loud blasting sounds of heavy metal, but it is every bit as dangerous, if not more so. Teaching children to meditate leads them to a panentheistic, interspiritual spirituality that has no room for the Cross or the Gospel.

(Berit Kjos is author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception. This is an excerpt from Chapter 17, “When Popular Music Becomes Obscene & Immoral”)

Endnotes:

1. Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), p. 65.
2. Yaconelli, Mark (2011-03-22); Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus(Youth Specialties) (Kindle Locations 2592-2596). Zondervan/Youth Specialties. Kindle Edition.
3. Douglas LaBlanc, “A Troubadour and His Guitar” (Christianity Today, October 22, 2001, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/octoberweb-only/25.103.html), interviewing John Michael Talbot
4. John Michael Talbot, Come to the Quiet: The Principles of Christian Meditation (New York, NY: Tarcher/Putnam, 2002), p. 8.
5. http://www.contemplative-life.org/audio-for-teaching-children-to-meditate/open-our-hearts-christian-meditation-for-children-9-10.html.