In the last week or so, some prominent evangelical pastors have gone on record with their problems about yoga. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, said that yoga is incompatible with Christianity. Dr. Mohler has a problem with “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine. That’s just not Christianity”. No kidding, Al; I think that goes without saying. But, as far as I know, most Christians doing yoga aren’t looking for a “vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine” with yoga, they just want a good workout. According to Mohler, Christians who practice yoga “must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga.” Mohler’s not the only minister with a beef about yoga. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle, said this, “Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.” Uh…, yeah. Whatever you say, Mark.
I don’t get it, why are these Christian leaders making such a big deal about yoga when there’s actual important stuff to worry about? People all over the world are dying from disease, hunger, war, etc. Too many people don’t know what it’s like to have plenty of fresh water. Children are being pressed into service as soldiers in some countries. Closer to home, there are people in our very own neighborhoods who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, families are living out their cars, people have been out of work so long they’ve forgotten what it was like to provide for their children. All of this (and more) happens everyday and Mohler, Driscoll and others are worried about yoga? I don’t get it. Why is yoga such a danger?
Is it because yoga is about stretching and exercise? Or is it the meditation part? Maybe it’s because yoga is an eastern discipline. Western society has a long history of ignoring anything eastern. Well, anything eastern except Christianity and they changed that around so much it would probably unrecognizable by Jesus, Paul or any of the Apostles. As originally intended, Christianity was about taking care of others, about being our brother’s keeper. In the west, we’ve made it about ourselves and our stuff. Somehow, I think Jesus cares more about how we treat each other than what kind of exercise we do. What’s demonic is marginalizing your brothers and sisters or letting them go without the daily essentials like food, water and basic medical care. Why don’t we fix that. Then, we’ll talk about yoga.