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FIRST PERSON More than the ’60s revisited, evidence of a confused world

CHICHEN ITZA, Mexico (BP)–The images remain and haunt: dread-locked hair … long-flowing skirts on women and men … incense … unbathed, convulsing bodies holding hands and dancing in circles … chanted mantras and pan-flute music wafting through the air … stone drawings on the ground of idols and symbols — the American ’60’s revisited.
Simple curiosity did not draw thousands of people to this place at this time. A spiritual pilgrimage did.
Spring equinox draws thousands of people annually to several locations of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. This day, I was an observer, one of several Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary students, at Chichen Itza, site of a Toltec-Mayan civilization that dates back to 900 years before Christ.
More than 50,000 people were on hand to experience the phenomenon of the illumined snake, one of three objects of Mayan worship. A ray of light, made by the exact alignment of the sun on the equinox, connected to the stone snake head attached to the base of the central pyramid of the ruins.
The people in attendance, however, weighed more heavily on my mind than the phenomenon of shadows and light. Seeking cosmic/psychic/New Age power, they plastered their bodies against the weathered stone pyramid throughout the day.
“These were seriously lost people,” John Babler, assistant professor of social work and ministry-based evangelism at Southwestern Seminary and leader of our group, explained later. “It’s good for Christians to be reminded that they still exist.”
One young participant in the day’s festivity claimed to be there to study Mayan Time Science. “The gathering here is to raise the positive frequency of our inner power into healing, peace and awareness,” he told me.
As I talked with the young man, I saw that a conventional approach to sharing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ cannot penetrate the blindness of such beliefs. He had no problem with belief in God, Jesus or the Bible — all beliefs were good but none particularly better than others. Still, he would not allow me to show him direct Scriptures.
When I walked away I told him I would pray for him. He said he would pray for me too. The encounter was a vivid reminder of how we as Christians need to penetrate our own shells from the inside, break out of our sheltered, everybody-thinks-and-acts-like-me environments and befriend the confused world.

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  • Cindy Kerr