Hi everyone. I am Barb, 63 years old, and excited to be part of RZIM Connect. I need some guidance in reaching out to my 41 year old niece. She became a Christian about 10 years ago when she was in prison for dealing Meth. Her enthusiasm for Christ remains high, but she is putting a lot of stock right now into someone her son has introduced her to. Her son has been studying Buddhism. My niece, Michelle, has been listening to Alan Watts and sent some Youtube videos of him to me. From what I have seen online, he was into Eastern religions, even though he does talk about Jesus and aspects of Christianity. I told Michelle to stop watching his videos for now and to get back into reading and studying the Bible. I will need to give her my opinion of Alan Watts soon. My inclination is to tell her that he is very dangerous. Any counsel?
@blschumann7 Welcome to Connect! May the Lord Jesus bless your time here.
Is this the Alan Watts that you are talking about? If so, he is not Christian, but perhaps the best approach is not to overreact. Perhaps ask your niece what she likes about Watts - explain that he is not a follower of Jesus. But make sure to listen to her and understand where she is coming. Certainly if I have the correct guy he did not honor God with his body. And then direct her to some other great resources. May Jesus open her eyes and heart to know His love and grace.
As recounted in his autobiography, Alan was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1945 (aged 30) and resigned the ministry by 1950, partly as a result of an extramarital affair which resulted in his wife having their marriage annulled, but also because he could no longer reconcile his Buddhist beliefs with the formal doctrine of the church.
Andy Stanley’s podcast ‘Your Move’ is great because he is very practical. He helps you learn to set good boundaries and practice what the Bible teaches in a very easy to understand manner.
Francis Chan’s sermons and books are also fairly easy to digest and might help her to recenter on the truth of the Gospel.
Welcome to Connect, @blschumann7! Thanks for sharing your concerns with us, and I think @SeanO has given you a good place to start…esp. about asking your daughter what draws her to Watts’ teaching. It’ll give you a good insight into where your daughter is and what she’s wrestling with. And after that, maybe you could suggest where in the Bible she could read where it addresses what she’s thinking through? What a great opportunity for you to engage with her! Will be praying…
Hello Barbara! Thanks for reaching out and seeking to bring Jesus back into your friends world, that’s such a beautiful thing! I would agree with SeanO, in that it is best not to overreact when people search other religions and beliefs. In the end, your friend is looking for Jesus, but doesnt know it yet! Please do encourage her to study both the Bible and any other religion that perks her curiosity. Because in the end, the Truth of the Bible will overwhelmingly nourish her soul! We are meant to guide and lead people to Christ, and the best way to do that is by representing Jesus to her whenever you are with her. Let her know that she is loved and that you are there for her, just as Jesus is for you! Share the Truth with compassion and grace, and you will be surprised how much God uses your first initial steps to set her upon High Places! Remember that’s His goal as well!!
Yes, SeanO, this is the man my niece is listening to. From what she said already, I think Alan Watts’ explanation of things intrigue and interest her. She said his explanation of Jesus’ sacrifice was very helpful. Michelle thinks he is funny and she likes to listen to him when she is anxious or worried or lonely and it helps. So offering some other books and podcasts by some easy-to-understand Christians might be just the thing. I can ask more questions, but she’s explained a lot already. I just didn’t know what else to recommend other than to get back into the Bible. Thank you for your help and recommendations.
Thank you Kathleen. It is my niece who is interested in Alan Watts’ philosophy. I think she’s struggling to easily understand what the Bible says, so SeanO’s recommendations should help. Thank you for praying!
@blschumann7 That makes sense - it sounds like she is attracted to his personality and may not fully understand his message. Another podcast you may find helpful is Chip Ingram’s (link below). I really like Stanley because he is just so practical. Ingram may go a bit more into the theology. Both are engaging and encouraging.
I am very thankful for the answers I received from you and from others. It was very helpful and encouraged me to calm down before answering my niece. Included in my answer to her, I also sent the links for the three Christian leaders you recommended she might want to listen to. I would not have thought to do that. RZIM Connect is great! I will update after I get my niece’s response.
To update on my niece, she took my advice seriously and stopped watching the videos of Alan Watts. She said she has not yet looked too much into the videos of the Christians that I recommended to her per SeanO’s advice, but plans to. Then she happily told me about two Christian books she found and was starting to read. I looked them up and read about them and the authors. One incorporated some New Age thinking and the other one was written by a participant of the Jesus Seminar. I told her what I found. Then she was kind of angry that people write these books with false teaching in them