Updated on 4/24/2008
“Our logo symbolizes the journey to Higher Ground. The purple inverted “V” is The Higher Ground, the place towards which we are all traveling. As we ascend in our journey to Higher Ground, we invite others to accompany us along the way. The Higher Ground is colored purple, the color associated with “spirit”, the sixth chakra and the Soul. The red line is the Red Road of life that is an important part of Native American tradition and symbolism. It is depicted as a free-form “S” – for Spirit. The Red Road is the path we are taking on this Earthly journey. (In Native American tradition the blue road, for example, is the road of the next domain, the afterlife). The Red Road of life is the way to Higher Ground and when we reach Higher Ground we are warmed, comforted, healed and sustained by the sun, the symbol of hope, brightness and life. The sun inspires and nourishes us. The sun affirms life and reminds us of our commitment to only engage in business and social activities that are life-affirming.” – Secretan Center website
With all the talk of tolerance and acceptance within our culture, it would seem the workplace would be the last front where inner-spiritual transformation and renewal would be pushed by corporate leaders upon employees coming from various religious backgrounds, some of which are dogmatic on their doctrine and will not accept compromise. But that is exactly what is happening on many corporate fronts, just under the guise of making you joyful and satisfied in the workplace, ultimately for the bottom-line of the company, not any other ultimate eternal good. Just profit and possible temporal happiness. Spiritual renewal for the sake of a dollar.
Dr. Lance Secretan of The Secretan Center is a very charismatic individual. His ability to rally people together to accomplish organizational transformation for the benefit of an organization is remarkable. He is also very entertaining and I do not negate that his methodologies work to bring transformation from within an organization. I have no evidence, but it appears it is working for many companies. Here is a list on their site of the companies and organizations utilizing his services. And there are many others out there following in the same pattern. Despite the effectiveness of bringing in profits (the ultimate goal, not so much true spiritual renewal), something much greater concerns me even than this. One of the goals of the Secretan Center from their website is, “Developing professionalism in conjunction with spiritual and values-centered renewal in internal functions.”
Now, I inherently agree with the C.A.S.T.L.E. principles on their face (not so much the explanation of them on the site) and the end goals Secretan puts forward as necessary within a company. Those points are courageousness, loving others as you would have them love you, authenticity, serving others, honesty, etc. Those are things Jesus Himself spoke about that I affirm and believe in. But spiritual renewal in the workplace? Values-centered renewal? This is what I have a problem with. Christianity, the Gospel, states that we can only be spiritually transformed/renewed by grace alone through faith alone in the work of Christ alone on the cross on our behalf. And the only true value we have (from which all the other values flow that Jesus speaks of in the Scriptures), the only thing we are to ultimately boast in, is the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14) and thus enjoying Him forever for His sacrificial, effective work on our behalf. This is what I believe. Now of course, the Gospel does have necessary ramifications and implications, some of those being the aforementioned principles such as service, honesty, and loving others. I agree with and support those principles within an organization.
But the ultimate end of spiritual transformation and renewal in our hearts is not so we can just be happy and joyful in the here and now (though that inevitably results). But it is about being restored to and participating in God’s glory and honor, not celebrating man’s inherent supposed moral goodness (which is an oxymoron based upon Romans 3:10-18, Isaiah 64:6, Psalm 14:2-3). The end for which God created the world is being caught up in, consumed by, and enthralled by the infinitely burning, all-consuming glory of God for all eternity, bringing glory to Himself through all of it. God’s glory is the only thing that will satisfy the hearts of all people, if they will turn away from their selves as their own gods, and turn humbly rather in submission to the presence and power of the true God revealed in Christ alone. However, we are so desperately soul-dead that we cannot even transform ourselves to desire or see our need for this change, because we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3) which has rendered even our desires and wills totally incapable of loving Christ or seeing Him as more valuable than anything in the world. So this message bounces off of the hearers, unless the Spirit acts to make us alive in Christ. We cannot change our hearts. To teach otherwise in any form, is to deny the power, sufficiency, and efficiency of the blood of Christ on the cross to bring about the inner spiritual renewal necessary for believing in Christ unto eternal salvation and life.
Lance Secretan is a New Age humanist, at least that is what has been presented in his seminars and whatnot. He promotes the strength of man to work up the moral ability to be courageous, loving, accepting, truthful, and so on. I have no idea what he actually believes privately. He presents so many mixed messages from different faiths and traditions that it has to be New Age mysticism of some type; that is at least according to the books he recommends on his site. But what he promotes in his seminars and conferences is a New Age-based, man-centered approach to spiritual renewal and transformation for the benefit of a company’s bottom-line. He constantly talks about the financial results of other companies who have adopted his methods. I mean let’s be honest, that’s what it’s all about: the green, which he is gaining a substantial amount of from his, “teachings.”
Regardless, this is New Age religion without using any of the religious words that would constitute it as such. Secretan is not the only one bringing this into organizations. It is being pushed down on employees all over the country in different organizations. Secretan is putting forward a grand, overarching meta-narrative in his presentations for 1) why we exist that is supposed to 2) bring final satisfaction to our souls, that will in turn 3) bring about positive results for our lives and the company they are apart of. However, the Scriptures, Christ Himself, says that only He can do that, you know, bring final, ultimate satisfaction to our souls that will in turn bring about positive results for our lives, eternally. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). That is quite a bold a statement that is either true or false. He was either a liar/lunatic or He was the Christ, God come in the flesh. There is no wiggle room. People must deal with that. Though Lance Secretan uses Jesus’ words from Scripture (the results of the Gospel mainly) to back up his points, he denies Jesus is the only way, truth and life. This is clear because he equates Jesus with many of the other great religious teachers who have lived in times past, by using His words in conjunction with those teachers. This is opposed to everything I believe in. As St. Augustine once said, “Christ is not valued at all unless He is valued above all.” Right on. It is highly offensive to believers in Christ to equate our Savior with Ghandi or Buddha or even Mother Teresa, who herself was a self-admitted sinner in submission to Jesus (though maybe not in the historical Protestant sense). Jesus was God come in the flesh from heaven. He was the prophesied Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53).
