It is Friday evening, and Bill and Terri Honsberger are heading for a Denver meeting where about 75 people are already joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
A portrait of Jesus figures prominently on an altar near the meeting hall’s front. But in this picture, a contemplative Jesus has his legs crossed, his arms extended, and his palms upright. This is a gurufied Christ in the lotus position—the preferred prayer posture for millions of Asian Hindus and thousands of Americans who follow Eastern spiritual paths. Another picture hangs nearby: one of Lord Krishna.
Fresh fruit, flowers, and plants are spread in a collage of color over the altar, and burning incense sticks send smoke and pungent odors through the still air.
The chant mixes with the incense as Bill and Terri enter the meeting—a Hindu satsang organized by a local yoga society. “Amazing Grace” has yielded to the monotone repetition of the “sacred” Hindu syllable.
A woman stands up. “It’s so nice to see so many other Christians gathered together,” she says. A school counselor adds that the meditation techniques she has learned give her something of “enduring value” to offer kids at her troubled inner-city school.
Seated in the back of the meeting, the Honsbergers are quiet witnesses to a variety of stories, each echoing the concept that—when you boil it all down—Jesus, Krishna, the Buddha, and other “enlightened masters” all teach the same thing.
As the group ends its formal exercise of testimonies and chanting, they retire downstairs for a snack featuring plenty of vegetarian goodies. But Bill is just getting started.
For Honsberger, 36, is the Conservative Baptist Home Mission Society’s missionary to America’s New Age movement. He may be the first. ...1
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