Thin Place? Thin Ice.

In recent years, some Christian writing speaks of a “thin place”:

“The constant repetition of [Jesus’] name clears my head. . . . I am able to create what the ancient Celtic Christians called ‘the thin place’ . . . that spiritual condition wherein the separation between the self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through and envelop the soul.” (Tony Campolo; note that “constant repetition” means mantra meditation)

cosmic-new age image“We held ‘thin place’ services in reference to a belief that in prayer, the veil between us and God becomes thinner. Entire nights were devoted to guided meditations, drum circles, and ‘soul labs.’” (Mike Perschon)

“Thin spots were thought to be special places where heaven and earth intersected. The [Old Testament] temple was understood to be the thinnest. . . . What if there were such a place [today] . . . and you could step into it?” (Ken Wilson; he likens this to the Narnia wardrobe)

Since God is so beyond us (“transcendent”), the thinking goes, we need special tricks to get through to him. Jack Cottrell clears things up:

“Immanence is that attribute of God that describes his presence and activity within the created world. . . . Sometimes immanence is contrasted with transcendence, as if they were opposites. But this is a serious error that is based on the false idea that transcendence is a spatial concept, i.e., that God occupies some kind of space outside the borders of our universe and is thus spatially distant from us. But transcendence is not about distance; it is about difference. It does not mean that God is spatially separated from the world, but that his essence is qualitatively different from it. His transcendence in no way excludes his immanence or presence within the world. In fact, his infinite essence is what makes his omnipresence and his immanence possible.” (The Faith Once for All, p 88)

Believers should remember what God promises about always being near his people (Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20; 1 John 4:4). And of course, the Holy Spirit himself lives inside us (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19). You can’t get much closer than that!

So relax, friends. There’s no such thing as a thin place.

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