New Age religion, being mostly Eastern in nature, teaches that you must tap the presupposed spiritual power within in order to change and become a better person, to reach a higher, amorphous, spiritual plain, “on this journey we call life.” To me, it is like trying to nail jello to a wall in figuring out what this exactly means. But so goes New Age philosophy. That is its very core is being amorphous and adaptable.
Christianity denies that we have any power at all to change or reform ourselves morally. Secretan says that we can morally reform ourselves and then reach what ultimately? The unknown, mystical, divine Nirvana of Hinduism, Buddhism? Which is it? The problem is that he doesn’t even know. By bringing the teachings of differing religions onto the same, equal plain, he is making a proclamation that they are all equally valid. Yet Christianity in particular claims that it is the one true religion. He is blatantly promoting religious relativism and therefore as believers in Christ alone, we reject this. The essential message of Christianity, the Gospel, comes down to the fact that we must be supernaturally changed by the work of the Holy Spirit, from the inside of our souls outward, so that we can be restored to God. This is true inner spiritual renewal that results in a life of selflessness in the service of others. Those who have deviated from this core message in the name of Christ have done a great dishonor to His name. But Secretan’s version of truth (that all truths are equally valid) rejects the Gospel message. That much is clear. What is not clear is the message of what exactly the grand final end for which we were made actually is.
In John 3:1-15, Jesus Himself said unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. What is this new birth? It is the supernatural, spiritual heart-change by God Himself needed to be able to turn to Christ alone in faith for salvation. Salvation from what? The wrath of God, so that we can be reconciled to God for all eternity. We must be born of the Spirit, and in being born again (spiritually), we can then see the eternal sufficiency of Christ and trust Him with our all. This transformation comes from God alone, not man. Jesus makes this clear in this passage. We cannot change the disposition of our hearts because they are like wells poisoned with cyanide. We need our stony, contaminated hearts removed and given hearts that have life in them. We are utterly helpless to perform this change ourselves. It is even less as likely to obtain this on your own (without God’s power) as it would be to give yourself a heart transplant. It is that serious of a condition.
Our sin has rendered us useless in the service of God, turned away from Him, the only One who can satisfy us in the deepest place of our being. If we are miserable in the workplace, this ultimately points to the fact that we are miserable period, in all facets of life. This misery results from being turned away from the glory of God and consumed by our sin, which is a trampling on the honor, name, and glory of God by exalting yourself or other things above Him. It ruins us. We are depraved, not merely in relation to other people in the world, but primarily and foremost in relation to God. Comparing ourselves to others in this regard will not give us the perspective necessary to see our true condition as this bad. We must be compared to the holiness, justice and perfections of God. Our wickedness toward Him is what must be removed in us so that we can delight in Him, who brings us the final satisfaction and joy we are all ultimately longing for.
For organizations to be pushing this man-centered approach to spiritual renewal upon those of conviction in their faith (even atheists too who deny the divine exists at all), is to legally violate religious freedom, a law within the constitution of this country. Those who believe what I do are being forced or strongly encouraged (in the form of pointing out those who refuse) to participate in programs and group meetings that are fundamentally, at their root level, contrary to what we believe. Ironically, it denies the very tolerance that is pushed by these same organizations, because they, claiming to be inclusive of all, are excluding those who say they have the one truth above all other truths. These organizations taking in the methods and teachings of those in the likeness of Lance Secretan are walking a fine line, that according to this document, signed by Clarence Thomas, taken from the website of the U.S. Office of Personnel, that someone sent me a while back, these actions could be interpreted as violating the articles of religious freedom within this country. Of particular interest are these statements in the document:
The Commission defines religious practices to include moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right or wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views …
2. Even those religious beliefs that others may find “incomprehensible or incorrect” are protected under Title VII.
3. Therefore, an employer may not judge the veracity or reasonableness of the religious beliefs of an employee.
9. That the employer or the sponsor of a “new age” program believes there is no religious basis for, or content to, the training or techniques used is irrelevant to determining the need for accommodation. If an employee believes that some aspect of the training program conflicts with his/her own beliefs, an employer may only inquire as to what the employee’s beliefs are and consider the sincerity with which the employee holds those beliefs. The employer may not base its decision to accommodate the employee’s religious beliefs on its (the employer’s) own evaluation of whether the training or the techniques used actually conflict with the employee’s religious beliefs. An employer may not reject an employee’s request for accommodation on the basis that the employee’s beliefs about the “new age” training seem unreasonable.
If amendments are made to the constitution as well as other laws under which we find religious protection at the present time, it could be disastrous in the end. It seems walls are beginning to come down now that were built into the constitution by the founding fathers of this nation though. People are redefining the very nature of what tolerance is. It is my belief that in the future, laws will continue to be redefined, reinterpreted, until those who hold to absolute truth of any kind, particularly Christians, are forced out of the conversation altogether. This is not merely a problem within companies, but it is a fundamental problem within the public square. And it is my belief it will only get worse. As believers, we must be prepared to sacrifice for the cause of Christ, the Gospel.
Here is some more information on the New Age Movement:
What is the New Age Movement? – CARM.org
A Biblical Response to the New Age Movement – CARM.org