Evidently adult coloring books are all the rage so many professing Christians have taken to coloring. Why’s this a problem? Because it involves way more than the sort of coloring children do. Adult coloring can involve meditation — and it’s not biblical meditation.
“Meditative coloring,” explains Jessica Pickowicz “is the practice of coloring specific patterns while emptying the mind, allowing thoughts to roam free, and achieving spiritual enlightenment.” She warns that some coloring books can take participants into the world of the occult which is not a safe place for the Christian (or anyone else) to roam.
The Bible says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) So, has the wily serpent made his imprint on the pages coloring books? Pickowicz thinks so. She writes:
Last February, during our family staycation, I bought my first adult coloring book… And I even colored in it…. Phew… There. I said it. I feel so relieved to get that off my chest!
It seems a bit crazy that I would be even a little ashamed or intimidated to admit that publicly. But here it is. And right now there is an argument peppering Twitter and the blogosphere regarding Christians and the adult coloring fad. Some are mocking; others are getting offended; and still others are sitting back with popcorn in one hand and a stick in the other; poking the bear! Even I have, regretfully, thrown my hat into the ring. I say regretfully because (though hilarious) it seems somewhat petty and snarky and self-righteous to bash adult coloring. After all, as Tim Challies articulates in his recent article on the topic, it is just a hobby – like golfing, knitting, tennis, or painting “happy little trees”.
Furthermore, it can very well be exercised all to the glory of God. And I, lover of adult coloring, respond with a hearty, “Amen!”
Challies is right. When it is just a hobby, adult coloring is a perfectly innocent past-time. It’s fun. It’s calming. It’s clean! It’s a great mommy alternative to the My Little Pony and Ninja Turtle coloring books when coloring with the kids. It’s even occupational and physical therapy, bringing vibrancy, joy, and art into the hands of people struggling with dementia, depression, ADHD, Autism, and those with fine-motor and sensory struggles brought on by neurological diseases such as ALS, MS, and Parkinson’s — just to name a few. By itself, adult coloring is a beautiful thing!
Sadly, what many people don’t know is that there is another fad sweeping the nation, and adult coloring books are at the heart of it. The fad is meditative coloring. And it’s infiltrating the prayer lives of Christian women everywhere.
Meditative coloring is the practice of coloring specific patterns while emptying the mind, allowing thoughts to roam free, and achieving spiritual enlightenment. Some of these specific patterns are called mandalas. Mandalas are spiritual symbols and patterns used by Eastern religions for meditation purposes “allowing the individual meditating to become one with the Universe.”¹ And it’s a challenge to find an adult coloring book that isn’t riddled with them.
Gaining popularity, a few laps ahead of meditative coloring, is the practice among Christians of contemplative prayer. I don’t have the space here to go into a detailed explanation of this heresy. But it’s important to educate yourself, and you can read about it here. With the rise of the Word of Faith movement, the Prosperity movement, the increasing popularity of women authors such as Priscilla Shirer and Sarah Young, and movies such as War Room; prayer as defined by and commanded in the Bible has been grossly shirked aside (by women especially) in favor of a more ecstatic, meditative, emotional, new-age, and downright heretical experience.
I conflate meditative coloring and contemplative prayer in this article because I feel that contemplative prayer is a very slippery slope that lends itself too easily to the practice of meditative coloring, especially with the massive output of Christian and Inspirational themed adult coloring books.
A warning to Christian women dabbling in these practices:
My aim is not to be harsh here, but I must be serious for a moment. The Bible teaches us how to pray. Moreover, it commands us to pray and meditate in very specific terms — the only right way according to God. If we are not praying as Scripture commands, we are not obeying God and are therefore in sin.
Please do not use these coloring books in conjunction with prayer and meditation, contemplative or otherwise. Do not empty your mind. Ladies, please do not sit down to color and wait for a word from
God! Please do not chant over and over (as in a mantra) a declarative “life-verse” from a page in your Scripture coloring book. Do not allow yourself to be entranced through the exercise of meditative coloring. These practices are pagan. They are the very thing Scripture warns against. Continue reading